Research Blog

Deja Vu All Over Again? Record Turnout For 1964 Presidential Election In Ann Arbor

Poll Lines

On November 3, 1964, the voters of Ann Arbor came to the polls to vote for President of the United States . . . and they came and they came. When the City Clerk finished counting, a new voter turnout record was set at 29,409. The Ann Arbor News tallies for Washtenaw County showed a 16,000 vote advantage for President Johnson over Barry Goldwater, a trend that was mirrored nationwide. Ann Arbor and the County also set a record for ticket-splitting, handing Governor Romney a sizable victory over Ann Arbor's Neil Staebler.

In the lead-up to the election, the News published a voter education guide, What You Should Know To Make Your Vote Count In 1964. The Guide featured profiles of the federal candidates and statewide candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. You'll see some very familiar names on the page. Included were civics lesson on Courts in Michigan, local elections and general elections. The 1964 election stood out for another reason: for the first time voters would elect the Governor and Lt. Governor as a team from the same political party. There was only one statewide ballot proposal and the question will be very familiar to voters in 2016.

Fast forwarding to 2016, the Michigan League of Women Voters has produced a non-partisan Voter Guide that is available at all AADL branches. The Ann Arbor League of Women Voters has been conducting local candidate forums that are available from the CTN Video On Demand page as well being rerun throughout the election cycle on Channel 19.

The Ann Arbor City Clerk has a web site with all the info you'll need to vote. The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, October 11, 2016. If you're not sure if you're registered or your voter information is up-to-date, check it out on the SOS Michigan Vote site. If you'd like to vote absentee, you can print off the Application for Absentee Ballot directly or stop by one of AADL's branches and we'll be happy to print it out for you.

50th Anniversary of Tornadoes That Swept Through Milan

On Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, tornadoes and severe weather tore through the Milan area. Considering that more than 270 lives were lost in the Midwest and 42 in Michigan, it was phenomenal that Milan reported only two injuries and no fatalities. Residents described strange clouds and whistling sounds while the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department reported a collapsed bridge and damage to several businesses. The most typical scenes were crushed cars, damaged homes and destroyed buildings. The News got a first-hand account of the damage to Coldwater from a former reporter. Cleanup began immediately but it was years before Milan fully recovered.

A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two

AADL is pleased to partner with the University of Michigan Stephen S. Clark Library to explore community life in Ann Arbor during World War Two. "A Community for Victory - Ann Arbor in World War Two", which will be on display May 1-August 1 on the 2nd floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library, makes use of AADL’s local historical archives, the Clark Library's map collection, and special materials from the the American Culinary History Collection.

Among the documents on display from AADL’s collection are Ann Arbor News articles and photographs highlighting homefront activities during World War II, including the promotion of victory gardens, scrap drives, and bond drives. Nearly 800 additional articles and photographs from the World War II era are available via AADL’s Oldnews site.

An opening reception will take place at the Stephen S. Clark Library, 913 S. University Ave., on Thursday, May 1st, 4- 6pm, with coffee and light refreshments provided. Public welcome!

AADL partners with UMS to present UMS Rewind

AADL is pleased to have partnered with the University Musical Society to help build UMS Rewind, a searchable database of performances, programs, and photographs from 135 years of UMS history.

Open to all researchers, this unique research tool is available for searching by composer or composition, conductor or performer, and provides access to repertoire, programs, and other material detailing the unique legacy of UMS and the history of touring in the performance arts in America.

U-M Star Billy Taylor & AADL's Old News

Record-setting, 3-time All-American and team MVP Billy Taylor began his career at U-M at the same time as coach Bo Schembechler. Despite his amazing college achievements, he later saw his world come crashing around him as he battled addiction, incarceration and homelessness on the streets of Detroit.

If you missed the inspiring Monday, December 2 AADL screening of the documentary of Billy's life - or if you want to know more about this amazing individual who faced despair but turned his life around. - AADL has an online collection of information about this and other compelling local stories. Documentary filmmaker Dan Chace used AADL resources to research content for the film. Here is a selection of articles gathered on Billy Taylor.

You can easily view thousands of similar articles from local Ann Arbor newspapers over the years, including the Signal of Liberty, The Ann Arbor Argus, The Ann Arbor Courier, and The Ann Arbor News by visiting oldnews.aadl.org.

The African American Cultural & Historical Museum Of Washtenaw County Living Oral History Project

Join AADL and the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County for this premiere of their Living Oral History Project.

Five community members were identified to initiate the project by participating in a series of professionally filmed and edited.interviews. Interviewees included Rosemarion Blake, Russell Calvert, Lydia Morton, Willis Patterson, and Johnnie Mae Seeley.

The interviews serve as a road map to what African Americans witnessed, experienced, shared, and contributed in building the community we see today. Topics such as race, gender and education equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and infrastructure were presented and discussed, providing a spectrum relevant to issues and concerns within Washtenaw County.

This event will include a short program and an opportunity to speak with those interviewed. Light refreshments will be served. The Oral History project and the video interviews will be available for viewing and download on the Library website following the premiere.

The Battle On Broadway Hill: When The Soap Box Derby Came To Ann Arbor

In 1936 the Ann Arbor Daily News and Chevrolet brought the Soap Box Derby to Ann Arbor, promoting the race with page one stories, plenty of pictures of local boys and display ads meant to entice every boy in the county to enter the Derby. Officials were appointed, the rules explained and the "long, smooth and straight" Broadway Hill named as the site of the race. The lead-up to the race gave News photographers plenty of display space for their pictures of local hopefuls building and testing their cars. More than 6,000 fans watched John Mayfield win the inaugural Battle on Broadway Hill. In 1937, the page one story promoting the Soap Box Derby was bigger, the coverage more extensive and the prizes offered by local merchants really cool. The Chief of Police talked crowd control as race day on Broadway Hill approached. Controversy over his residency did not stop Merlin Hahn from winning the 1937 crown. Although there was plenty of interest by young girls in the race, the Soap Box Derby did not allow girls to compete until 1971. Enjoy the articles and pictures and, if you can, help us solve the mystery: who is Babs?

Update! Turns out "Babs" is the name of the car piloted by 1938 Soap Box Derby winner Lynn Smith and he named the winning car after his sister, Babs Smith. In an interview granted to the News after his victory, Lynn tells all.

You Call This Hot, Sonny?

On Wednesday, July 8, 1936, the temperature in Ann Arbor reached 100 degrees. Thursday no relief was in sight so the kids took to the water. By Friday area residents were being felled by the high temperatures. On Saturday, July 11, the weatherman forecast a break in the weather, but he was wrong. The next day temperatures again reached 100. On Tuesday the weatherman again forecast a break in the weather and Wednesday, July 15, relief finally arrived. The two consecutive days of 100+ degrees set a record for Ann Arbor. The high temperature record, however, had been set in July, 1934, 105.2 degrees.

On This Day in History--January 2nd: Isaac Asimov was born in 1920

One of the world’s best-known science-fiction writers and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov was born on January 2nd, 1920 near Smolensk, Russia. Through his dedication to writing and to science he helped to elevate science fiction from pulp magazines to a more intellectual and respected genre.

One of the most prolific writers of all time, he wrote or edited more than 500 books, on subjects as varied as chemistry, biology, the Bible, Shakespeare, modern history, as well as books for preschoolers and college students. He received dozens of awards in his lifetime including six Hugo awards, 3 Nebula awards, and a posthumous induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He even had an asteroid and a crater on Mars named in his honor. Asimov was also a member and Vice President of Mensa, though he found little enjoyment in it, feeling his fellow members were too arrogant about their high IQs. Asimov died in New York, New York on April 6th, 1992.

His more popular works include the Foundation trilogy, Pebble in the Sky, The Stars, Like Dust, and I, Robot, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2004. Follow the links and you'll find them in AADL's collection!

Related Posts:
Locus Magazine Announces Winners of Poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

University of Michigan Wolverine Great Bob Chappuis

One of the Wolverine's great football players died June 14 in Ann Arbor. A Wolverine MVP, Collier's All-American and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Chappuis also served in WWII. Shot down over Italy, he spent three months hidden in plain sight from the Nazis.

Old News has gathered together a selection of articles from the Ann Arbor News that cover his career at Michigan. Chappuis joined the Wolverines in 1942, served in WWII from 1943 ~ 1945 and rejoined the Wolverines in 1946, setting records in offensive play. In the undefeated 1947 season, Chappuis finished second for the Heisman Trophy and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Michigan went on to win the Rose Bowl with such a decisive win over Southern California, 49 - 0, that AP put out a post-bowl game poll that moved them back in to first place over season-ending first place Notre Dame. We'll be adding stories about Chappuis to the Old News site so keep checking back to read more about one of Michigan's great players.

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