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Red Dust Oral History collection

Identifier: MSS-113

Scope and Contents note

The Red Dust records consist of approximately 800 oral history interviews documenting the history of the Central Upper Peninsula. The collection's materials include transcripts of oral history interviews, stories written for the “Red Dust” publication, cassette tapes of various interviews, and videos documenting the local history. 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. The collection's materials range in date from 1983 to 2000.

The collection also contains the following video productions: - Polio: A Tragic Epidemic Defeated by a Triumphant Vaccine - Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg: The Elemental Man, A Giant of the 20th Century - Finnish Migration to America: The Quest for a Better Life - Mourn the Dead: Fight for the Living - The World Can't Stop Because of Our Sorrow - Karelian Fever: Exodus to Build a Dream.


  • 1983-2000


Conditions Governing Access note

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

The donors retain copyright to the material in this collection. The donors prohibit any reproduction for commercial purposes. Any use of the material must conform to fair use as stipulated by United States Copyright Law and the rules of National History Day.

Historical note

Between 1983 and 2000, students of the former National Mine School in National Mine, Michigan, succeeded by students at Aspen Ridge Middle School in Ishpeming, Michigan, wrote and produced 17 books titled “Red Dust” as part of the Red Dust local history project. Maxine Honkala, Sharon Richards and Bobbi Ameen directed the project. The students received national and state awards for their work, which they produced for National History Day.


11 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged into eleven series: I. Depression and the 1938 Snowstorm, 1983-1998; II. Community and Social Life, 1985-1998; III. Immigration, 1989-1998; IV. Job History, 1984-1998; V. Mining/Barnes and Hecker Disaster/Logging, 1984-1993; VI. Public Education, 1987-1997; VII. World War II—Homefront/Military Service, 1984-1999; VIII. Military Service—Gulf War/Korea/Vietnam, 1989, 1994, 1999; IX. Red Dust Stories, undated; X. Miscellaneous, undated; XI. Audio/Visual, 1983-1999, 2002. Each series is then organized alphabetically by the last name of the interviewee.

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, undated (1 box) Arranged Alphabetically by the title of the story. Stories written for the “Red Dust” publication from interviews conducted.

Series 10. Miscellaneous, undated (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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift from Maxine Honkala and Sharon Richards in 2003.

Related Materials

Copies of the final Red Dust publications are also available on the archives reading room shelves at F572 .M33 R43. They were published from 1983 to 2000 except for 1996. The reading room shelves have every volume except for 1992. (This collection does NOT have a full run of the journal, but there are some copies in Box 6.)

View This Collection Online

This collection is part of UPLINK, the Upper Peninsula Digital Network. You can see part of it on the UPLINK website here.

Red Dust Oral History collection
Crystal Laudeman
January, 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 5/25/2010: finding aid revisiion description not supplied

Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
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