2012 Local History Conference Draws 500

Posted March 31, 2012

WARREN—Hundreds of history enthusiasts descended on the 54th annual Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference held this past weekend at the John Lewis Center at Macomb Community College (South Campus) in Warren. The conference is one of the Historical Society of Michigan’s large history conferences focusing on the history and heritage of the Great Lakes State. Major sponsors included Meijer Inc., the Detroit Historical Society, and the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.

“Each year since 2009 we have seen participation at the Local History Conference grow dramatically” commented Executive Director Larry Wagenaar.  “Over the past five years attendance has gone from about 200 participants to 500. It is a testament to the outstanding work of the conference planning committee, the fascinating and quality presentations of our speakers, the work of our staff at the Historical Society of Michigan and the strong foundation built by the conference’s founder, Dr. Philip P. Mason.

Organized by the Michigan in Perspective Planning Committee, the 2012 conference featured several keynote speakers and breakout sessions focused on local history in Michigan. Susan Skarsgard, global design manager of GM Design Archive and Special Collection, presented the opening keynote, Where Today Meets Tomorrow: The Story of Eero Saarinen’s Design of the GM Tech Center. Other keynotes included The War of 1812 and Michigan: Some Thoughts on a Faintly Remembered Conflict by Brian Leigh Dunnigan, associate director and curator of maps at the William L. Clements Library, U-M; Sunday Morning with the Lone Ranger by radio historian Larry Zbed; and Tashmoo: The Park and the Steamer by Arthur M. Woodford of the Algonquin Club of Detroit & Windsor.

To see the full conference flier and all the content presented visit http://www.hsmichigan.org/conferences/local-history-conference.

Individual breakout sessions covered topics such as local history, genealogy, and cultural diversity. They included:

  • Michigan and the Civil War
  • Reflections of a Civil Rights Foot Soldier
  • 1950s Detroit Music: Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll •Coal: Michigan’s Forgotten Mining Frontier
  • Old’s Cool: Attracting Young Audiences to Local History
  • Lest We Forget: Black Civil War Soldiers and Sailors
  • A Private Digitization Project and the Human Element
  • Look What We Found: The Detroit Historical Society Collection Goes Online
  • Locating Missing Living Persons
  • Taking the Mystery Out of Your Mystery Ancestors
  • Blaney Park (a major resort destination in the Upper Peninsula)
  • African-American Oral History: Agency and Student Perspectives
  • Engineered Structures in Early Michigan History
  • Tragedy Strikes in Seven Minutes: Loss of the Steamer Fred McBrier & John Shaw ‘Went Missing’
  • Case of the Rose of Aberlone –Michigan’s Great Contribution to Contract Law
  • Post Motown Music
  • Bath City, USA
  • Book discussion of “Coney Detroit” by authors Joe Grimm and Katherine Yung
  • Book discussion of “Daring Trader: Jacob Smith in the Michigan Territory, 1802-1825” by author Kim Crawford
  • Rochester-Avon Historical Society Online Project: We’re Putting History on the Map
  • Coming through the Crisis
  • Forgotten Detroit
  • Remembering the J.L Hudson Company: Detroit’s Legendary Department Store
  • History in their Hands: Getting Your Resources into K-12 Classrooms
  • African Americans in the Legal Profession: A Case Study of Judge Elvin L. Davenpor

The conference also featured a Friday reception sponsored by the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. Held at the historic house in Grosse Pointe Shores, the event featured tours and a reception as the education center.

In addition to the major sponsors, the conference was also sponsored by the Burton Historical Collection, Michigan State University Press, University of Michigan Press, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University Press, Algonquin Club of Detroit & Windsor, Bentley Historical Library, Center for Upper Peninsula Studies at Northern Michigan University, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society, Great Lakes Maritime Institute, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Michigan Genealogical Council, Michigan Photographic Historical Society, Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, Oakland County Historical Commission, Troy Historical Society, and William L. Clements Library.

The Historical Society of Michigan is the oldest cultural organization in Michigan, founded in 1828 by territorial governor Lewis Cass and explorer Henry Schoolcraft.  The Society focuses on five major mission areas including publications, conferences, education, awards and recognition programs and support for local historical organizations.  For more information on Society programs visit www.hsmichigan.org.


Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email hsm@hsmichigan.org | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

Designed by MATRIX and hosted by H-Net
Martrix logo