02/21/13

The Great and Powerful Osborn (Maybe)

Chase and Stellanova Osborn, depicted on a monument in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Who was the real promoter? Chase and Stellanova Osborn, depicted on a monument in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

I first became curious about Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, while sifting through files of letters in the United Nations Archives in New York. It seemed bizarre that the UN would have received a resolution from a “Young People’s Society for Better Hearing,” based in Lansing, Michigan, calling on the new organization to place its headquarters on Sugar Island, on the U.S.-Canadian border near Sault Ste. Marie.

I spent far more time than I should have trying to unravel this part of the Capital of the World story. Parts of it lie in the United Nations Archives, and other parts in the State Archives of Michigan in Lansing and the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. This turned out to be an excellent example of the ways in which historical evidence can mislead as well as inform. Let me explain.

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