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Maitland Family papers

Identifier: MSS-221

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection documents the efforts of Alexander Few Maitland and John Maitland to manage the Maitland Mine. The Maitland Mine was located in Marquette County, Michigan, near the town of Palmer and the present day Tilden Mine (Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company). Following the elder Maitland’s death and 1929, Alexander Few managed the lease of the mine to the Pickands Mather Mining Company. His son John continued to manage the lease after his death. This lease continued until 1961. The collection offers a remarkable view into early twentieth century mining activities by a single family during a time when 3-4 mining conglomerates dominated the Marquette Iron Range. Documentation includes extensive correspondence between Alexander Few and his siblings, legal agreements, tax records, audit reports, lease agreements, and production records. The collection also includes a large number of maps and plans of the Maitland Mine.

The remaining bulk of the collection documents the life of Dorothy Sanders Maitland. Following graduation from the University of Michigan in 1926, Dorothy married Floyd Sanders and eventually settled in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Of particular note is Dorothy’s scrapbook from her student days at the University of Michigan and as a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Also of note is Dorothy’s diary documenting hers and her mother’s (Fanny Maitland Vennema) tour of Europe and the Middle East in 1925. However, Dorothy’s daily journal is the most remarkable component of this portion of the collection. The journal (1927-1931; 1946-1979) offers a detailed account of Dorothy’s life as a suburban homemaker during the height of the Cold War and the tumultuous decade of the 1960s and 70s. Finally, the collection includes the correspondence between Dorothy and Fanny Maitland Vennema with Major Kellogg Speed. Speed was an Army surgeon stationed near the western front in France during World War 1. The family regularly sent Speed food and provisions, and he returned the favor with detailed correspondence of his life in France and the war. Speed survived the war and went on to become a nationally noted orthopedic surgeon living in Chicago.


  • 1880-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1960

Conditions Governing Access Note

There are no restrictions to user access.

Biographical Note

Alexander Maitland (1844-1929) emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1862. In 1864, he settled in Negaunee, Michigan, working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. In 1874, Maitland married Caroline V. Sterling (1854-1924). The couple had five children: Alexander Few Maitland (1875-1939), Kathrine H. Maitland Farrell (1879-1956), Leslie M. Maitland (1884-unk), Harvey Keith Maitland (1885-1936), and Rena Maitland Heffner (1888-1955). The elder Alexander Maitland later became the general manager of the Iron Cliffs Mining Company (likely in the mid-1880s) and president of the First National Bank of Negaunee. Maitland was elected Lieutenant Governor of Michigan in 1902 and 1904 (the collection includes very few records documenting Maitland’s political career). He also owned significant mining investments around the country, particularly in North Homestake Mining Company in South Dakota. He purchased land that would become the Maitland Iron Ore Mine sometime before or shortly after 1900.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities of three principal Maitland family members: Alexander Few Maitland and his children John Maitland (1914-2007) and Dorothy Maitland Sanders (1902-1995). Alexander Few Maitland managed the Maitland Iron Mine after his father’s death. He maintained family investments in South Dakota and served as the president of the First National Bank of Negaunee. He died in 1939 of a heart attack. He married Fanny Sommerville (later Fanny Maitland Vennema) in 1901. Their son, John Maitland was born on 21 December 1914, in Chicago. He married Sarah Ellen Hybarger in 1942. John Maitland was a Michigan Technical College Alumnus and a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Michigan Historical Society, and the Marquette Noon Rotary Club, Iron Forge Museum, and Maritime Museum. Dorothy Maitland Sanders attended the University of Michigan, married Floyd Sanders, and spent her adult life in Dallas, Pennsylvania, traveling to the Upper Peninsula regularly to spend summers at the family cabin on Little Lake near Gwinn, Michigan.


7 boxes (3 cubic foot boxes and 4 flat metal edge storage containers. )

1 drawer (Two folders contain oversized maps and plans. )

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged into five record series: Correspondence, Legal Agreements, Financial Records, Photographs, Journals and Diaries, and Maps and Plans.

Correspondence, 1893-1973. This record series mainly documents the families efforts to manage the Maitland Mine and other properties. Of particular note are the letters from Kellogg Speed, the death of Rena Maitland, and Alexander Few Maitland’s correspondence with his siblings concerning the Maitland Mine Lease and the distribution of mining royalties.

Legal Agreements, 1900-1938. This record series primarily documents mine leases, various contracts, and family obligations related to the Maitland Mine.

Financial Records, 1886-1937. This record series documents various financial dealings, including the family’s application of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan in 1933 in an effort to offset the negative effects of the Depression on mine operations. The series mainly consists of financial statements, trial balances, equipment and supply lists, audit reports, annual reports, tax returns, and royalty statements.

Photographs, 1910-1970. This record series documents various family members and activities.

Journals and Diaries, 1927-1931; 1946-1979. This record series principally documents the lives of Dorothy Maitland Sanders and Fanny Maitland Vennema. Of particular note are the European and Middle East travel journals and Dorothy’s college scrapbook.

Maps and Plans, 1873-1939. This extensive record series provides and excellent view into the structure and extent of the Maitland Mine, including cross sections and elevations. The series also includes property ownership maps of the Gogebic Iron Range, the Menominee Iron Range, Ontonagon County, and southern Marquette County.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Sally Bosken, formerly Sally Maitland, donated the collection to the Central Upper Peninsula and NMU Archives. Ms. Bosken is the daughter of John Maitland. The Forsyth Township Historical Society (Gwinn, Michigan) transferred the collection to the Archives.

Maitland Family papers
Marcus C. Robyns
June 17, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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.

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