1900 : John Theodore Herrmann Born in Lansing
Nov 9 all-day

John Theodore Herrmann was born in Lansing, Michigan on November 9, 1900. He lived in Paris in the 1920s, as part of its famous expatriate American writers’ circle, and was friends with figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

The son of a wealthy Lansing family that produced men’s suits through the mid-1960s, Hermann would receive fall and spring suits from his father every year. He would often pass on older suites to Ernest Hemingway. In fact Hemingway thanked Herrmann for a suit in one 1930 letter. “It is a damned handsome suit,” Hemingway wrote. “…That’s as fine a suit as I ever saw.”

Herrmann’s first novel, What Happens, a coming of age story, was original published in Paris by Robert McAlmon’s Contact Editions press. Copies were seized by U.S. Customs upon their arrival in the United States on the charge of violating the 1922 Tariff Act, which banned the import of obscene materials from foreign countries. Herrmann fought the charge in a jury trial in New York City in October 1927 but ultimately lost. Despite supporters such as Genevieve Taggard, H.L. Mencken, and Katharine Anne Porter, the jury responded with a negative verdict and the judge ordered the seized copies destroyed.

In 1932, Herrmann’s short novel, “The Big Short Trip,” tied with Thomas Wolfe for the Scribner’s Magazine short novel prize.

Hermann’s leftist connections were investigated in the late 1940s by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Herrmann was placed under surveillance and questioned many times in Mexico by the FBI. He died near the Pacific Ocean in April 1959, at the Hotel Navidad, in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico from a heart attack.


John Theodore Hermann wikipedia entry

Judy Putnam, “Revival of forgotten Lansing novelist”, Lansing State Journal, June 10, 2015.

1912 : Seeandbee Launched
Nov 9 all-day

The Seeandbee was the only four-stack passenger steamer to ever sail the Great Lakes.

The overnight passenger vessel Seeandbee was so massive, you could land an airplane on her – and they did.

The 500-foot, coal-fired sidewheel steamer was launched at Wyandotte, near Detroit, on Nov. 9, 1912. She was built for the Cleveland and Buffalo Transit Co., but also made stops in Detroit.

The Cleveland & Buffalo Transit Co., or the C&B, as it was known, was a popular steamship line established by Morris A. Bradley in 1885 and incorporated in 1892. It initially offered passenger and freight service, as its name would suggest, between Cleveland and Buffalo. It would expand its routes to include Toledo, Cedar Point and Put-in-Bay in Ohio, as well as Detroit, Buffalo, N.Y., and other stops.

The Seeandbee, the pride of the C&B fleet, made her maiden voyage on June 19, 1913. At the time, she was the largest passenger ship on the “inland seas,” and remained the only passenger liner with four smokestacks ever built for Great Lakes travel.

The vessel’s name came from a contest and is an acronym for C&B.

She would not return to the site of her construction, Detroit, until the 1930s.

But with the growing popularity of automobiles, especially along the Cleveland to Buffalo route, the C&B line fell on hard times. In 1938, the line operated at a loss of $192,162 (about $3.4 million today, when adjusted for inflation) before fixed charges and other income. On May 27, 1939, a special shareholders meeting was held in Cleveland, at which shareholders voted 16,000 shares to 4,600 to liquidate the company.

The Cleveland & Buffalo Transit Co. of Illinois, which was independent of the Cleveland firm, was organized earlier that month in order to charter and operate the Seeandbee under lease; the rest of the C&B line, however, remained idle. The Seeandbee’s fleetmates, the City of Erie and Goodtime, were put up for sale, as was the hull of the City of Buffalo, which was all that was left following a fire that gutted that vessel in 1938.

In March 1941, the Chicago-based C&B, led by its president, Thomas J. McGuire, bought the Seeandbee, anticipating an increase in Great Lakes travel because of the wartime curtailment of ocean cruises. That ownership would be short-lived, however.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that December, the country found itself entering World War II and in need of aircraft carriers.

What would follow would become one of the most unlikely change in careers for the beautifully appointed passenger liner.

The U.S. government requisitioned the Seeandbee on March 2, 1942, at a cost of $246,000 (about $4 million today). Then, some 1,200 workers began removing her superstructure and lavish upper works and turned her hull into the aircraft carrier USS Wolverine. She was commissioned on Aug. 2, 1942, at Buffalo, N.Y., and made her first trial run as an aircraft carrier a week later, on Aug. 9.

Uncle Sam also requisitioned the Greater Buffalo from the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co., and turned it into the aircraft carrier USS Sable.

These night boats-turned-aircraft carriers were used to train Air Force pilots for the war effort. Between 1942 and the end of the war in 1945, more than 15,000 pilots were trained in Lake Michigan aboard the so-called “freshwater flat tops.” Among them was future President George Bush.

Following the war, the Wolverine was decommissioned and later sold for scrap and dismantled at Milwaukee in 1947.

Source:  Seeandbee,

Also see  August 22, 1942 : The U.S.S. Wolverine, the Great Lakes’ Aircraft Carrier, Commissioned

1912 : UM Faculty Attempt to Prevent Ann Arbor Saloonkeepers From Serving Students
Nov 9 all-day

November 9, 1912 : Ann Arbor’s prosecuting attorney and University faculty members united against local saloonkeepers in an attempt to charge them with the sale of intoxicating liquors to students, a violation of state law.

Source : “This Week in Daily History“, Michigan Daily, November 6, 2002.

1917: MAC Encourages Rationing In Response to WWI
Nov 9 all-day

Rising to the Challenge: M. A. C. and Food Rationing During World War I

Potato Crop Photo

There seems to be nothing more patriotic than sacrifice, especially when your country needs you. The sacrifice that most people think of are the lives of the servicemen and women who choose to fight for their country, but what about the sacrifices made at home? How do the people who stay home contribute to the war effort? By rationing food, particularly wheat and sugar. Food rationing is a common enough practice during war, and Michigan Agricultural College was no different during World War I.

“War bread” was the name for the replacement of wheat bread. In an effort to spread the idea of rationing, the M.A.C. women “placed in the corridor of the library building a table on which folders, circulars and literature on food conservation subjects, including recipes for war bread” were made available to the general public. Wheat was supplemented with other ingredients such as “barley, corn flour, cornmeal, bran flour, oat flour, rolled oats, boiled rice, rice flour, buckwheat” and even potatoes. While we are not at war ourselves, there is a familiarity in the dietary habits of the war restricted people of the past and our diet obsessed modern day culture. Some of these ingredients are still in use for gluten-free products.

Flour Ration Poster

The home economics course also stressed the need to cut back on wheat flour in their August 1918 edition of the extension course notes. In the introduction of the section titled “Breads for War Time,” it is stated that “…Allied countries have agreed that their wheat bread shall contain 20 per cent [sic] of other grains than wheat….no patriotic American housewife will use less than that amount until the necessity of helping our allies and those others dependent on us for food is passed.” It is made perfectly clear that this was not a request or a guideline. Not only is the standard clearly set on how much wheat was to be used, but a disregard for said standard would call into question the loyalty of the woman who dared to bake bread with more than 20% wheat flour.

Sugar had similar standards to bread, although some of the substitution options would have been more palatable than the bread options. Once again, it is the home economics course notes was the source providing alternative options when rationing sugar in cooking. Foods such as cereal, cakes and desserts were the main focuses in decreasing sugar, and many of the suggestions for substitution would have been dried fruits, corn syrup, or leaving out sugar altogether if possible: “Eat fruits for the fruit flavor–they contain their own sugar….Use plain cakes….Use corn syrup, cane syrup…apple or other fruit syrups, molasses, honey, jelly or jam made from syrup, in place of sugar.” There are also several alternative recipes listed to help students cope with the new war time diet they were facing. One such recipe was for apple pie. The ingredients listed were “2 C sliced apples/ ½ C corn syrup/ 1 T corn starch [sic]/ ½ t cinnamon,” and the directions were as minimal as the ingredients used: “Arrange apples in tin lined with plain pastry.  Combine corn syrup, corn starch and cinnamon and pour over the apples.” The replacement ingredient for sugar would have been the corn syrup, which would have allowed for meals to continue on with as few changes as possible.

Even traditional social events were subject to substituting their food. Every year, there was a barbecue held in front of Wells Hall. However, there had recently been a campus wide event to raise money for Liberty Bonds, so “ after…feeling a wee bit poverty stricken…the class of 1920 decided that it would be more in keeping with the wishes of Mr. Hoover to have a barbecue without the roast ox. As a substitute…was that stable luncheon delicacy, the Club C doughnut.” It was noted that the change in protein choice “was purely a wartime function,” so this wouldn’t be a new tradition, but rather, a show of support for the country and soldiers at war.

It was apparent that everyone was doing their part to ration what they could on campus, from student events to the departments to the students themselves. While it is apparent that most of the substitutes were meant to keep life going as similarly to before the war as possible, the differences are still there. Therefore, the resolve to help with the war from student and faculty alike is impressive, and the act of sacrificing such staples from a diet such as wheat, sugar and meat shows a commitment that is to be admired.

“M. A. C. Women Push Food Campaign.” MAC Record, 9 Nov. 1917, vol. 23, no. 8.

“Breads for War Time,” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“How Can I Use Less Sugar?” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“How Can I Use Less Sugar?” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“Meatless Barbecue Big Success.” MAC Record, 9 Nov. 1917, vol. 23, no. 8.

Source: Catherine Neely, “Rising to the Challenge: M.A.C. and Food – Rationing During World War I“, Archives@MSU, March 12, 2018.

1962 : Ford Rotunda Burns
Nov 9 all-day

From 1936 to 1962, the gear-shaped Ford Rotunda attracted visitors from around the world. It was the fifth most popular tourist destination in the United States in the 1950s.

The building had its roots in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, known as the Century of Progress Exposition, which opened in May of 1933 and attracted more than 40 million visitors over its two-year run. One of the major attractions at the fair was Ford Motor Company’s Rotunda, which was disassembled after the fair and brought back to Dearborn, where it was reconstructed using more permanent materials. Designed to be the showcase of the auto industry, the Ford Rotunda was opened to the public on May 14, 1936.

In 1960, the Rotunda ranked behind only Niagara Falls, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Smithsonian Institution and the Lincoln Memorial as a national tourist destination. It was more popular than Yellowstone, Mount Vernon, the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty.

On November 9, 1962, it burned, putting an end to tourists visiting.

Source : The Ford Rotunda, Michigan In Pictures, December 12, 2009.

2012 : First Armed Forces Classic Held at Ramstein Air Base
Nov 9 all-day

The Armed Forces Classic is a college basketball game that is played outside of the United States in front of forward deployed military personnel. The first game was held on November 9, 2012 between Michigan State and UConn at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. It was the first college basketball game played between two division 1 teams in Europe. The University of Connecticutt upset Michigan State, 66 to 62.

Source : Armed Forces Classic wikipedia entry

2013 : Senator Carl Levin’s Remarks At Christening of USS Gerald R. Ford
Nov 9 all-day

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered keynote remarks today at the christening ceremony of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, at Newport News Shipbuilding. Following are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Admiral Greenert, thank you for that introduction, for your service to America, and for your leadership of our great Navy, a Navy in which Gerald Ford proudly and bravely served during World War II.

I am honored to be here today, a remarkable day to be a Michiganian. Being here with my wife, Barbara, reminds me of the love Gerald Ford had for Betty, and of his devotion to his family. Near his grave in his hometown of Grand Rapids stands a pedestal engraved with a quote from his remarks upon taking the oath of office: “I am indebted to no man, and to only one woman – my dear wife – as I begin this very difficult job.”

We Michiganians are proud to call President Ford one of ours. That’s not just because he held our nation’s highest office, but because of the manner in which he held that office – with a fundamental goodness of heart and generosity of spirit that all of us in public life should try to emulate.

There is perhaps no more visible, more powerful representation of America’s military strength than the hull that towers above us. No other nation makes carriers like America makes them, and this will be the most powerful American carrier ever to sail.

Yet for every time this ship will instill doubt in the minds of our adversaries, it will many more times give hope to our friends and the people of the world. It will be welcome support in a time of crisis, and it will bring comfort and aid in times of disaster and grief. And so it is truly fitting that it will bear the name of Gerald R. Ford.

Gerald Ford sought to replace division and doubt with unity and hope. He took office at one of the most tumultuous moments in the history of our democratic system. His task was to calm America’s stormy waters so that we could regain our self-confidence as a nation. George H.W. Bush observed as Vice President Ford prepared to take office as president, “What we need at this juncture in our history is a certain sense of morality and a certain sense of decency.” That’s the perfect description of Gerald Ford. He was the right man for the time.

He knew our true strength, the strength that would carry us through that trying time, wasn’t just in the force of our arms, but what is in our hearts. In a 1975 speech outlining his foreign policy goals, President Ford spoke of the need to build a strong military, but then said, “I would like to talk about another kind of strength, the true source of American power. … I am speaking here of our belief in ourselves and our belief in our nation.”

That is the spirit this great vessel will carry across the oceans. It embodies our military might, and much more: It carries the name of a president who showed us America at its best, an America that strives to bring hope to every corner of the planet and to do so with strength, but without bluster. Then-Congressman Ford brought a moment of modest humor to the solemn moment he was sworn in as vice president. He told America, “I am a Ford, not a Lincoln.” He showed us that one need not take on extraordinary trappings to accomplish extraordinary things, just as the men and women of this ship, drawn from every part of this land and every segment of our society, ordinary Americans all, will accomplish the extraordinary.

In the decades to come, when the crew of the USS Gerald R. Ford helps defend our nation from danger, when they protect the innocent from harm, when they sail under freedom’s flag bringing hope in times of despair and calm in moments of crisis – at those times, they will exemplify the greatness and goodness, the steadiness and steadfastness of their vessel’s namesake, and of the nation he loved so much and served so well. Godspeed to this ship, and to the men and women who sail her.

2013 : USS Gerald R. Ford Christened
Nov 9 all-day
Image result for USS Gerald R. Ford photo

On November 9, 2013, the U.S. Navy christened its newest aircraft carrier named after Michigan’s only president, Gerald R. Ford.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the 38th president, served as the ship’s sponsor, breaking a Champagne bottle against a plate welded to the hull and officially christening the ship Gerald R. Ford.

The Gerald R. Ford, designated CVN 78, honors the late president who guided the nation through the end of the Vietnam War. Ford, who was named by President Richard Nixon as vice president after Spiro Agnew resigned, was a former Michigan congressman from Grand Rapids. Ford served aboard the USS Monterey in the Pacific during World War II, and was the first president to serve aboard an aircraft carrier.

“The christening of USS Gerald R. Ford marks an important milestone in both the life of this ship and the development of our future fleet, a fleet built on the innovation that makes our Navy and Marine Corps team the finest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

For the full article, see David Shepardson, “USS Gerald R. Ford to be christened Saturday”, Detroit News, November 7, 2013.

1808 : Jesse W. Fell Born, Man Who Named Pontiac and Livingston County
Nov 10 all-day

November 10, 2018 is the 200th birthday of Jesse W. Fell, the man who named Pontiac and Livingston County and who was one of Abraham Lincoln’s first political backers.

Jesse W. Fell was born Nov. 10, 1808, in Pennsylvania, studied law in Ohio, and had many accomplishments in the Illinois part of his life, including founding the town of Normal, and helping found what is now Illinois State University. He also founded Clinton, Towanda, Lexington, LeRoy and El Paso. He helped develop Dwight, Joliet and Decatur. Fell died Feb. 25, 1887.

Fell suggested the name of Livingston County to honor Edward Livingston, a lawyer and statesman, mayor of New York City, representative in Congress from New York and later Louisiana, U.S. senator from Louisiana, Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson, and U.S. Minister to France. The county was established Feb. 27, 1837, by an act of the Legislature.
Pontiac, the first and only county seat, was incorporated in 1856, and township government was adopted in 1858.

Although Livingston had no connections to Illinois, the General Assembly “found him accomplished enough to name a county after him,” a page says.

Local historian and former staff reporter Barbara Sancken wrote in an article that Fell “had more to do with shaping the early events of Livingston County and Pontiac than any other man.” She noted how he walked from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1831 as a 23-year-old, and who would live in Bloomington from 1832 until his death, except for five years of that period.
He became acquainted with Lincoln in 1832, learning of his service as a captain thin the Black Hawk War. A Quaker, Fell was a good friend of Stephen A. Douglas but opposed him politically, Sancken noted in her story.

Fell became the first attorney in Bloomington, the county seat of newly formed McLean County

Fell was also a great-grandfather of Adlai Stevenson, the governor of Illinois, twice a candidate for president, and ambassador to the United Nations under President Kennedy. “I have a bad case of hereditary politics,” Stevenson once quipped; his paternal grandfather, Adlai Stevenson, was vice president under Grover Cleveland.

Fell explained in a letter how he decided on the names.

The letter, addressed to the Old Settlers group of the county, was printed in the Jan. 6, 1876, edition of The Pontiac Sentinel:

“Being associated somewhat t with the early history of your city and county, it will, I trust, not be deemed intrusive to state, very briefly, why Pontiac and Livingston County came to the names respectively of your county seat and county.

“I have always commiserated the lot of the original inhabitants of our common country, and in view of their certain and rapid extinction, have favored the perpetuation of some of their favorite names. When, therefore, in olden times, my friend, Henry Weed, the first settler and proprietor of what is now your county seat, applied to me to draft a petition for the post office, I inserted the name of “Pontiac,” that being the name of a distinguished Indian chief.

“In drafting the first bill for the formation of the county, some years after, I left a blank to be filled with a name when thereafter agreed upon. Gov. John Moore was at that time one of our representatives in the legislature and had a very decided preference for the name of “Belmont,” that being the name of the county he had lived in Ohio.

“I was for (Edward) Livingston, mainly because, not long before, he had rendered the county an important service in drafting the celebrated proclamation putting down South Carolina…Secession. Finding a majority of the committee on counties of my way of thinking I had no difficulty in inserting the name your county now bears; a fitting compliment to one of the most accomplished statesmen of the age …”

The Fell parks in both Pontiac and Bloomington are named after Jesse Fell.

Source: “Today is bicentennial of birth of Jesse Fell“, Pontiac Daily Leader, November 10, 2008.

If anyone has access to te July 21, 1937 Pontiac Daily Leader, there is a picture and story about Jesse Fell in the  in the centennial issue of the newspaper.

1975 : Edmund Fitzgerald Sinks in Lake Superior
Nov 10 all-day

You Tube video by Joseph Fulton. A tribute to the 29 men who died November 10, 1975, aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. Video and images set to Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 song.

At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 9, 1975, the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald left Superior, Wisconsin, loaded with 26,116 tons of iron ore. She overtook the Arthur M. Anderson just beyond Two Harbors, Minnesota. The two captains discussed the worsening weather and decided to take the northerly route across Lake Superior to Whitefish Bay and the Sault Locks. The Edmund Fitzgerald would eventually sink on November 10th.

Image result for edmund fitzgerald photo

For more information, visit:

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online

Edmund Fitzgerald Posting by Bob Garrett, Archives of Michigan.

Wikipedia Entry

Gordon Lightfoot and the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

Tanda Gmiter, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: 41 Years Later”,, MLive, November 10, 2016.

For a book, see “Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Michael Schumacher (Bloomsbury) – Still one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Great Lakes, the Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29-man crew perished in Lake Superior during a November storm in 1975. The tragic story of the ship and crew is recounted here, as well as the search and rescue efforts, the official investigation and the controversial struggle over the recent recovery of the ship’s bell.