Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Progressive Era Presentation in Calumet

Text from an article by Jane Nordberg that appeared in the Daily Mining Gazette regarding a presentation I gave on the Progressive Era at the Calumet, Michigan, Public Library, Thursday, November 20, 2008:

The [Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History's] exhibit tells the story of the Progressive Era in the United States when a broad-ranging reform movement worked to make government more democratic, to lessen the effects of industrialization and to regulate business.

Kaunonen's talk Thursday is expected to bring those topics into closer focus.
"It was an era of reform driven by the middle class and the educational aspirations of individuals and families that, for the first time in their family's history, had the means to send their children to college," Kaunonen said.

Kaunonen, archivist at the Finnish American Historical Archive and Museum at Finlandia University, will also provide an overview of changes to the national and local labor movement.
"Progressive reformers were not advocates of the groundbreaking change that many working class political and labor organizations advocated," Kaunonen said. "This dichotomy is best seen locally in the 1913-14 strike."

The Western Federation of Miners was an organization bent on the transformation of the economic order, he said, while Michigan's Gov. Woodbridge Ferris was a believer in the power of Progressive Era reforms.

"Ferris looked to implement gradual and metered change," Kaunonen said, while "the WFM and union-minded Copper Country workers looked to radically transform the power structure of the mining companies on the region."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good news...

The Finns in Michigan is now on its way to the presses. The book is set to arrive on shelves in April of 2009.
(The image is one that did not make the final cut, but none-the-less is pretty interesting. It is an image of the reviled one-time Governor General of Finland Nikolai Bobrikov. The Finns especially detested Bobrikov because he ushered in some of the late 19th and early 20th Century Russification programs designed to intensify subjugation of Finns in the Russian empire. The Finns responded to these programs by assassinating Bobrikov in 1904.)

Thinking back on the process, I have the utmost respect for editors and the editors who worked on The Finns, Kristine Blakslee and others from Michigan State University Press, were absolutely amazing. I cannot thank them enough for turning my ideas into a coherent narrative.

As I wrote earlier, the process from idea to page to book is pretty involved. I'll detail it here...

This process of writing The Finns started when I ran across a non-descript folder in the Finnish American Historical Archive. The materials were early correspondences between a previous author and Michigan State University Press for Finns in Michigan. The author had began the process of writing and then given up on the book. I still haven't figured out why, but the contract lapsed and the book was sitting out there waiting to be written.

This is a link to the series web site:

I made some inquires around the area to make sure the previous author was out and then contacted Art Helwig, series editor. After talking with Art and noting that The Finns would have a great audience, I set to contacting the necessary folks to get the ball rolling. After speaking with Art, I contacted Julie Loehr at Michigan State University Press, studied the "Peoples in Michigan Series" to see if what I had as a vision for the book would fit. It did and after getting the pertinent info together and contracts signed I thought well this has been easy so far...

That all changed with the writing and editing. I started my first draft in September of 2007 and worked on that to rough draft completion for about half a year. I last modified the draft in April of 2008. The first official edit occurred prior to April 08 and in between the first guided edit and the final draft submission on advice of the MSU-Press staff, I added and subtracted a number of things including a small section on suffragette, temperance crusader and women's activist Maggie Walz and more information about Finns in downstate Detroit area.

After the final draft was okayed it went to production. From production I got back page proofs, which are a sort of book draft. I looked that over and at this point you can only make critical corrections. I did two and then the page proofs were done. When all the pages were in a final order, it was time to do the index. I did that process myself and that is pretty time consuming as well. Once the index was done, the book was ready for print. A long process, but well worth it. I'm very happy with the outcome and working with the good folks at MSU-Press was great.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Challenge Accepted Rough Manuscript In

I finally have a complete rough manuscript for Challenge Accepted: A Finnish Immigrant Response to Industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country and it is off for a last check for overall content before heading to the editors. I'm hoping that the two images above can be used for the cover. They are from 1913 and were printed in the satirical publication Lapatossu. I think these images are great depictions of the growth of the Finnish immigrant labor movment. The top image represents the awakening of copper mine workers. The little portly fellows running are the mine owners. The image on bottom is the result of the awakening, a strike demonstration by the mass of workers.
Before beginning the process on these books I had no idea of how difficult and how many moving parts there are in the publishing business. Its pretty incredible to see a book move from what you write to bound copy; though as I wrote, that's an involved process. I have the greatest respect for book editors. As a person that is grammatically challenged, what these folks do is pretty incredible.

Now, a little about Challenge Accepted. This book grew out of my thesis work at Michigan Tech. I'm going to include a link to a page at Tech about the thesis: If you scroll down three thesis abstracts you will get to an abstract and some images from my work.
The book is quite a bit different from the thesis in that I have included some additional research and more line drawings of the actual buildings. Also included is much more about the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Miners' strike. The book version also has 7 chapters in its current form, a big departure from the thesis, which had only four. I'll update with some more information and a little info on an upcoming speaking engagement in Calumet, MI, I have regarding a history of the Progressive Era.