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: 2 cubic feet (in 4 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 3 consists of 2.00 cubic ft. (in 4 boxes) and has no Acc# or related names. The collection consists almost entirely of glass-plate negatives, but also includes 8 film negatives and notes. The negatives vary in size. Some of the negatives or accompanying notes date the majority of the images from the 1860s-1889. Some of the original sleeves of the plates in Boxes 1-3 noted “See Boulton album.” Topics in Box 1 include views of Alpena including streets, buildings, homes, Camp Alger, Thunder Bay Island, Island Lake, and Oxbow, as well as logs, sailboat, and life saving boat. Box 2 topics include Alpena, Rapid City (Antrim County), buildings, dam, bridge, river, railroad images, boat, fairgrounds, baseball, etc. Box 3 images also include Alpena and Rapid City images as well as some of Mackinac Island, including people, buildings, streets, race, sports, fairgrounds, etc. Box 4 covers the same topic matter as Boxes 2-3 and also includes images of Professor Crocker’s Educated Horses.

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 3 (No Accession#, Unknown Trelfa Collection) [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Film negatives, paper/graphite, Alpena, Thunder Bay, buildings, bridges, mills, boats, streets (8), 1860's, 1865, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, buildings, streets, logs, river (6), 1880's, 1882-1884
    Box   1 F   3
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, river, log, boats, bridges, homes, bicycles (6), 1880's, 1885-1887
    Box   1 F   4
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, homes, streets (6), 1880's, undated
    Box   1 F   5
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, homes, boats, Thunder Bay, rivers, Camp Alger, Island Lake, railroad (5), 1880's, 1886
    Box   1 F   6
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, Thunder Bay Island, boats, life saving (5), 1886, undated
    Box   1 F   7
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, encampment, Camp Alger, Island Lake, boats, lighthouse, streets, buildings (5), 1883-1886
    Box   1 F   8
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, bicycles, streets, trains, buildings (5), 1886-1887
    Box   2 F   9
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, dams, streets, trains, buildings (5), 1886-1887, undated
    Box   2 F   10
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, streets, buildings (5), 1886-1888
    Box   2 F   11
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, streets, buildings, mills, churches (5), 1886
    Box   2 F   12
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, churches, streets, buildings, river, boats, lighthouse (5), 1886-1887
    Box   2 F   13
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, maps, Long Rapids, Maple Ridge, Wilson, streets, buildings (5), 1886-1887
    Box   2 F   14
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, streets, buildings, churches, fairgrounds (5), 1886-1888, undated
    Box   3 F   15
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, buildings, fairgrounds, streets, parade (5), 1887
    Box   3 F   16
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, toboggan, fairgrounds, streets, Mackinac Island, encampment (5), 1887, undated
    Box   3 F   17
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, encampment, Mackinac Island, streets, buildings, churches (5), 1887
    Box   3 F   18
    Glass-plate negatives, paper/graphite, Alpena, streets, parade, buildings, river, logs, train (5), 1887-1889, undated
    Box   3 F   19
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, buildings, streets, churches, railroad, mill, logs (6), 1887
    Box   3 F   20
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, people (6), 1880's
    Box   3 F   21
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, people, Antrim County, Rapid City, railroad, logs (6), 1880's
    Box   4 F   22
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, people, buildings, railroad, logs, Professor Crockers Educated Horses (6), 1880's
    Box   4 F   23
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, people, E. K. Crocker, Crocker, buildings, foundry, industry, railroad, conductor, baggage master (5), 1849, 1880's
    Box   4 F   24
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, streets, buildings, dam, logs, river (3), 1880's
    Box   4 F   25
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, river, logs, buildings, church (3), 1880's
    Box   4 F   26
    Film negatives, Alpena, buildings, interior (3), undated
    Box   4 F   27
    Film negatives, Alpena, homes, people, woods, stream (5), 1880's, undated
    Box   4 F   28
    Paper records, orginial Trelfa series 3 inventory (1), undated
    Box   4 F   29
    Glass-plate negatives, Alpena, river, people, billboard (1), undated