by Laura Bien
One highlight of the U-M Graduate Library's absorbing transportation exhibition is a slender, pocket-size 1913 directory that lists all of the few owned cars in Michigan — "a combination social register and advertising tool," notes the exhibition catalog. The directory page on display reveals that about half of the cars are Fords, with the remainder divided among a wide variety of other car companies, including such forgotten brands as Nyberg, Babcock, Streator, Chalmers, and Krit. The list also shows that one person on the page owned two vehicles, a Cadillac and a car from a Kalamazoo company called "Michigan Buggy." This was Kalamazoo resident (and U-M alum) W. E. Upjohn, founder of what was originally called the "Upjohn Pill and Granule Company." Nearby, a letter in the Michigan Central Railroad's letterbook — a scrapbook of correspondence to the company — contains a request from a parent of two boys killed by the railroad:
Bedford, Indiana, Jan. 25, 1863
I had the misfortune about 2 years ago to lose two children on the railroad, one a child of 3 years old was killed at Michigan City, the other, a young man of 21, was a brakeman on the Road and was killed at this place. I have frequently been advised by professional men to sue the company for damages but have no wish or desire to do so, but I think it not amiss for me to apply for an occasional free pass on the RR. Myself and family wished to visit some friends in Jackson, Michigan. We have received a free pass as far as Lafaette, which (station) application on representation of the circumstances has been freely granted us. If you will grant us a pass from Lafaette to Jackson we shall be much obliged. For proof of what I have stated I can refer you to the Robberts, and others at Michigan City.
Instead of immediately granting
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