Dustin, Fred, 1866-

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American author and historian.

From the description of The Custer tragedy : events leading up to and following the Litte Big Horn Campaign of 1876, 1939. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122653044


From the guide to the Charles Kuhlman collection on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1933-1959, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Saginaw, Michigan, building contractor, deputy state oil inspector, 1903-1905, archeological surveyor and writer on Michigan archeology and Indian history.

From the description of Fred Dustin papers, 1886-1957. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34423052

Dustin, noted Saginaw (Mich.) historian was born at Glen Falls (N.Y.) as Frederick Greene O'Donnel, on Oct. 12, 1865. Due to his mother's death when he was 17 months old, he was raised by an aunt and uncle, Sarah and Ira M.W. Dustin. He moved with them around New York (State) and was educated through the eighth grade. In 1887 he moved to Saginaw (Mich.). He held a wide variety of jobs. He built small houses, sold washing machines, worked in the lumber business, as a census ward enumerator, a postal carrier, oil inspector, shipbuilding plant manager, custodian, and book seller. Through the years he suffered from a variety of painful and debilitating illnesses which caused him to incur great financial debts. He worked in 1929 and 1930 as a special agent for the University of Michigan to make archaeological surveys and reports of Isle Royale. Later, the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield (Mich.) employed him to examine and report on prehistoric earthworks in Ogemaw County (Mich.). He researched and wrote many books on Saginaw history, Native Americans, Gen. George Armstrong Custer, Michigan's prehistory, and Michigan archaeology. His collection of prehistoric artifacts is housed in the University of Michigan, from which he received the U of M Regents' Citation of Honor in 1955 for his outstanding work as a historian and an archaeologist. He married Mary A. Stoker in Nov. 1888. He died a month after suffering a stroke at the age of 90 on May 15, 1957, in Saginaw.

From the description of Papers, 1807,1957. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 40166358

Fred Dustin was born Frederick Greene O'Donnell on October 12, 1866, in Glens Falls, New York. After his mother died while he was still an infant, he was raised by his aunt and uncle, Sarah and Ira Dustin, and took their last name. He attended school through the eighth grade, then began working, taking jobs in sawmills and lumberyards.

In 1887, Dustin moved to Saginaw, Michigan. After several years working in various jobs in the lumber industry, Dustin started his own carpentry business in 1890, building small items such as a hand washing machine called the Florin Washer. This business lasted until about 1900. From then on, Dustin tried his hand at a number of different types of employment, including stints as a census taker, mail carrier, weigh boss at a coal mine, building contractor, deputy state oil inspector, employment manager for a shipping plant, and Masonic Temple custodian. In his later years he ran a small bookshop out of his home and authored a book on General George Custer, The Custer Tragedy, that was published in 1939. Health problems made regular employment difficult, but Dustin remained active most of his life.

Dustin had a great interest in the archaeology of Michigan. He began collecting Native American artifacts around 1903 and continued for the rest of his life, amassing over 10,000 pieces. Most of his collection was eventually donated to the University of Michigan's Museum of Anthropology. In 1929, he was appointed by the university to make an archaeological survey of Isle Royale; the work lasted about seven weeks, followed up with a four-week return visit in 1930. In 1931, the Cranbrook Institute hired Dustin to survey the prehistoric earthworks in Ogemaw County, Michigan. He also served as W.B. Hinsdale's assistant in the compilation of the Archaeological Atlas of Michigan, published in 1931.

Dustin was a charter member of the Michigan Archaeological Society and served a term as its vice president. He also published a number of articles on Saginaw archaeology and history in local newspapers in the hopes of generating interest in establishing a historical museum. In 1955, the Regents of the University of Michigan conferred a Citation of Honor upon Dustin for his contributions to the archaeology and history of the state.

Dustin married Mary Stoker in 1888. Dustin died on May 15, 1957, in Saginaw, Michigan.

From the guide to the Fred Dustin papers, 1866-1975, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn William J. Ghent Papers, 1876-1942, (bulk 1902-1942) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Dustin, Fred, 1866-. Custer's Last Battle /by Fred Dustin. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Charles Kuhlman collection on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1933-1959 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Kuhlman, Charles, 1878-1959. Charles Kuhlman collection on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1933-1959. Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf Fred Dustin papers, 1866-1975 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Dustin, Fred, 1866-. Fred Dustin papers, 1886-1957. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Dustin, Fred, 1866-. Papers, 1807,1957. Clarke Historical Library
creatorOf Dustin, Fred, 1866-. The Custer tragedy : events leading up to and following the Litte Big Horn Campaign of 1876, 1939. Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf Breihan, Carl W., 1915-. George A. Custer collection, 1864, 2003. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn Ghent, William J. (William James), 1866-1942. Papers of William J. Ghent, 1876-1942. Library of Congress
referencedIn Ellison, Robert Spurrier. Papers, 1833-1951. Harold B. Lee Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Saginaw (Mich.)
Saginaw (Mich.)
Isle Royale (Mich.)
Ogemaw County (Mich.)
Isle Royale (Mich.)
Saginaw County (Mich.)
Saginaw (Mich.)
Isle Royale (Mich.)
Saginaw County (Mich.)
Ogemaw County (Mich.)
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Mont.)
Indians of North America
Indians of North America
Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876
Living rooms
Business enterprises


Birth 1866-10-12

Death 1957-05-15


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