Beginning in 1915, Helen Collar spent every summer on Beaver Island,
which is located in Lake Michigan approximately 30 miles from the
Michigan shoreline. In the late
1940s she began researching the Island's history. Over the next fifty
years she continued her project, using research in records as well as
conversation with Island residents to amass a trove of information.
After Ms. Collar's death in 1996, her research material was donated by
her family to the Clarke Historical Library.
With the assistance of Ms. Collar's family the Clarke Historical
Library has been able to transcribe from Ms. Collar's handwritten, five
by eight inch, note cards approximately 1,000 typed pages of data.
This information is divided into four sections. Biographical cards,
which is the largest group of material, are arranged alphabetically by
family surname and represent information gathered from various sources.
Church record cards and census record cards represent information
gleaned from either the records of Island churches or the federal
census. The subject cards represent material about Beaver Island Ms.
Collar found and transcribed from a wide variety of secondary sources.
Although there is some information in Ms. Collar's notes
regarding the Mormons who resided on Beaver Island during the
nineteenth century, the vast majority of the information collected and
preserved by Ms. Collar documented the Irish community on the Island.
The Clarke Historical Library is very pleased to be able to preserve
Ms. Collar's original notes and to make the information she so lovingly
collected available on the web.