Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

Why Did Washtenaw County Vote Against Suffrage, Not Once, But Twice?

suffragettesuffragette

Liberty Awakes in Washtenaw County: When Women Won the Vote, a new exhibit at the Museum on Main Street runs January 8-February 27, 2011. The exhibit features artifacts, stories and images from the local woman suffrage movement. On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of January and February, please bring a lunch and join in a discussion on woman suffrage in Washtenaw County from 12 noon-1:00 PM.

The exhibit is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area and the Washtenaw County Historical Society. For more information or to arrange group tours or talks email Zoe Behnke at bliz468@yahoo.com

Ypsilanti Gleanings 2010: A Year in Words & Pictures

Photo_contestPhoto_contest

We recently posted the winter issue of Ypsilanti Gleanings, the official publication of the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Gleanings offers, on a quarterly basis, a variety of articles, quizzes and miscellany for enthusiasts of Ypsi history. All four 2010 issues are here, with both text and images available for searching and browsing. As a matter of fact, we have the complete text and images of Gleanings dating all the way back to its origins in 1971!

So if you need a good read to keep you enthralled over the holiday break, look no further than the Gleanings corpus where you'll find ghost stories, mysterious abductions, natural disasters, westerns, epic biographies and other fascinating tales of Ypsilanti history.

1928 - Oldest Article Found At the Archives So Far: George J. Burke

George J. Burke 1947George J. Burke 1947

Not only is it the oldest "name" file so far, It's a historical gold mine. The first article we unfolded in the file was on the appointment of Mr. Burke as a judge for the Nuremberg Trials. The 1928 article concerns a speech Mr. Burke gave to fellow Democrats in Port Huron. Back in the day, when newspapers were the medium of record, the full-text of the speech was included in the day's paper. Mr. Burke had a long and distinguished career of public service to Ann Arbor, Michigan and the nation.

Read more to see the oldest article, the article about George Burke's appointment to the Nurenberg Trials, and George Burke's obituary from the Ann Arbor News.

Grisly Local History: Wicked Washtenaw County

For those of you who enjoy history with a morbid twist, the AADL now offers Wicked Washtenaw County: Strange Tales of the Grisly and Unexplained. This new collection of short stories from local Ypsilanti historian James Thomas Mann offers up true tales of murder, mystery, grave robbing, scandal, etc. culled from old newspapers of our area. Mann's book is a short, quick read garnished with photos and drawings of the people and places involved. It gives a glimpse into Washtenaw's darker history, like the unsolved 1913 murder of a Chelsea woman who was strangled and found buried under a pile of cornhusks in her barn.

An Intimate look inside one of the oldest estates in Barton Hills

Brushwood_frontBrushwood_front

Jean Spero, granddaughter of former Detroit Edison president, Alex Dow (1862-1942), recently sent us several photographs of her childhood home in Ann Arbor. Known as "Brushwood," this country estate was one of the first homes to be built on the rolling slopes above Barton Dam, which eventually became Barton Hills. Local historian Grace Shackman covers the origins of this area in her article, "The Buried History of Barton Hills."

Spero's childhood memories color her personal tour of Brushwood. For example, here's one about the Brushwood Library, her grandfather's favorite hideaway:

"There were two walls filled with books, a special radio, a fireplace, two desks, one his and one for the secretaries who often came out for a week or so to work with him....they were very sweet and two became especially good friends of mine. As a teen when Grandfather wasn't there I would use that room to 'entertain' my friends by listening to the radio in front of a roaring fire...wonderful atmosphere. As a little one I read all I could get my hands on, including the Encyclopedia Britannica which was thoughtfully put on a lower shelf! The collection was very diverse, lots of folklore, philosophy or religious tomes of every sort of religion, history, plus, of course, current novels, etc. I have two of the books, Willa Cather's My Antonia and a huge coffee table-sized book on Scottish tartans...." (J. Spero)

AADL Productions Podcast: Michael Erlewine

Michael ErlewineMichael Erlewine

Michael Erlewine, author, archivist, and founder of the All Music Guide recently spoke at the Library about his new book with photographer Stanley Livingston, Blues in Black & White: The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals. In this interview prior to the public talk, Ann Arbor's old music clubs and coffee shops come alive as Michael takes us on a personal journey of the Ann Arbor music scene circa 1962-1972. He covers a range of musical topics, including the early folk era, when he hitch-hiked with Bob Dylan; the influence of pre-hippie culture on Iggy Pop; the influence of John Sinclair on Ann Arbor culture; and his personal passion for Chicago city blues, which led to the Ann Arbor blues festivals and inspired the formation of his band, The Prime Movers Blues Band, shown below playing at the Schwabin Inn.

You can listen to the interview below. You can also view Michael's public talk at the Library.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-Michael_Erlewine.mp3 28.3 MB

Halloween in Ann Arbor, 1957

halloween parade, 1957halloween parade, 1957

Here are a few photographs from the Ann Arbor News archive to give you a taste of what Halloween was like in Ann Arbor 50 years ago. The first photo, below, is of a girl trying on a mask in a Main Street dime store. The second photograph is of a boy looking at candy. Both were taken on October 21, 1957. Does anyone recognize the store? Could it have been Kline's? Or maybe Kresge's?

The two photographs at the bottom are from the Burns Park School Halloween Parade in 1957: children marching in the parade ; and, my favorite, the Burns Park band playing in costume.

University of Michigan's First Homecoming Queen

Homecoming Queen Christine AndersonHomecoming Queen Christine Anderson

We’ve come across many “firsts” in our work with the Ann Arbor News archives and just in time for the University of Michigan’s Homecoming on October 16th, we found an article on the U’s first Homecoming Queen, Christine Anderson. Considering that Wolverine football started in 1879, we were surprised to learn that they waited until 1966 to crown the first queen. Michigan trounced the Golden Gophers that year, 49-0. However, it was not a perfect Homecoming as vandals set fire to the parade floats.

The Peace Corps turns 50 on October 14

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The University of Michigan will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps with a variety of events during the month of October, including an exhibit at the Hatcher Library (running through November). Travel writer, Paul Theroux, will speak on October 13 at 7:00 p.m. and Tom Hayden, past editor of the Michigan Daily and founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society, will be speaking on October 14 at 8:30.

Also, the Downtown Historical Street Exhibit Program will unveil a new exhibit about the Michigan Union and the Peace Corps across the street from the Michigan Union. Get a sneak peek right here!

Back to Schools

Fourth Ward SchoolFourth Ward School

If you're wondering what going back to school looked like around here decades ago, here's the original Ann Arbor High School, circa 1894; its ruins (from a fire), 1904; and the "new" Ann Arbor High School, rebuilt in 1907.

There's also the old Fourth Ward School, built in 1867 on Division St, which was replaced by the building that eventually became Community High School. And here are the students at the Fifth Ward school, c. 1880.

There's also the old University School of Music from 1894...and the Di Gregorio Driving School in 1974.

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