The collection mainly consists of photocopies of materials dating back to the 1880s, made between 1986 and 2009 of numerous newspaper articles, magazine articles, information from websites, the Congressional Record, and chapters or partial chapters from reference books and other books, on various Michigan topics of interest to Barnett. Also included are Barnett’s correspondence and email to various institutions and people asking for information and material, his notes, and some [drafts of] articles he wrote about the topics.
Topics covered in depth include Michigan ash; railroads; highways; the Mackinac Bridge; music and people who sang or wrote songs about Michigan and/or cars; the longstanding oleo versus margarine debates, issues, advertisements, laws, and illegal sales; Agricultural Demonstration Trains of Michigan State University, 1906-1937; buying Michigan, 1795-1796; counties, name changes/considered creation of new counties; the history of county names; dandelions [as an emergency source of post-World War II rubber]; highway lighthouses [precursors to traffic lights]; lynchings; prisoners building Michigan roads during the 1920s; reflectors (roadside); roadside parks [Michigan had the first]; and stagecoaches. An addition in 2006 included the topics of: Broadcasting, Homestead Lands, Michiganders who went to Hollywood, Port Huron and Milwaukee Railroad, Sabbath Blue Laws, particularly in Ludington, and Swamp Lands, among others. Later additions include the topics of centroids, Iron Range and Huron Bay Railroad, Michigan ferries, Michigan’s population centers since statehood, and Oldsmar, Florida, harvesting deadheads (logs in rivers), LaChoy, and Michigan as a Commonwealth, David Ward, Deward (Mich.), and the Detroit and Charlevoix Railroad Company.
Processing Note: Abbreviations used by Barnett on folder labels were copied by Clarke processors exactly. Acidic materials were copied in 2014.