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Stewart Kingsbury papers

Identifier: MSS-329

Scope and Contents

The collection contains papers, data, audio cassettes and open reel tapes of interviews, and books dealing with place names in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, including their origin and folkloric materials dealing with loggers, miners, Finnish-Americans, and Native Americans. The collection contains maps and file cards listing place names of all topographical features including cities, towns, and settlement areas in the Upper Peninsula. It contains copies of papers that describe Dr. Kingsbury’s NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Grant: “Computerization of place names for a place name center in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan;” and documents pertaining to his work as a commissioner of the Place Name Survey of the United States, done in conjunction with the U.S. Board of Domestic Names, USGS (United States Geological Service).

Other materials deal with language studies in the Upper Peninsula: the Computerized Survey of American English conducted in conjunction with Dr. Zacharias Thundy, Department of English, including informant names and survey records. These materials contain survey forms and papers describing Upper Peninsula English. Other papers deal with student surveys of slang and Finnish English.

Also included are papers regarding Dr. Kingsbury’s work on “The Slavic Saints Cyrill and Methodius, founders of Slavic literacy and envoys from the Byzantine Emporers Macedonies and Basil in the Ninth Century (to ancient Pannonia).

The collection is divided into eight subseries: 1) Dialect; 2) Folklore; 3) General; 4) History (primarily material pertaining to Upper Peninsula history); 5) Oral History; 6) Place Names; 7) Proverbs; 8) Notecards.


  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions and is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from MSS-329, Stewart Kingsbury papers, must be obtained from the Univeristy Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at (906) 227-1225 or email, The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Stewart A. Kingsbury was born in Wayne, Michigan, in 1923. He received his undergraduate degree in Naval Science in 1946, his MA in Political Science from Georgetown University in 1950, MAs in Russian Area Studies in 1961 and in General Linguistics in 1963 from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in General Linguistics from the University of Michigan in 1968.

In the late 1960s, he became active in a computerized dialect survey of Upper Michigan English. In 1975, he received a National Bicentennial Award for his design of a computerized data base for the US Place Name Survey and for his work as co-chairman of the US Place Name Survey for the State of Michigan. His affiliations included the Modern Language Association, the Midwest Modern Language Association, the American Dialect Society, the American Name Society, and the Michigan Linguistic Society.

Dr. Kingsbury taught English as a foreign language at the University of Michigan and held subsequent posts at Olivet College and Indiana University. He taught English and linguistics at Northern Michigan University from 1969 until his retirement in 1991. Dr. Kingsbury died 24 October 1994.


18 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Contains 7 audio tapes and 8 reel-to-reel tapes identified by Marcus as being on the A-Priority list for Digitization

Stewart Kingsbury papers
Karen Kasper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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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