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

Check out that newfangled voting machine!

Voting Machine Demonstration, March 1942

On your way to the voting booth today, consider what passed for cutting-edge voter technology in Tree Town back in March 1942.

Oldnews has over 200 articles and photos of past Elections in Ann Arbor and 160 that reference past Ann Arbor Mayors, including this one of former Mayor Cecil O. Creal taking the oath of office - with his left hand - 55 years ago.

Ann Arbor Art Fairs: AADL has the Good Stuff

As the Ann Arbor Art Fairs open today, you can learn a lot from AADL. Take a look at 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, a digital collection which includes over 100 images, plus audio recollections and videos. And if you’re interested in viewing past fair posters from our Art Print Collection, click here.

A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two

AADL is pleased to partner with the University of Michigan Stephen S. Clark Library to explore community life in Ann Arbor during World War Two. "A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two", which will be on display May 1-August 1 on the 2nd floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library, makes use of AADL’s local historical archives, the Clark Library's map collection, and special materials from the the American Culinary History Collection.

Among the documents on display from AADL’s collection are Ann Arbor News articles and photographs highlighting homefront activities during World War II, including the promotion of victory gardens, scrap drives, and bond drives. Nearly 800 additional articles and photographs from the World War II era are available via AADL’s Oldnews site.

An opening reception will take place at the Stephen S. Clark Library, 913 S. University Ave., on Thursday, May 1st, 4- 6pm, with coffee and light refreshments provided. Public welcome!

AADL partners with UMS to present UMS Rewind

AADL is pleased to have partnered with the University Musical Society to help build UMS Rewind, a searchable database of performances, programs, and photographs from 135 years of UMS history.

Open to all researchers, this unique research tool is available for searching by composer or composition, conductor or performer, and provides access to repertoire, programs, and other material detailing the unique legacy of UMS and the history of touring in the performance arts in America.

Databases for the History Buff

A click on the aadl.org Research tab at the top of the page will introduce you to a wealth of databases covering such subjects as Car Repair, Literature, and Investing.

For those with a history interest, the databases are especially rich.

Start at the History and Biography Page and go from there. You'll find local history aadl.org-hosted sites like Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, Freeing John Sinclair, and Old News. An exploration of Other Sites reveals a yield so diverse, you can find, within minutes, the legend of the Birth of Hatshepsut, National Security discussions between Henry Kissinger and President Gerald Ford, a transcript of the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War, and the actual scanned pages of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from May 24, 1883 touting the Opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (click on "View" and then "View Item in PDF" to get the full article) along with the May 31, 1883 edition recording the subsequent, deadly Panic on the Bridge and much more.

The Newspaper section allows you to browse historical editions of the Ann Arbor News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others. If you know what you're looking for, you can easily track down such unusual items as the Washington Post's 1933 Obituary of Mrs. George A. Custer.

Let your love of history go wild and see what you can find.

AADL is a Community Partner at the Ann Arbor Film Festival

The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival is only days away and the Ann Arbor District Library is participating as a Community Partner for "Film Competition 5" featuring filmmakers ages 6 and up.

The screening takes place Saturday, March 29 at 11am at the Michigan Theater. Take a look at the list of films and if you enter this code - AAFF52_AADL - when buying online tickets, you will get 10% off the advance ticket price ($5 standard)!

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. The 52nd AAFF takes place March 25 - 30, 2014 and presents over 200 films, videos and performances from more than 20 countries with dozens of U.S., North American and world premieres.

I Remember When: a 1974 video series made during Ann Arbor's sesquicentennial celebrations

Just in time for Ann Arbor’s 190th anniversary, AADL is pleased to release - for the first time! - I Remember When, a seven-part video series made during the city's sesquicentennial celebrations in 1974 "to tell the story of the important events that have happened in Ann Arbor's 150-year-old history."

In the first show, host Ted Trost says, "...the entire series will be recorded on videotape so that future generations of Ann Arborites may see and hear what it was like, way back when in 1974 - the year Ann Arbor celebrated her sesquicentennial.” And today, 40 years later, all seven episodes are available at aadl.org/irw for streaming and downloading!

Following an overview in the first show, each episode focuses on a specific topic - from city politics, the business community and religion, to entertainment, music and theater, and Ann Arbor’s Greek and German communities - and features interviews with several prominent citizens from that era. Together these films provide a snapshot of our city at a unique time and place in its history.

I Remember When was sponsored by the (at that time) Ann Arbor Public Library, in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Commission, and produced by students in the University of Michigan’s Speech Department.

"Time Has Little Effect on Valentine Sentiments"

Valentine greeting cards have been around since the second half of the 19th century, and popular with local collectors, and the topic of museum exhibitions. One of the most endearing collection is that of Ellen Gould, with some items dated back to 1917, from her former students.

Over the last 50 years, the Ann Arbor News has focus its coverage on how area children and families observed the holiday.

Valentine's Day was also a reason to celebrate for local businesses especially for florists and confectioners.

For the serious-minded, academics and researchers were consulted on the subject of romance.

 

AADL Talks To Bill Hart of Seyfried Jewelers

Media Player

December 9, 2013 at the Downtown Library

Downloads:

File NameSizeType
aadl_talks_to-bill_hart.mp313.4 MBAudio

Bill and Jim Hart have owned Seyfried Jewelers in Downtown Ann Arbor for more than 35 years. The store closed in December 2013 after 100 years in Ann Arbor.

Bill talked with AADL about taking over the shop from the Seyfried family, the longevity of the store, how selling jewelry becomes a lifelong relationship with the customer and the changes to retailing in Ann Arbor.

Length: 
29:04
Rights Held By: 
Ann Arbor District Library

Blue Front Bids Farewell

In 1927, Ray E. Collins bought the Blue Front Cigar Store at the corner of Packard & State, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ray was a legend in Ann Arbor, sitting behind his counter stacked with newspapers, gruffly answering questions and keeping his eyes peeled for ne'er-do-wells. Ray had some troubles with the law himself, getting cited over the years for fire hazards that were a result of his commitment to carrying every newspaper he could find and putting it anywhere he could find.

Ray died in 1978, willing the Blue Front to his long-time employee Jill Warren. Jill kept the Blue Front pretty much the same, widening the aisles a little, organizing the papers a bit more but leaving the hanging bulbs, thank you. In 1981, Jill sold the Blue Front to William Graving while maintaining ownership of the building. Ray started out as an employee of the Blue Front, so did Jill, and later employees would continue to have a fierce loyalty to the store and its traditions.

We may never know how the Blue Front got its name (Ray didn't know). We know the name was first used in the 1922 Polk City Directory. We were able to trace ownership back to 1908 when 701 Packard first appears in the City Directory with James R. Reed, News Depot followed by Davis & Konold in 1913, Clinton H. Davis in 1915, and Ernest C. Rumbelow in 1916. In 1921 it became Reynolds & Webb Cigars, the first time cigars overtakes newspapers in the store's name. In 1922 R. M. Housel bought the store, hired Ray sometime after that, changed the name to the Blue Front and then sold it to Ray. Goodbye, Blue Front.

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