Ann Arbor Resident's Story of Survival

A current resident of Ann Arbor has a story to tell about her remarkable survival during a period of tremendous upheaval and bloodshed a lifetime ago and an ocean away. Miriam Garvil's autobiography I Have To Survive: Miriam Garvil's Story is the culmination of twenty years' worth of work. Ninety-two year old Garvil, who resides in an assisted living facility in Ann Arbor, began writing with the encouragement of social worker Ruth Campbell, who continued to assist Garvil's work even after retiring herself.

"I Have To Survive" reveals the author's past growing up in Poland before the outbreak of the Second World War, and recounts her memories of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. She lost her mother, father and sister in the camps, and recalls her promise to her father: "If you don't survive, I will survive for you".

You can find more information on Miriam Garvil and her story in this month's issue of the Ann Arbor Observer.

AADL Talks to Argus Employees and Museum Curator

Do you ever wonder what it was like to work for one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world?

AADL talked to Art Parker, an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with Argus Camera. Art talked about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included Christmas parties, teen dances, summer camp, scholarships and profit-sharing.

We also talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham about their years at Argus during its heyday in the 1940s and 50s and the challenging years of the 1960s and 70s as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus left Ann Arbor forever.

Cheryl Chidester, the Argus Museum curator shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

AADL Talks to Cheryl Chidester, Argus Museum Curator

We would like to thank the Argus Museum, located in the original Argus Building at 535 W. William St. for generously sharing its resources, artifacts, and archival materials in preparing this AADL exhibit on the Argus Camera, Inc.

A special thank you goes to Cheryl Chidester, the Argus Museum curator. In this podcast, she shared the history of the company, its products and innovations, and its role in United States’ victory in World War II. We also learned about the founding of the Argus Museum, its missions in preserving the history and material culture of this early Ann Arbor industry significant to generations in the community.

We can see photos of the Museum and its exhibits as well as samples of the Argus Eye, a monthly newsletter produced by the Argus employees from the Museum’s archive.

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AADL_Talks_To-Cheryl_Chedister.mp3 13.14 MB

AADL Talks to Argus Camera's Milt Campbell, Art & Elwyn Dersham

In this episode, AADL talks to former employees of Argus Camera. In 1931, a group of Ann Arbor businessmen got together to address the problem of unemployment amid the Great Depression. They raised stock and formed a company that would become Argus Camera. Argus went on to become one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world.

We talked with Milt Campbell, Art Dersham and Elwyn Dersham about their years at Argus during its heyday in the 1940s and 50s and the challenging years of the 1960s and 70s as the company’s fortunes declined and Argus left Ann Arbor forever.

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AADL_Talks_To-Argus_Employees.mp3 15.21 MB

AADL Talks To Argus Camera's Art Parker

In this episode, AADL talks to Art Parker, an avowed “Townie” who spent nearly 20 years with Argus Camera. During its heyday in the 1940s and 50s, Argus was one of the largest employers in Ann Arbor and one of the most prestigious and well-known camera manufacturers in the world. Art talks about his family’s long history with Argus and the company’s social life that included Christmas parties, teen dances, summer camp, scholarships and profit-sharing.

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AADL_Talks_To-Art_Parker.mp3 18.13 MB

Police Beat: Punk Rocker's Bad Gig

In 1989 Kevin Michael Allin, aka G.G. Allin, and his punk rock band Toilet Rockers gave a concert at the East Quad's Halfway Inn. The band was known for it's in-your-face onstage antics that included self-inflicted beatings, nudity and fights with the audience. Unfortunately, things got out of hand and Allin was charged with three counts of assault including kicking a member of the audience, hitting another one with a chair and then following the concert, beating and burning a "groupie." After declaring Charles Manson his "hero", Allin was ordered to undergo psychiatric examination. He eventually pleaded no contest to the charges.

While serving his term Allin vowed to begin a hunger strike that never materialized and was considered a publicity stunt . Not long after his parole Allin was again arrested in Milwaukee on disorderly conduct charges that included throwing bodily discharges at the audience. After more than 50 arrests the leader of the Murder Junkies, Toilet Rockers and Disappointments, died in New York City of an apparent overdose. Despite his many run-ins with the law, Allin was a prolific recording artist and his "official "website offers his CDs, DVDs and artwork for sale.

AADL Talks to Doug Harvey

In this episode, former Washtenaw County Sheriff Doug Harvey shares his memories of the turbulent 1960s in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. He recalls some of the personal, political, and law enforcement challenges he encountered during his years as sheriff - from the 1966 UFO sightings and the South University Riots, to the Coed murders and the John Norman Collins case. He also responds to some of the controversy surrounding his reputation and he speaks candidly about the community leaders and colleagues he admired during these years - and those he did not.

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AADL_Talks_To-Doug_Harvey.mp3 48.78 MB

Close Encounters in Washtenaw County

In the early morning hours of March 14, 1966, Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies reported sighting "four strange flying objects" in Lima Township. Soon police agencies from Livingston County, Monroe County and Sylvania, Ohio were also reporting "red-green objects . . . moving at fantastic speeds." By the end of the day the Civil Defense and U.S. Air Force were called in to an investigation that has never really ended for many of those involved.

AADL has assembled the articles that dominated the Ann Arbor News for weeks in 1966 and continues to resurface through sightings, interviews and research into UFOs and extraterrestrial life. The UFO story provides an interesting look at the way news events affect the lives of the participants and their communities. Read our feature story in Oldnews and decide for yourselves whether Washtenaw County's history includes close encounters of the first, second or third kind.

Samuel P. Sturgis, Local Photographer Remembered

Celebrated Ann Arbor photographer Samuel Payne Sturgis passed away on March 11 (see obituary).

A graduate of the Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology, Mr. Sturgis served in the Naval Reserve as photo reconnaissance pilot on USS Bennington in the South Pacific, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medals as a combat pilot, retiring in the early 1950's.

He joined the Dey Studio in Ann Arbor as a portrait photographer, earning "Michigan Photographer of the Year" Award from the Michigan Association of Professional Photographers in 1959. In 1962, he opened his own studio at 1112 South University, a space designed by local architect David Osler.

His extensive collection of antique photographs of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas, donated to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, is available as the Sam Sturgis Photograph Collection. A few of these outstanding photographs are part of the Making of Ann Arbor collection and the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit program.

Over the years, Mr. Sturgis's works have been widely exhibited and he has been active in community service. See Ann Arbor News articles.

Michigan Basketball & The Cazzie Years

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Read all about it! The University of Michigan Wolverines are in the thick of the NCAA’s annual contest to name the No. 1 men’s college basketball team. To celebrate this annual hoopla, the Ann Arbor District Library is offering an opportunity to turn back the clock and experience the triumphs of an earlier Wolverine team, the 1963 ~ 1966 squad. The ups and downs of the three-time Big Ten champions was chronicled in the Ann Arbor News, especially in the passionate reporting of Wayne DeNeff. These photos and articles are available online through the Old News site, presenting the dramatic story of a great team.

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