Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Trelfa Photographic Collection, 1886-1920

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn, Dana Fey

Summary Information
Title: Trelfa Photographic Collection, 1886-1920
Creator: Trelfa, Fred R., 1886-1979.
Inclusive dates: 1886-1920
Extent: .75 cubic feet (in 2 boxes)
Photographic materials collected by the Trelfas, documenting a wide range of Michigan and national people, places and events.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:


Access Restrictions:

Trelfa Photograph Collection is open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Trelfa Photograph Collection, 1886-1920, Folder #, Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is divided into six series, organized by accession number and order of donation.


Fred R. Trelfa, born April 9, 1886 in Strathroy (Ontario), moved to Alpena, Michigan, in 1895. He had a brother, Tom C. Trelfa, of Detroit. On September 16, 1914, Fred married Mable C. Hagen. She died on August 19, 1974, after 60 years of marriage. They had two children, Mable and Richard T.

Fred R. Trelfa attended public schools until 1902 when he began working with the Alpena City Water Co. He worked for Holmes & Kelsey Wholesale Grocery Co. from 1905 to 1908 and at Alpena County Savings Bank from 1908 to 1919, as a bookkeeper and bond teller. In 1919, Fred R. Trelfa began work at Fletcher Paper Co., from which he retired in 1959 as secretary-treasurer and director of the company.

Fred R. Trelfa was active in school organizations, the Masons, and historical societies. He was a community leader interested in preserving Alpena’s history, including hundreds of photographs and manuscripts that he collected and organized. Numerous paper and photographic collections documenting Alpena, Michigan, and Michigan history were donated to the Clarke by the Trelfa brothers.

On March 27, 1979 Fred R. Trelfa, age 92, died in Alpena. (This information is from Fred’s obituary.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection, 6.25 cubic feet (in 14 boxes) 1849-1925, and undated, was donated over a period of time by one or both of the Trelfa brothers and is divided into six series. The series were established by accession number and topic matter. For a more detailed listing see the Box and Folder Listing. Overall the collection is in good physical condition.

Series 5 consists of 0.75 cubic ft. (in 2 boxes) Acc#2643, Spanish-American War images. Box 1 includes 52 and Box 2 contains 19 film negatives in homemade glass casings, #807-1740, #1742-1760, all undated, each measures approximately 5x4 inches. Topics include views of Washington, D.C., war camp, streets and buildings, camp, officers, soldiers, horses, tents, girls, African-Americans, parade ground, railway, people, animals, etc.

Subject Terms

    • Trelfa, Fred R., 1886-1979.
    • Trelfa, Tom C.
    • Crocker, Esli K.
    • Circus--History--19th century.
    • Lighthouses--Michigan.
    • Lifesaving stations--Michigan.
    • Spanish-American War,1898--History.
    • Hot Springs National Park (Ark.)
    • Mississippi River.
    • Alpena (Mich.)--History.
    • Rapid City (Mich.)--History.
    • Presque Isle County (Mich.)--History.
    • Thunder Bay (Mich.)--History.
    • Mackinac Island (Mich.)--History.
    • Hubbard Lake (Mich.)--History.
    • Island Lake (Mich.)--History.
    • Grand Lake (Mich.)--History.
    • Washington, D.C.--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Trelfa Collection, Series 5 (Accession#2643, Trelfa Collection Series 5 - Spanish-American War) [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Glass-plate negatives, camp, tent, children, soldier, dog, fence, woman, wagon, mule (8), undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Glass-plate negatives, camp, tent, soldier, officer, woman, street (8), undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Glass-plate negatives, camp, railroad, street, soldier, officer, tent, negro, African-American (8), undated
    Box   1 F   4
    Glass-plate negatives, soldier, tent, woman, camp, officer, sword (8), undated
    Box   1 F   5
    Glass-plate negatives, camp, soldier, tent, wash, Native American, Indian (8), undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Glass-plate negatives, city, garden, officer, negro, African American, soldier, tent, gun (8), undated
    Box   2 F   7
    Glass-plate negatives, camp, tent, cemetery, officer, woman, street, horse, soldier (8), undated
    Box   2 F   8
    Glass-plate negatives, tent, tree, camp, latrine, soldier, woman (8), undated
    Box   2 F   9
    Glass-plate negatives, flowers, woman, man, soldier, dog, street, cart, horse, fence (7), undated