We are excited to announce that the Keweenaw Time Traveler has been awarded a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).
This project, called Michigan Miners at Home and Work: Digitizing, Mapping, and Sharing Employee Records, will support 6 Undergraduate students, 1 Master’s student, and 1 Archivist over 2 years. These new team members will help make a rare collection of 40,000 employee records from the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company available for both academic and public use. Through partnerships between the Michigan Technological University Archives, Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, and the Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Lab, this project will digitize and map an archival collection that provides insights into the lives of mine company workers and their families unavailable in other public records, including details like the types of jobs they worked, wages, previous employers, as well as injury and death records.
The Time Traveler team will be working to link these employee records through space and time by integrating them into the Keweenaw Time Traveler. These employee records contain addresses and family information that will help the student team to connect them at the household level with census and city directory records already in the Keweenaw Time Traveler. Once completed, users will be able to learn even more about how where miners lived and worked effected their life experiences. Digital images of the fully scanned employee cards will also be shared in the new Copper Mining Employee Card database on the MTU Archives’ Preservica-based platform much like the Copper Country Historical Images. We anticipate these new resources to be available to the public in early 2022.
Look for updates in this blog as the project moves forward! Public programming will include a few “Night at the Archives” programs, when you will be invited to come in after hours to learn more about the data extraction process and see the employee cards in person. You can even transcribe some of the hand-written cards yourself! Our Facebook and Twitter accounts will also keep you up-to-date. Check out WJMN to see more.
Principle investigators for this $240,014 grant are Sarah Fayen Scarlett (SS), Don Lafreniere (SS), and Lindsay Hiltunen (University Archivist). The CLIR grant program and its 2019 awards are made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. To learn more, visit www.clir.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.