Preserving Michigan's Literary Heritage
The Michigan Center for the Book works with local groups and Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) to designate Michigan Literary Landmarks in order to encourage the preservation of historic literary sites in Michigan. The Center will consider providing funding for local Literary Landmark programs that follow ALTAFF's guidelines. Please see ALTAFF's Literary Landmark site and Fact Sheet for more information.
Verna Aardema Vugteveen is an internationally known author of over thirty children's books, most of them African folk tales. Her books have received numerous awards, including the Caldecott Medal for Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears. They have been published in a number of languages, made into films, and recorded by James Earl Jones, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and others. Verna Aardema was born in New Era, Michigan. Hackley Public Library was dedicated as a Literary Landmark for her on June 12, 2012. This honor is based on the library's relationship with her.
Michigan's 6th Literary Landmark is for award-winning and much loved children's author and illustrator Marguerite deAngeli. The Lapeer District Library, the Friends of the Marguerite deAngeli Branch, the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Center for the Book dedicated the landmark on August 22, 2010 at the Marguerite deAngeli Branch Library. Ms. deAngeli was born in Lapeer in 1889 and won the prestigious Newberry Medal in 1950 for The Door in the Wall. A prolific writer and illustrator of books for children and adults, Marguerite is especially known in Michigan for her story of her father's childhood in Lapeer, Copper-Toed Boots.
Charles Waddell Chesnutt, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston
The 2008 Literary Landmark is for the famous Idlewild residents and vacationers Charles Waddell Chesnutt, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. The landmark was dedicated on August 16, 2008 and is it at the Idlewild Public Library. The event and landmark highlight the role of African-American literature in the early 20th century and Idlewild as a place where these writers could flourish. Please see the Idlewild Literary Heritage brochure for more information.
The 2006 Michigan Literary Landmark is for James Curwood. It was designated on June 1, 2006 at the Curwood Castle in Owosso, his birthplace and later home. Curwood Castle is the writing studio he built along the banks of the Shiawassee River. The Landmark recognizes the popularity of Curwood's wilderness adventure novels, many of which were made into feature films, and the role he played in the early Michigan conservation movement.
The 2004 Michigan Literary Landmark was designated on September 29, 2004 at the Theodore Roethke House in Saginaw, the boyhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Saginaw native Theodore Roethke. The Landmark recognizes the profound impact Roethke had on American poetry and the influence his home had on his writing. In addition to receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 1954 for The Waking, Roethke was the recipient of an array of honors for his poetry, including two National Book Awards and the Bollingen Prize.
John Voelker a.k.a. Robert Traver
The 2002 Michigan Literary Landmark was designated on June 30, 2002 at the Marquette County Courthouse. It celebrates Robert Traver, the pen name of Judge John Donaldson Voelker. Voelker was the author of Anatomy of a Murder, among many other works, and a Michigan Supreme Court judge. The Marquette area was the location of Voelker's legal practice and the courthouse was the site of the courtroom scenes in the movie version of Anatomy of a Murder.
The 2001 Michigan Literary Landmark was designated on May 22, 2001 in the McNichols Campus Library on the University of Detroit Mercy campus. It celebrates the poet, publisher and librarian Dudley Randall of Detroit. Randall founded the Broadside Press and was instrumental in many African-American poets' careers. He was also a long time librarian and educator at the University of Detroit Mercy.