Steinhaus, Bayliss Public Library Win Prestigious UP History Awards

June 28, 2010

MENOMINEE—Nancy Steinhaus and the Bayliss Public Library received the Historical Society of Michigan’s top awards for the preservation of Upper Peninsula History on June 26 at the 61th Annual Upper Peninsula History Conference.

Nancy Steinhaus, a member of the Chippewa County Historical Society since 1995, was awarded the Charles Follo History Award.  The Bayliss Public Library received the Superior Award.

Steinhaus was nominated for the award because of her dedication to the resurrection of the Chippewa County Historical Society in the mid 1990s.  The Society had dwindled down to only three members when Steinhaus became involved and was the driving force that reinvigorated the Society that was created in 1918.  Her leadership, first as Secretary, then as Vice-President for Membership and Fundraising and then President created a society with hundreds of members and built a solid financial base to ensure the future of the Society.  She was instrumental in setting up a capital campaign to purchase and renovate the Society’s headquarters and also in helping secure grants to assist with renovations of the building and other projects.

Not only has Steinhaus concentrated her efforts with the Chippewa Historical Society but she also extends her hard work to other area of history and preservation including chairing the Historical Development Commission of Sault Ste. Marie and co-authoring Upbound Downbound (The Story of the Soo Locks) as well as many other community projects.

The Historical Society of Michigan presents the Charles Follo Award each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the preservation and promotion of Upper Peninsula history.  It was established in 1979 to honor the memory of Charles Follo, an Escanaba schoolteacher who promoted and helped advance historical understanding of Michigan’s U.P.

“The Follo Award is the highest recognition given to an individual leader in UP history by the Historical Society of Michigan” according to the Shannon White, the Society’s Assistant Director.  “The hard work and dedication shown by Ms. Steinhaus in her work with the Chippewa County Historical Society and other community historical projects shows how the efforts of one person can make a tremendous impact on the preservation of a community’s history.”

In a similar fashion the Historical Society of Michigan established the new Superior Award in 2006 to recognize organizations that make important contributions to UP history.  This year the award was given to the Bayliss Public Library, one of Michigan’s outstanding archival institutions.  The Joseph H. Steere Room in Sault Ste. Marie’s Bayliss Public Library houses an archive of national significance that brings researchers to the city from all over America.

The library’s archival collection originated with a gift from Judge Joseph H. Steere, who had helped found Sault Ste. Marie’s Carnegie Library.  The library’s original archival collection has mushroomed over the years to become a magnificent collection that transcends merely local importance.  Its holdings include items from the American Fur Company; the papers of Peter Barbeau, an early Sault Ste. Marie merchant and advocate for the Soo Locks; the papers of Barbeau’s son-in-law and business partner Myron Scranton; the papers of fur trader and merchant George Johnston; records of the Port of Mackinac; and many more documentary collections.

The Bayliss Library’s staff has worked tirelessly to make this collection available to researchers with the development of finding aids to the collections, digitized images, and an extensive vertical file.  As a result, the library’s collection is seeing continual and increasing use.  The Charles Follo and Superior Awards are presented each year at the Historical Society of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula History Conference.  Territorial governor Lewis Cass and Henry Schoolcraft, who explored and wrote about the UP, founded the Society in 1828.

During the State History Conference, to be held on Frankenmuth October 15-17, the Society will present its annual State History Awards.  For more information on the Society’s awards visit or call (517) 324-1828.


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

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