We are continually trying to tweak and improve the SeekingMichigan web site.  To date, we’ve put out over a million records and images online.  We hope to launch an e-commerce module in the next month, and then look at comments, ratings etc.  We have also begun to build out resources like our Michigan County Clerks map.  More of this type of material will be available soon.

Reaching People

In the end though, our goal is VERY simple: to reach people with stories and resources about Michigan.  So we are especially tickled when the people from the stories reach back.  A recent example is Archivist Bob Garrett’s article on the 1961 Miss Michigan, Karen Southway  (here’s the article).

Karen Southway Dewert, Miss Michigan 1960

Upon publishing the blog article on seekingmichigan.org, we quickly had a comment posted stating “I’m flattered please write”  Turns out, the comment was from Karen Southway Dewert, Miss Michigan 1961 herself.  Here is a little snippet of Karen’s message:

WHAT A CRAZY WORLD WE LIVE IN.. MY BROTHER, WHO LIVES IN AZ. FORWARDED THIS TO ME IN CHICAGO…AND YES, I FOUND TIME TO MARRY ROGER DEWERT IN JULY OF ’64.(HE PASSED JAN ’06)  WE HAD 3 FABULOUS CHILDREN, NOW IN THEIR 40’S. I BECAME A PROFESSIONAL MAKE-UP ARTIST AND PAGEANT COACH..AND MOST RECENTLY, PHOTOGRAPHER AND PHOTO EDITOR.  LAST AUGUST I CELEBRATED 47 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS. HAVE HAD MANY WINNERS; BUT THE ONES I MOST LIKE MENTIONING ARE THE THREE MISS AMERICAS I ASSISTED TO THE CROWN..MARJORIE VINCENT 1990, KATE SHINDLE 1997 AND ERICA HAROLD 2003.  JUST TO THINK THAT IN ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF, IT WILL BE 50 YEARS AGO THAT I WAS CROWNED MICHIGAN…..SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY….WHERE DID THOSE DAYS GO?  -KAREN
We keep plugging away at seekingmichigan.org.  Adding new content, thinking of new ways to serve the public.  I’m personally looking forward to a story in January about winter golfing–on a lake.  Join us and let us know what you think.  If you have comments or suggestions please share them with us.

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Archives on YouTube

December 15, 2008

There are now some movies up on YouTube from the Archives Collection.  We have linked to the site on the right navigation bar or you can access them at: http://www.youtube.com/lookaboutyou

Jack Carlos and His Arabian Knights, May 11, 1927

Click Jack Carlos and Band – Large image to view an enlarged version of the image.

In the 1920s, Lansing residents danced to jazz bands from Michigan and across the US. These included James C. Dimmick’s Million Dollar Sunny Brook Orchestra, Nate Fry and the Gold Diggers, Wilson’s Serenaders, the Waltz Wizards, the Masqueraders, the 10 Musical Senators, and Alma Morrison and the Original Society Syncopators. Many of these bands played at the Armory, Lansing’s most popular dance venue. It was located on Michigan Avenue at Marshall Street.

This month’s images feature Jack Carlos and His Arabian Knights Orchestra, a band native to Lansing. The band’s venues included the Armory, Hotel Olds, and the Country Club. Their name typifies the orientalism that was the rage in the United States throughout the 1920s, following the enormous popularity of The Sheik (1921) with Rudolph Valentino. Lansing theatres replayed The Sheik throughout the decade along with its sequel Son of the Sheik (1926) and other exotic “desert romance” films such as Lady of the Harem (1926).

These images are part of the Leavenworth collection, a landmark acquisition for the Archives of Michigan. Taken by Leavenworth Photography in Lansing, this collection is the largest and most comprehensive historical photograph collection of Lansing in existence. An estimated 200,000 negatives trace Lansing’s history from the dirt roads of its pre-capital days through its boom into a major industrial city and automotive capital, and throughout the twentieth century. The collection is particularly strong in industrial photographs, but its true hallmark is its wide scope.

Negatives in the Leavenworth collection have been deteriorating, and work has begun to digitize the images. An exhibit of the collection will open at the Michigan Historical Center in May 2008. The Archives looks forward to sharing this exciting collection with the public and raising funds for its preservation.

Another view of Jack Carlos and His Arabian Knights (January 3, 1928)


Click Archives of Michigan to visit the Archives of Michigan home page.

Click Image of the Month Archives to access former Image of the Month pages.

Archives of Michigan
Michigan Library and Historical Center
702 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48913
Phone: (517) 373-1408
E-mail: archives@michigan.gov

Written by: Lisa Sparks.