Cleveland - Cliffs Iron Mining Company records
Scope and Contents
Collection Scope and Content Note
The records of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company span the period from 1856 to 1960. These records document three of the major turning points in the history of American iron ore mining: (1) the shift of the iron and steel industry from reliance on local supplies of low to medium-grade ore to reliance on distant supplies of high-grade ore shipped long distances from the Lake Superior basin to the lower Great Lakes and the related shift of the American iron and steel industry from the east side of the Alleghenies to the upper Midwest; (2) the consolidation of iron ore mining in the hands of large corporations between 1895 and 1904, stimulated by and coexistent with the emergence of U.S. Steel as America’s first billion dollar corporation; and (3) the replacement of natural with artificial ores in the aftermath of World War II (beneficiation and pelletization).
RG 65-37, RG 66-36 consists of various administrative records of the Cleveland-Cliff Iron Company. The record group includes: reports of pressure of blast (1879-80, 1885) for Pioneer furnace no. 1 and no. 2; reports of coal kilns (1880); statements relating to mercantile department (1874-78, 1884-87); statement of new construction (1924-30); contracts (1866-68, 1880), including contracts with Edward Breitung about silver lead; lists of subscribers to aid injured, blind and distressed individuals (ca. 1870-80), including name of donor or subscriber, amount given, and occasionally name of person aided; collections for medical services (1879-85) consisting of statements for costs covering medical services to company employees; weekly reports of diamond drill operations (1877-84, 1888, 1890); insurance policies (1872-75) for plant and equipment; statement of family charges and rent (1885); financial journals of Land Department operation (1889-90, 1896-1914); inventory (1896-1900) of equipment and supplies; invoice book (1887-88); ledger sheets of special accounts relating to stock of forest products, real estate, equipment and construction (1914-17); forms (1867-90); receipts, orders, invoices and statements (ca. 1870).
RG 68-102 consists of various business records of the Cleveland-Cliff Iron Company for the years 1865-1933. The record group contains mainly statements, reports and memoranda relating to financial aspects of the company's various operations involving mines, land, employees, sales and transportation. Earliest records relate to sale of sawmill products, and the latest reports operation of Hotel Williams. RG 66-36 is mainly comprised of correspondence and business records of the Land and Lumber Departments, including payrolls, manifests, contracts, and mine inventories. MS 76-90 contains the records of the CCI land department, lumbering department, and other units or companies associated with those units during the first several decades of the 20th century. Most materials relate to Alger County, the focus of the Company's lumbering operations, and to Marquette County, the focus of the mining operations on the Marquette range. The majority of the materials assembled here are the records of the Land Dept. (ca. 1896-1926) and the Lumbering Dept. (ca. 1905-1940). In addition, several series of records are from the Cliffs-Dow Chemical Co., the Northern Veneer Institute, the Piqua Munising Wood Products Co., and the Upper Peninsula Land Co. Record types in the collection include account books, financial statements, inventories, payrolls, land ledgers, and reports of logging operations.
MS 86-100 is the largest of the collection’s record groups and includes 2,908 items and 235 maps. The record group consists of numerous record series, including Routine Business records Formal Business records, Agents Annual Reports, Mining records, Transportion records, Correspondence, and Maps and Plans. These record series include, but are not limited to, a variety of record types, including payroll books, ledgers, balance sheets, deeds, leases, bondholder agreements, contracts, and cost analyses.
Restrictions on Access
There are no restrictions on accessing material in these records groups.
The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives acquired the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company (CCI) records from the state of Michigan in 2001. The records are on deposit with NMU and are still owned by the state of Michigan. Previously, the State Archives of Michigan maintained the records. In 1959 the State of Michigan acquired land formerly owned by CCI in Fayette, Michigan, and restored it as a State Historical Park by the Michigan Department of Conservation. Among the materials found by the Department during the first days of the restoration project were the records of the Cleveland Cliffs Company. Wooden storage boxes full of records were removed to the Department’s headquarters at Marquette for examination. Those relating to Fayette were sorted out and returned to the Park. Boxes of records relating to other aspects of the Company were removed to the museum of the Marquette County Historical Society for storage. Records described here were delivered to the State Archives on June 25, 1965, following the transfer of records from the Company to the Michigan Department of Conservation, Parks Division. The State Archives received two more accessions in 1966 and 1968.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the iron and steel industry was the foundation of the industrialization of the United States. The iron ore mining industry provided the raw materials that fed this industry and shaped the historical development of the Upper Midwest of the United States. The Cleveland Iron Mining Company was one of the pioneering producers in the Lake Superior Iron Mining District by 1890. In 1850, the Michigan legislature chartered the Cleveland Iron Mining Company with operations centered in Ishpeming, Michigan. Over the next 40 years, many more iron mining companies formed, failed, or merged into the Cleveland Iron Mining Company. In 1891, the Cleveland Iron Mining Company and the Iron Cliffs Company merged to become the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company (CCI). After the merger, CCI began to form or acquire a number of companies to carry out its different functions. The component companies were classified as constituent, allied, or associate firms. Constituent companies were those whose capital stock was entirely owned by CCI. Allied companies were those in which CCI owned part of the capital stock. Associated companies were those in which CCI owned no capital stock but which were operated by CCI. In 1914, CCI reorganized and consolidated these companies, ending the business operations of the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, the Iron Cliffs Company, and the Jackson Iron Mining Company.
Prior to the reorganization and full consolidation in 1914, the constituent companies were listed as:
Cleveland – Cliffs Iron Company, Cleveland Iron Mining Company, Iron Cliffs Company, Jackson Iron Company, Pioneer Iron, Company Munising Company of Ohio, Bay Mills Land and Lumber Company, Central Land and Timber Company, Grand Island Steamship Company.
Among the allied firms of the Cleveland – Cliffs Iron Mining Company before and after the reorganization were the following:
Bunker Hill Mining Company, Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railway Company, Munising, Marquette, and Southeastern Railway Company, Munising Paper Company, Munising Woodenware Company, Cliffs Chemical Company, Upper Peninsula Land Company.
CCI organized its lumbering activities into various operations and jobs which may be indentified by either the name of the contractor or by the operation number. Whether cut by the Lumbering Department or outside contractors, the Land Department was in charge of the sale of forest products and kept a varying percentage of the stumpage price of those products. CCI established the Land Department in 1896 to be responsible
The Collection is arranged by the following Record Groups:
RG 65-30, 1869-1930, 66 cubic feet, 8 volumes RG 66-36, 1864-1931, 149 volumes RG 68-102, 1860-1933, 213 volumes, 12 cubic feet MS 86-100, 1856-1960, 1,025 cubic feet, 235 items
1200 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company Records consist of business records and maps from the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company and its subsidiary mines and operations.
This collection is arranged into the records series RG 65-30, 1869-1930, 66 cubic feet, 8 volumes RG 66-36, 1864-1931, 149 volumes RG 68-102, 1860-1933, 213 volumes, 12 cubic feet MS 86-100, 1856-1960, 1,025 cubic feet, 235 items.
Other Finding Aids
CCI Inventory in the Archives Reading Room; Cleveland -Cliffs Iron Mining Company, RG 86-100 Maps and Plans in Archives Reading Room.
The State of Michigan acquired the records in 1959 after the acquisition of land formerly owned by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company. The records were moved to Marquette County Historical Society for storage.The records were moved to the Michigan State Archives on June 25, 1965 after the transfer of records from CCI to the Michigan Department of Conservation, Parks Division. The State Archives received accruals in 1966 and 1968. The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives acquired the records from the state of Michigan in 2001. The records are on deposit with Northern Michigan University and are still owned by the state of Michigan.
Restrictions on Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
The state archives maintains legal custody of the records.
- Cleveland - Cliffs Iron Mining Company records
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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