Contact Information:

Contact Information:

(586) 801-6199

Bill Christen


Bill and his wife, Glenna Jo, live in Chelsea, Michigan.  They have two grown children and four grandchildren.  They are members of the Chelsea Area Historical Society and the Michigan Photographic Historical Society.

Bill was an automotive engineer for General Motors for thirty-seven years before taking early retirement in 2002.  He received a degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and attended the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, studying industrial design and fine arts.  After retirement, he taught as a substitute teacher in the Warren Consolidated Schools for ten years.

Bill, with Glenna Jo’s assistance, wrote a biography of Pauline Cushman, a nineteenth-century actress and a Civil War spy in Middle Tennessee.  The book, Pauline Cushman: Spy of the Cumberland, was published in 2009 by Edinborough Press.  Together they cataloged all the known imaged of Cushman—about eighty.

Over thirty-five years ago Bill began researching and collecting men’s clothing (1850–75) while building a civilian’s wardrobe for living history and (re)enactment events.  Glenna Jo, who is also a nineteenth-century historian, and Bill have assembled a modest collection of original garments and a large collection of period photographs for their own research. They make their collection available for others to study.  Both of them have worked with independent film companies making documentaries and other films about the Civil War.

Bill has an interest in several Civil War regiments. One, in particular, the Seventeenth Michigan Infantry, has been the focus of thirty-five years of ongoing research and writing. Several years ago he and Glenna Jo cataloged, transcribed, and annotated a collection of five hundred documents and a dozen diaries belonging to a Connecticut family having three of its five sons in several Connecticut units. He also has an interest in the US Navy during World War I as his grandfather served on the battleship USS Indiana.

The first photo in his collection was an 1880s copy CdV of John Wilkes Booth that he found in a family atlas as a teenager.  He has been a member of the MiPHS Board of Directors since 2015.


Nick Valenti

Vice-President Communication

Nick Valenti earned a BFA degree in ART/Photography in 1980 and a MA degree in ART/Photography from Wayne State University in 1984.  He began his teaching career at Oakland Community College as an adjunct instructor in 1983.  In 1996, Nick became a full-time Faculty member at Oakland Community College in both analog and digital photography.  In 1995, he introduced the first digital imaging courses to the curriculum at OCC.  He enjoys teaching a wide range of courses in wet-lab (darkroom), digital imaging, studio practices, history of photography, and art appreciation.  In 1998, Nick installed one of the few permanent Camera Obscuras in Michigan, turning his classroom into a teaching tool for optics and the invention of photography.  In addition to his teaching, he serves as Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills and serves as a Board Member of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society.

An avid collector of over 1,200 books on photography, Nick's interest in image-making spans the range from street photography to landscape and documentary photography utilizing analog formats from 35mm up to 5” x 7” in addition to panoramic cameras.  Among his favorite photographers are Eugène Atget, Gordon Parks, and Detroit native Harry Callahan.

In addition to his career in photography at OCC, Nick has coached Novi HS and the OCC Soccer Club and taught credit courses in Fencing (Foil, Épée, and Sabre), earning the USFCA level of Moniteur de Fleuret in Foil (2011).  Nick lives in Northville with wife Marsha, sons Jack and Audie, and dog Apollo.

Nick Valenti Bio Image (Alt D2L)

Contact Information:

(248) 701-6425