Betty Beeby Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection also consists of Norton Pearl’s school and military papers. This includes Central Normal School yearbooks, schedules, and social papers (including the Phi Delta Pi fraternity). There are several books and pamphlets on health education. Norton’s military papers include 32nd Division correspondence, sports schedules, and burial reports.
- Pearl, Norton, 1878-1960 (Person)
John Wesley Pearl
Norton attended Central State Normal School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan to train as a physical education teacher. During his two years there, he partnered with Loran Post and they became known as “Ike (Norton) and Spike (Loran).” They ran the Mount Pleasant Boarding House “Post House,” from 1902 to 1906. For the first two years, they sold board for $1.25 a week which included three meals a day, seven days a week. In the spring of 1904, Ike and Spike traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to work as a guide. They returned to Michigan in November, 1904 and graduated from Central State Normal in 1906.
From 1906-1907, Norton served as principal at the Bay City School in Bay City, Michigan. In 1910, he was appointed principal of McKinley Public School in Butte, Montana for $1,390 a year. In 1912, Superintendent James Galen hired Norton to patrol the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. Pearl recounts his patrol at the Two Medicine Lake Ranger Station in his 1910-1913 diaries included in the collection. In one of his diary entries, Norton recalls the death of ranger Joe Prince, who froze to death on a trip with Pearl from the Early Cut Bank Ranger Station to St. Mary, Montana in 1913. Prince was found frozen with his gloves off, still loading his pipe. Granddaughter Leslie Lee (daughter of Jane), published a book in 1994 about his adventures entitled Backcountry Ranger in Glacier National Park 1910-1913: The Diaries and Photographs of Norton Pearl. Norton was later appointed assistant supervisor of physical education in Detroit Public School in 1914 and founded the Inter-School Athletic Association. The U.S. government wanted an athletic officer with each army division, and Norton was appointed athletic director at Camp MacArthur in Waco, Texas. He was in charge of the Thirty-Second Division’s football team, which he later brought to Detroit to play. After being officially enrolled in the army, Norton was promoted to Captain. In 1918, after the casualties of the battle of Château-Thierry, Captain Norton was named Burial Officer for his Division. He was later appointed Moral Officer at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, where he met his future wife and helped entertain wounded men.
In 1921, Captain Norton and Captain H.E. Brown published the book Health by Stunts. This book is an investigation of Detroit Public Schools in order to create an athletic program that boys would like and would help develop their skills. According to the book, “old stunts and contests were not only not participated in but were almost entirely forgotten. Boys are spending 2-3 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week at picture shows or other passive entertainment. They were not taking part in anything athletic.” Norton died in 1960 and is buried with Dorothy in Lakeview Cemetery in Eastport, Michigan.
Years later, Dorothy was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for her work with French orphans after World War II. In 1946, Dorothy was the first woman from Michigan to be elected president of American Legion Auxiliary Legion. In 1946, she founded the Girl’s State and Girl’s Nation Programs of the American Legion. This summer program still teaches high school students how state government works by creating and running their own government. At the end of the summer, two girls from each state program are selected for “Girl’s Nation,” to form a mock national government. Dorothy Pearl died in 1991 at the age of 95.
Betty (Pearl) Beeby
In 1973, Betty discovered the Peterboro letters in the loft of her grandfather’s barn in Eastport, Michigan. The letters were written by Minnie Griffin in the early 1900s to her son, Loran Post. After many years of research, Betty learned that Minnie’s parents died when she was 15. At age 17, she gave birth to Loran and was forced to give up the baby. She was told that her son had died when he was two weeks old. When Loran’s foster mother told him he was adopted, he began searching for his real mother. On July 16, 1904, Loran found Minnie and they decided to meet. In 1988, Betty and composer Lynne Palmer used the letters to create “The Peterboro Letters” concert and ballet.
James Addison Beeby
88 boxes : 43.75 cubic feet and made up of 88 boxes
Language of Materials
The majority of the collection seems to be in fairly good condition. Many of the letters are yellowing and missing envelopes, but are in stable condition. The Beeby family scrapbooks are extremely fragile and should be handled with care. Photocopies of some Norton Pearl and Loran Post correspondence has been kept to preserve envelopes that are missing from the originals.
- Autograph albums
- Beebe family
- Finch family
- Fitch, Asa
- Graves, Henry S.
- Pearl family
- Personal correspondence
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 118th (1862-1865). Company B
- United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 118th (1862-1865). Company E
- Waite family
- Waite, Preserved
- family papers
- genealogical tables
- Betty Beeby Collection Finding Aid
- Devin Erlandson and Katie Jones
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository
Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US