Hill Auditorium ~ One Hundred Years of History

On June 25, 1913, Hill Auditorium was officially opened to the University and the community with the mission to bring the world to Ann Arbor. Grace Shackman's Old News feature tells the story of Hill and the thousands of performers, speakers, events and controversies that have made Albert Kahn's gorgeous building so central to Ann Arbor's history. Old News has published hundreds of Ann Arbor News articles and photographs that chronicle the history-makers, the premiere performers, the celebrations and the one-of-a-kind.

In collaboration with the University Musical Society, the complete UMS Concert Program Archives have been digitized. The program notes offer some of the best music criticism written. In keeping with a long-held Town & Gown tradition, UMS will celebrate Hill's 100th with a big Community Sing of Verdi's Requiem on May 14th, one hundred years to the day that they did the Requium in 1913. Come, sing and be a part of the continuing history of Hill Auditorium.

AADL Talks to Cynthia Shevel

In this episode AADL talks to Cynthia Shevel, owner of Middle Earth Gift Shop on South University. Middle Earth came on the scene in 1967 as the first “head shop” in Ann Arbor. The store began as a one-room, 2nd-floor walk-up on Liberty Street. The motto of Middle Earth is “harming only the humorless.” Long-time TreeTowners will remember the great ads Middle Earth ran in The Sun, our contribution to the underground newspaper movement. We talked to Cynthia about the move to South U and the changes over time to the merchandise, the customers and the crew at Middle Earth.

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AADL_Talks_To-Cynthia_Shevel.mp3 12.7 MB

AADL Talks to Joe O’Neal

AADL sat down with Joe O'Neal, president of O'Neal Construction who, along with Bill Martin, established the Argus Museum. Joe related how the purchase of the Argus buildings from the University of Michigan in the early 1980s led to the acquisition of cameras, photographic equipment, memorabilia and company publications of the Argus Camera Company. Many of the ideas and leads for the museum collection came from the pages of the Argus Eyes.

Joe's many stories include names familiar to Argus employees and collectors including Milt Campbell, Art Dersham, Don Wallis, Sammy Ross and Tony Vicaro.

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AADL_Talks_To-Joe_Oneal.mp3 10.9 MB

Argus Camera - The Story Behind the Stories

Old News has obtained two promotional videos produced by Argus Camera around 1945 and 1953. Argus Eyes For Victory recounts the "miracle of production" that earned Argus several E Awards for excellence in design and manufacture of World War II-related materiel from the U.S. War Department. The video captures the post-war economic optimism while paying tribute to the soldiers, inventors and labor that became known as the Greatest Generation.

In Fine Cameras and How They Are Made, the Argus C-Four takes center stage. The narrator intones, "It takes three things to make a fine camera . . ." and with that the film launches into a highly technical and detailed description of every step in the camera-manufacturing process at Argus Cameras of Ann Arbor. Scenes of the scientists and craftsmen creating the Argus C-Four are interwoven with scenes of customers using the camera to take family photos and outdoor shots. Visit AADL's Argus Camera online exhibit and take a walk over to the Argus Museum for even more Argus history.

Black English Case: Language in the Courts

In the late '70s, Ann Arbor gained national attention for what became known as the Black English Case.

It started in July, 1977, when the Student Advocacy Center filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 11 children at King Elementary school, charging the Ann Arbor Public Schools with failing to meet the needs of the children and misidentifying them as handicapped. The scope of the case was quickly narrowed and an accord seemed within reach. Six months later, the AAPS reading plan was rejected by the plaintiffs and the AAPS rejected a counter-proposal. The stage was set for a trial that would be defined by a term, "Black English" and what, ultimately that term means.

King Elementary students and teachers testfied and an array of experts in linguistics and education were called to testify. In early July the defense team for the AAPS rested without calling witnesses and the case was in the hands of Judge Charles W. Joiner. Judge Joiner issued his decision in mid-July, ordering the AAPS to develop a program to assist student who spoke "Black English." Controversy followed as the school board voted to appeal, then dropped the appeal. Eventually a curriculum plan was developed, then amended, and criticized.

In September, 1979, King Elementary teachers began training in a national spotlight. A year later AAPS reported to Judge Joiner that the program had been beneficial to students and teachers. The Black English case has remained a topic of debate and discussion in Ann Arbor and beyond.

Elizabeth R. Dean Day

On March 24, 1981, Ann Arbor City Council declared April 7th being Elizabeth R. Dean Day in memory of the woman who left her estate of nearly $2 million upon her death to the City for the care of her trees.

Elizabeth Russell Dean was born in Ann Arbor on Christmas Eve,1884 to Sedgwick and Elizabeth Strong Dean. Sedgwick and his brother Henry S. operated Dean & Co. on Main Street since 1861. Miss Dean died on April 7th, 1964 at the age of 79.

Next time you stroll down Main Street and admire the lovely trees along the Elizabeth R. Dean Promenade, know that the Elizabeth R. Dean Fund is still at work keeping our trees healthy and bringing beauty and shade to "The City of Trees".

Walter N. Koelz

Currently on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art is a collection of Buddhist Thangkas and Treasures from the Walter N. Koelz Collection, an exhibition in conjunction with the U-M Museum of Anthropology. Because of the fragile nature of these devotional objects, they are rarely exhibited. The show closes on June 9th, 2013.

The awarding-winning docents at UMMA were curious about Dr. Koezl and asked Old News to dig up the Ann Arbor News clippings on this local legend and his incredible collection, amassed through years of travel, with a shrewd collector's eye.

A retired U-M professor of Ecology, Koelz "never drove a car, never slept in a bed, never wed and rarely wore shoes even in winter". He left his estate valued at $1.6 million to the Nature Conservancy in his will. Besides his treasures, he is remembered for the collection of exotic flora and fauna donated to the University, brought back from his travels.

Guide to Old News for Low Vision Users

There are a variety of features in the Ann Arbor District Library Old News that can be of use to users with low-vision.

Large Article Images and Photos

Articles in Old News are scanned at high resolution and are served up that way on the site. Simply click on any article image or photo you see in Old News to bring it up in its own window. Selecting the expansion button below the article image will blow it up to its full size--often as much as twice as large as it appeared originally in print!

OCR Text

Many of the articles in Old News appear with Optical Character Recognition text that is readable by screen readers. Look below the article image and look for the "View Uncorrected Scanned Text" section. AADL staff and patrons are working to correct the errors in this OCR and add OCR to articles from which it is missing.

PDF Copies of Historic Newspapers

Many of the newspapers in Old News have been digitized as full issues and are provided on Old News as issue PDFs in addition to being broken into separate articles. After selecting a newspaper from the Papers page, just pick any issue you wish to see by clicking on its date. You'll see an option to "Download PDF" on each issue. These PDFs have large images of each page and text underneath for any screen reader to access.

AADL Local History Podcasts

Old News isn’t just for reading, it’s also for listening. Take a step back in time while listening to Old News Podcasts. AADL talks to locals and “townies” on a variety of topics including Argus Camera, the turbulent 60’s, University of Michigan Sports, and heritage businesses such as Schlanderer & Sons and Vogel’s Lock & Safe, and more.

Martha Rock Keller, Local Artist and Ambassador

Martha Rock Keller (obituary), well-known local artist and educator died Wednesday, February 13, 2013. She was 86.

An alumnus and faculty at the University of Michigan and other local colleges, she is also a frequent contributor to the Ann Arbor News. She has served as a juror for the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.

In 1985, her work was included among other American women artists in an exhibition at the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi (Kenya). In the summer of 1989, Martha Keller was selected to exhibit her paper fountains at Tubingen, one of the Ann Arbor Sister Cities, in the Ann Arbor-Tubingen Exchange Program to promote international understanding.

The Old News team had digitized many of the Ann Arbor News articles on and by Martha Rock Keller.

Inaugural Gowns - 1933

On March 4, 1933, the Ann Arbor News ran photos of Eleanor Roosevelt and Anna Roosevelt in the gowns they would wear for the Inaugural Balls. The designer of the gowns was Sally Milgrim and the light blue gown you see in the News photo of Mrs. Roosevelt was considered one of Mrs. Milgrim's triumphs. Later tonight we'll get the first glimpses of Mrs. Obama's Inaugural Ball gown. Jason Wu designed the 2009 Inaugural gown which is now part of the First Ladies collection at the Smithsonian.

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