Skip to main content

Russell M. Magnaghi papers

Identifier: MSS-317

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains original records and manuscripts, photocopies of historical documents, project materials, news clippings, student term papers, correspondence, research notes, presentations, and publications of Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi, Northern Michigan University Professor Emeritus of History, known for his broad interest and involvement in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, ethnic groups in the U.P. (particularly Italian-Americans), and Northern Michigan University.

The collection is divided into several subseries including a General File, Course Materials, Writings and Presentations, Northern Michigan University, Italian Organizations in the U.P., Upper Peninsula and Michigan File, and History Student Papers.

The General File (1951-1992) includes biographical materials and information about several of Magnaghi's speaking engagements. Various documents are also included for projects which Magnaghi was involved in locally, including the Heritage Hotel Project in Marquette, the Historic Preservation Committee, and the U.P. Italian-American Oral History Project, which was directed by Magnaghi. The Course Materials File (1973-1991) is a small file with fragmentary pieces pertaining to courses taught by Magnaghi as a history professor at Northern Michigan University.

The Writings and Presentations file (1978-1992) reflects Magnaghi's broad interests in Italian-Americans and other ethnic groups, as well as the history of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It includes copies of speeches as well as published articles and monographs.

The Northern Michigan University File (1959-1992) illustrates Magnaghi's role as professor. The file includes History Department materials such as faculty meeting minutes, correspondence, a departmental history, and academic program activities in which Magnaghi was heavily involved,including The Coalition to Save Longyear Hall, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, the Northern Michigan University Museum Project, and various history student organizations. The Italian Organizations in the Upper Peninsula File (1901-1983) consists of the original and photocopied records of a large number of Italian organizations in the Upper Peninsula. These records were originally entrusted to Msgr. David P. Spelgatti who served as secretary of the Federation of Italian American Societies of the Upper Peninsula and had a leadership role in founding the Paisano Club of the Upper Peninsula in 1965. The records predominately consist of organization by-laws and rule books, although there is some correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, programs, and miscellaneous materials for the Paisano Club and the Italian American Societies of the Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula and Michigan File (1840-1992) documents Magnaghi's various roles as historical collector and compiler, researcher, and participant and consists primarily of photocopies of original documents, news clippings, and research notes relating to a wide variety of Upper Peninsula subjects and, to a lesser extent, Michigan in general. Included are his materials on Cornish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Finnish-Americans, Danish-Americans, and Native-Americans in the area. There are materials relating to the Escanaba River Hydroelectric System, the Marquette Ore Dock, Michigan's Sesquicentennial Celebration, and the U.P. during World War II, all of which Magnaghi either conducted research on or participated in on a project level.

The History Student Papers File (1947-1989) includes papers relating to the Upper Peninsula only and primarily consists of term papers written by Magnaghi's students, although an occasional paper was included from a student outside his classes.

Processed July 1994


  • 1840 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access note

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from the Russell M. Magnaghi papers, MSS-317, must be obtained from the University Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at 906-227-1225, or e-mail, The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Biographical/Historical note

Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi has been a member of the Northern Michigan University History Department since 1969. Raised in an Italian-American community in San Francisco, Magnaghi received his PhD in 1970 from St. Louis University with an emphasis in Latin-American history. He developed his interest in local history while at Northern and has been an active participant in local history interests and projects in the area.


20 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


General note

This collection was formerly Univ Series-047. When it became MSS-317, a new finding aid was created.

Russell M. Magnaghi papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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 is your guide to our historical collections of personal papers, organizational records, and manuscripts. Our collections cover 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. Search by Keyword, Name, Title, Subject, or Collecting Areas. The finding aids for our collections will give you an overview of the contents and information on where they are located.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
© 2018 by the NMU Board of Trustees. NMU is an equal opportunity institution.