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Donors contribute rare photos, personal library

Posted on Jan 25, 2011
Donors add rare shipbuilding photos, geology professor’s library to Jim Dan Hill Library Special Collections at UW-Superior.
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Christopher Jersett, a history major working as a student archive assistant, examines one of the rare shipbuilding photographs recently donated to Jim Dan Hill Library.

Christopher Jersett, a history major working as a student archive assistant, examines one of the rare shipbuilding photographs recently donated to Jim Dan Hill Library.

A collection of rare photographs that belonged to famed Twin Ports shipbuilder Alexander McDougall and the library of retired geology professor Dr. Joseph Mengel Jr. are the latest additions to the Special Collections of Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

"We are grateful for these gifts. Both donations have local significance that will be important to researchers as well as to our community," said Debra Nordgren, library director.

The collection of photos includes four albums that belonged to McDougall, inventor and builder of the unique whaleback ships, and his son A. Miller McDougall, a noted Duluth businessman. The photos were donated by the Alan Marshall family of Orchard Lake, Mich., descendants of the McDougalls.

Two albums include whaleback photographs taken by noted photographer David F. Barry. The third album is related to McDougall's ship design work, including designs and models for gun boats. The fourth album includes images from the McDougall-Duluth shipyard in Duluth, which built freighters for ocean service during World War I.

The photos are an addition to the Lake Superior Maritime Collections at UW-Superior, which chronicles maritime history and commerce on the upper Great Lakes.

The Mengel gift includes 2,500 books, the UW-Superior professor's professional, personal and family papers, and several detailed models of historic ships. Mengel's professional work encompassed studies of copper deposits and red clay stability in northern Wisconsin; the oil and coal deposits of the Powder River and Williston basin regions of Montana; and records related to the "asbestos-like fibers" found in Lake Superior in the 1970s.

The Mengel family papers include personal correspondence and photographs of Joseph Mengel Sr. from World War I. The elder Mengel was a member of the 148th Field Artillery, which included on its roster UW-Superior president and library namesake Jim Dan Hill.

Dr. Joseph Mengel Jr., who lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., was inducted into the UW-Superior Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 as recipient of the Carl Vergamini Contributions to Yellowjacket Athletics Award. Donation of the Mengel collection has been facilitated by David and Diane Parr. David Parr is a former colleague of Mengel's, and both of the Parrs have taught classes at UW-Superior.

Both collections, which are still being processed, already have stirred interest among researchers, said Laura Jacobs, associate professor and archivist at Jim Dan Hill Library.

Staff and volunteers from the S.S. Meteor Museum, which preserves the last of McDougall's whaleback vessels, have examined the albums donated by the Marshall family. A team interested in past use and potential further preservation of Wisconsin Point has consulted maps on local Red Clay Slope Stability from the Mengel family papers, she said.

The Special Collections section of Jim Dan Hill Library includes a research collection of high-quality materials relating to northwestern Wisconsin as well as the communities surrounding Lake Superior and the upper Great Lakes. As an integral part of the teaching and research functions of UW-Superior, Special Collections supports research for students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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