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

AADL Talks To Heritage Business Owners Charles Schlanderer Jr. and Charles Schlanderer Sr.

Schlanderer & Sons, Jewelers and Silversmiths has occupied the same prime location on Main Street for over seven decades. It is one of the few local businesses that survived and thrived continuously in the hands of the same family through cycles of boom-and-bust. Recently we sat down with Charles Schlanderer, Sr. (Charlie) and Charles Schlanderer, Jr. (Chuck) – the third and fourth generation of store owners, for a conversation about history of the family business.

In 1933 C. Henry Schlanderer and his two sons Paul and Arthur opened the store in a historic building at 208 South Main. We learned why, at the height of the Depression, Henry chose to open a store for “luxury goods”; how each successive generation came into the business and the improvements they have made; their decision to stay “downtown” against the gradual exodus of others to the malls; and more importantly, their vision of the retail landscape in the near future.

The Schlanderers also reminisced with us about their most memorable sales over the years, the friendships formed; and loyalty of their clients.

Apart from the discussion about the business, we talked about families; growing up in Ann Arbor, Hillsdale College and Michigan Hockey (Want to know why? Listen to the podcast). You can read articles about Schlanderer & Sons in Old News.

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AADL_Talks_To-Charles_Schlanderer_Jr_and_Sr.mp3 10.7 MB

AADL Talks To Heritage Business Owner David Vogel of Vogel's Lock & Safe

Four generations of Vogels have been giving Ann Arbor what they want and need since 1913, changing the business with the tastes and tempo of life in the town. We talked to David Vogel, the 3rd generation of Vogel's Lock & Safe, who retired and handed over the business to the 4th generation, Rob and Denise Vogel, some years back. Dave has done a lot of research on the family's coming to Ann Arbor area over a hundred years ago and has collected a trove of documents, photos and family stories and shares them with us in this podcast.

The Vogel's began fixing, building and re-building "anything and everything mechanical" that farmers and businesses brought to the shop. Dave gave us a tour of the building's back rooms that house some of the equipment used back then and we've put a selection of those images up with the podcast. The business eventually changed to safes and locks and Dave talks about the "dividing line" in the 1960s, when the townspeople and students at the University of Michigan began asking for locks and deadbolts instead of sporting goods and bicycles. Dave has some interesting stories to tell about raids with the FBI and opening safes with the U.S. military.

The family is one of the older Ann Arbor "townies" and Dave keeps up with the other families that built the businesses, homes and neighborhood that define Ann Arbor. Dave talks about hunting where Pioneer High School now sits, living through World War II in Ann Arbor and the way local heritage businesses still depend on each other for support and growth.

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AADL_Talks_To-David_Vogel.mp3 21.4 MB

Ann Arbor in the Sixties: Were you there?

Girl on CurbGirl on Curb

Students for a Democratic Society. White Panthers. Student Riots. Sit-ins. The Great UFO Chase. Concerts in West Park. Sheriff Doug Harvey.

Were you in Ann Arbor during the Sixties? Do you have a story to tell? Award-winning author and archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide (and related All-Movie Guide and All-Game Guide), ClassicPosters.com, and lead singer for the Prime Movers Blues Band (Iggy Pop was his drummer), will share some of his personal memories of the cultural shifts that took place in Ann Arbor during the Sixties and early Seventies. If you were there, we'd like to hear from you as well.

We'll also let you know about a related series of events the Library is planning in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally that took place on December 10, 1971.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties | 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Crime & Punishment in Washtenaw County: A Women's History

A more infamous side of Washtenaw County history will come to life in Fallen Women & Female Felons, a presentation by Susan Nenadic that covers everything from pickpocketing to murder by the fairer sex. The program will be held at the Bentley Historical Library on Sunday, Sept. 18th, 2:00 p.m. ~ 4:00 p.m. The WCHS program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 734.662.9092 or email wchs-500@ameritech.net.

AADL Talks to Ed Surovell

The Michigan Library Association recently announced that long-time Trustee of the Ann Arbor District Library, Ed Surovell, will receive this year's MLA Trustee Citation of Merit, the highest award bestowed by the Association for a Library Board Trustee. In this episode, Ed talks with us about the origins of his successful real estate company, Edward Surovell Realtors; his long history with libraries and the book industry; and his personal collections and interests. He also discusses the responsibilities of an elected Trustee and recollects some of the challenges he faced while serving on the inaugural AADL Board of 1996.

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AADL_Talks_To-Ed_Surovell.mp3 20.5 MB

Heritage Quest: Benjamin Franklin as a Genealogist by John W. Jordan

Benjamin Franklin Family TreeBenjamin Franklin Family TreeIn 1899, John Woolf Jordan (historian and genealogy writer of the late 1800's and early 1900's) wrote an article for the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography titled, “Franklin as a Genealogist”. Mr. Jordan obtained original letters and records and wrote about Benjamin Franklin’s genealogical quest. Benjamin Franklin investigated his family line and created what Mr. Jordan referred to as a pedigree (a family tree, a portion of Benjamin Franklin's pedigree is displayed in the blog photo). You too can see the original documents (some in Benjamin Franklin’s own hand) using the Heritage Quest research database.

The Heritage Quest database (available @ AADL) has documents imaged from the 1790 - 1930 U.S. federal censuses and images from over 20,000 book titles, including family and local histories. To access the Heritage Quest database from home, simply login to your online library account. You can search census data, books and local histories, revolutionary war pension and bounty-land-warrant application files, Freedman's Bank documents, and Serial Set documents. I searched for books about Ann Arbor and found several, including: Polk's Ann Arbor City Directory,1915 and the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County Directory, 1888-9.

African American Downtown Festival & the history of African Americans in Ann Arbor

This Saturday, June 4th, will be the annual African American Downtown Festival in Ann Arbor! The festival will be a multicultural and multi-generational celebration of African American history in Ann Arbor. The location of the festival (4th and Ann) is significant due to it being the historical epicenter in Ann Arbor of African American owned businesses, culture and family life. Fun times to be had by all!

If you're interested in doing some research into the history of African Americans in Washtenaw County, the AADL has several resources for you:

Additional local resources include:

The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run: From 195 to a Cast of Thousands

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They were a hale and hearty group in 1974 despite being temporarily delayed by a passing train at the first Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. We've gathered together a few articles and pictures from the Ann Arbor News Archives about the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run to jog your memory and get you motivated for this year's race on Sunday, June 5th.

Check out a few items from the archives:

-Article about the first race

-Photo of runners pack in the 1979 Dexter-Ann Arbor Run

-Article about friendly rivalry

Celebrities love The Making of Ann Arbor

The Local History databases aren't just for Ann Arborites, international celebrities like them too! The AADL's resources got some national attention this weekend when Russell Crowe retweeted a link to our The Making of Ann Arbor database!

Ann Arbor has been a used as a film location for many years, which means we've had our fair share of celebrity visitors to our fair city. This weekend, actor Russell Crowe tweeted about enjoying a visit to Ann Arbor and asked his followers if they knew the origin of the name. Local History Databases to the rescue! Woo hoo!

As Russell and his followers soon found out, the origin of the name "Ann Arbor" is still hotly debated. Ann's Arbor? Annarbour? Depending on which tome you consult, the name has a different origin. There are a litany of possible Ann's from history that could hold the honor of having the city named after them but which one? The world may never know! But if you want to do your own research beyond The Making of Ann Arbor be sure and check out:

New York Times databases

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The library subscribes to two slightly different New York Times databases. The first provides full text articles of the newspaper from 1980 to the present. The second is the New York Times Historical database covering the period 1851-2007. The historical database provides scanned copies of the original newspapers including obituaries and images when available as PDFs. A great resource for genealogists and history buffs alike! The daily New York Times in print is available at all our branches and we retain 6 weeks worth.

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