The Red Dust Project Oral History Collection

Accession Number M03-02
Collection Number MSS-113
Prepared by Crystal Laudeman
January 2004

Provenance Statement:

Maxine Honkala and Sharon Richards donated the Red Dust Collection.  Students of the former National Mine School followed by Aspen Ridge Middle School wrote and produced 17 books title “Red Dust” as part of the Red Dust local history project.  Maxine Honkala, Sharon Richards and Bobbi Ameen Directed the project.  The student’s received national and state awards for the documentaries which they produced for National History Day. 

Scope and Content Note:

The Red Dust records consist of approximately 800 oral history interviews documenting the history of the Central Upper Peninsula.  The collection is held in six legal size boxes and four cassette boxes, including transcripts of oral history interviews, stories written for the “Red Dust” publication, cassette tapes of various interviews, and video’s documenting the local history.

The collection is divided into eleven series, the first nine consisting entirely of oral history transcripts, dates listed represent when the interviews were conducted: The first series details the Depression and the 1938 Snowstorm, 1983-1998.  The second series details recollections of Community and Social Life, 1985-1998.  The third covers the immigration experience, 1989-1998.  The fourth series consists mainly of biography, detailing individuals Job History, 1984-1998.  The fifth series details the Mining Industry including the Barnes and Hecker Disaster as well as the Logging Industry, 1984-1993.  The sixth series details individuals’ experiences in Public Education, as either former student’s or teachers in local schools including Champion, Ely, North Lake and National Mine, 1987-1997.  Series seven details the experiences of individuals during World War II including memories of life on the Homefront as well as Military Service in the pacific and Europe.  Also included in this series is an interview with a Holocaust survivor, 1984-1999.  Series eight includes recollections of military service in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, 1989, 1994, 1999.  Series nine contains stories students wrote for the “Red Dust” publication from the interviews conducted, most stories are derived from interviews in the Mining industry, n.d.  Series ten contains miscellaneous oral histories which did not fit into previous topics, n.d.  Series eleven contains the audio/visual aspect of the collection, not all oral history interviews on cassette have been transcribed, and these interviews cover the topics of the Polio Epidemic and Max Reynolds Iron Lung.  Video tapes included are the result of local history video productions, 1983-1999, 2002.

The collection was organized into series by topic then alphabetically by the last name of the interviewee.  Those who are interested in the local history of the Central Upper Peninsula as well as the impact of major historical events such as the Depression and World War II may find this collection useful.     

Series Description

The Red Dust collection is arranged in 11 series:

Series 1.  Depression/1938 Snowstorm, 1983-1998 (74 folders)

Arranged alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Recollections of local area during the Depression and the snowstorm of 1938.

Series 2.  Community and Social Life, 1985-1998 (83 folders)

Arranged alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Recollections Central Upper Peninsula communities and social life.

Series 3.  Immigration, 1989-1998 (16 folders)

Arranged alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Recollections of the immigration experience.

Series 4.  Job History, 1984-1998 (74 folders)

Arranged alphabetically by last name of interviewee. Individual’s job histories and work experiences.

Series 5.  Mining/Barnes and Hecker Disaster/Logging, 1984-1993 (2 boxes)

Arranged alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Interview’s with retired miners and employee’s of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.  Includes recollections of the Barnes and Hecker Disaster and the logging industry.

Series 6.  Public Education, 1987-1997 (2 boxes)

Arranged alphabetically by school/district then by interviewee’s last name.  Interviews with former students and teachers/faculty of schools in the Central Upper Peninsula mainly National Mine School.

Series 7.  World War II—Homefront/Military Service, 1984-1999 (2 boxes)

Arranged between Homefront and Military Service alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Recollections of the local area during World War II, and experiences of veterans in the Pacific and Europe.  Includes one interview with a Holocaust survivor.

Series 8.  Military Service—Gulf War/Korea/Vietnam, 1989, 1994, 1999 (37 folders)

Arranged by war, then alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Recollections of individuals who served in the Gulf War, Korean War and Vietnam.

Series 9.  Red Dust Stories, n.d. (1 box)

Arranged Alphabetically by the title of the story.  Stories written for the “Red Dust” publication from interviews conducted.

Series 10. Miscellaneous, n.d. (3 folders)

Arranged Alphabetically by last name of intervewee.

Series 11.  Audio/Visual, 1983-1999, 2002 (4 cassette boxes)

Audio Cassettes arranged by topic followed by alphabetically by last name of interviewee.  Contains transcribed and non-transcribed interviews and video cassettes of local history documentaries.