Magnaghi prohibition book, oral interviews showcased

Magnaghi

MARQUETTE — Russell Magnaghi’s new book on prohibition in the Upper Peninsula and a collection of oral interviews he conducted with U.P. residents about a variety of topics will be showcased at the next “Evening at the Archives” at Northern Michigan University.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the Edgar L. Harden Learning Resources Center, in the atrium in the back of the library. It is hosted by the Central U.P. and NMU Archives. Refreshments will be provided.

Magnaghi is an NMU professor emeritus and historian. He will discuss his book, “Prohibition in the Upper Peninsula: Booze & Bootleggers on the Border.” Copies will be available for sale and signing following the presentation.

NMU students Lydia Henning and Libby Serra will present about a website they constructed for the U.P. Radio History Talk, a collection of interviews between Magnaghi and others. The history of copper mining, hunting, ethnic celebrations and food in the U.P. are some of the topics addressed in the interviews. The talks will be digitized and summarized for public viewing on the website.

The back cover of Magnaghi’s book describes the raucous history of Yooper prohibition: “Temperance workers had their work cut out for them in the Upper Peninsula. It was a wild and woolly place where moonshiners, bootleggers and rumrunners thrived. Al Capone and the Purple Gang came north to keep Canadian whiskey passing through Sault Ste. Marie to Chicago and Detroit. Federal enforcement agent John Fillion double-crossed both his office and the bootleggers. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island survived due to gambling and fine Canadian whiskey brought in by rumrunners, sometimes assisted by the Coast Guard.”

For more information, contact the Central U.P. and NMU Archives at 227-1225.