In Memoriam: M. Cecil Mackey (1929-2018)

14 02 2018

MSU President Emeritus M. Cecil Mackey passed away on February 8, 2018 at the age of 89.  Mackey served as president of MSU from 1979 to 1985.

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MSU President Cecil Mackey holding a Spartan S flag in September 1979.  Photo source: UA 8.1.1, Box 2712, Folder 6.

Maurice Cecil Mackey was born January 23, 1929 in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1949, he received his B.A. in economics from the University of Alabama and went on to receive an M.A. in economics in 1953.  In that same year, he married Clare Siewert.  In 1955, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois, where he focused on economic theory, the history of economic thought, and the relationship of government to business and finance.

In 1956, Mackey was on active duty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Denver. He served as an associate professor of economics and worked on the economics curriculum.  In 1957, he was a lecturer of business law at the University of Alabama.  A year later, he received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alabama.  In 1958, Mackey was admitted to the State Bar of Alabama and began studying law at the graduate level at Harvard University.  From 1959 to 1962, he was an assistant law professor at University of Alabama.

In 1962, Mackey became Assistant Counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly.  In 1963, he became the director of the Office of Policy and Development for the Federal Aviation Agency.  There he was in charge of long-range planning and economic research.  In 1965, he became the director of the Office of Transportation Policy for the U.S. Department of Commerce and developed programs and policies for transportation systems.

Mackey became Assistant Secretary for Policy and Development for the Department of Transportation in 1967.  He planned policies, programs as well as worked on regulation.  In 1969, Mackey was a visiting professor at the University of Maryland College of Business and Public Administration.  He then went on to become a Professor of Law at Florida State University from 1969 to 1971.  From 1971 to 1976, he served as the President of the University of South Florida.  In 1976, he became President of Texas Tech University as well as a Professor of Law.

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President Cecil Mackey sitting at the boardroom table in the Hannah Administration Building. Photo source: UA 8.1.1, Box 2712, Folder 8.

On August 3, 1979, Mackey was inaugurated as President of Michigan State University.  He served as President until 1985.  After serving as president, Mackey continued to teach economics at MSU.

Rest in Peace President Mackey.

Information about memorial services and giving can be found on the MSU Today website: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/maurice-cecil-mackey-jr-msus-16th-president-dies/

 

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Announcement from the Michigan Archival Association: 2018 Marilyn McNitt Memorial Scholarship

5 02 2018

The Marilyn McNitt Memorial Scholarship funds a student to attend the 2018 Michigan Archival Association Annual Meeting to be held in Bay City, Michigan, June 14-15, 2018. The scholarship covers lodging for two nights and conference registration. The recipient will also receive a $250 stipend for travel costs and a one-year membership to MAA. In addition, the scholarship winner will be invited to write an article for the MAA newsletter, Open Entry, about the conference experience.

The scholarship is open to graduate students in an archival science program or related field. To apply, please submit a completed application form (MS Word .docx format) and application statement to Brian Wilson at brianw@thehenryford.orgThe deadline for applications is April 1, 2018.

Marilyn McNitt was an archivist at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library for twenty-five years. Her commitment to researchers and students was an inspiration to fellow MAA members. The scholarship honors her years of dedication and service to MAA.





An M. A. C. Legacy, Part 1: Emory Crocker

22 01 2018

America entered into World War I on April 6, 1917 and put out the call for young men to join in the fight. Michigan Agricultural College, later to be known as Michigan State University, answered this call with its own students. Of those many, three in particular stand out: the Crocker siblings. Thanks to a collection housed in the MSU Archives building and the correspondence between these three, Mary, Emory, and Martin, we are given a unique look into the life of M.A.C. students: those who stayed and those who went “over there.”

Emory Crocker

Yearbook Photo of Emory Crocker from The Wolverine, 1917

Emory Crocker, Class of 1917, was a forestry student. Before he began his war service with the National Guard, his career at M. A. C., according to his letters to Mary, was predictable. He wrote of playing football, going on hikes with friends, and asking if Mary could “get me a girl for the Forester’s Party?…Tell her I am not the best dancer in the world but will try and not make life too miserable.” During his participation in the forestry program, he spent one summer studying “the mammoth maple, gray and rock elm, birch and black ash trees” with other young men who at the time were simply students taking classes and learning their future profession. Among this group were others who would join Emory in the war: Sueldon B. Lee, H. N. Putnam, J. E. Foess, Roger W. Billings, Harold A. Clementsen, B. M. McClure, and Cosmer Magnus Leveaux, all with the Class of 1917. Leveaux and Emory were soldiers with Battery A, 119th Field Division, and Leveaux would lose his life on August 10, 1918, fighting “north of Chateau Thiery [sic].”[3]

The letters from Emory to his family start on October 8, 1917 when he was stationed in Waco, Texas. He mostly tells his family of camp goings-on, the people he met, and contagion scares and quarantines. On December 29, 1917, he wrote to tell his parents what Christmas in the military looked like:

“I got more this year for Xmas than I ever got before… I have got all kinds of knitted socks, toilet soap, tooth paste [sic] [,] wristletts [sic], trench caps, candy, tobacco, talcum pow[d]er, handkerchiefs and other things too numerous to mention. The box I got from the Lansing Red Cross was the best. There was even a gem safety razer [sic] in it. I will need every thing [sic] when we get in France I guess.”

Emory’s Christmas in the armed forces included packages from different Red Cross organizations and women who made knitted things to contribute to the war effort outside of his hometown, but he also received gifts from his family, such as “two packages…and a box of cake.” While this time was enjoyable, it was temporary, and a later line in his letter hints to the grueling hours of work: “I simply haven’t had time for nearly two weeks to do much writting [sic]. A man has mighty little time to himself in the army.”

Emory also talks mentions different attitudes that he and other soldiers had during their training: “I hear that every body [sic] that can is flocking to the Quarter Master [sic] Corps and the Ordinance [sic] Corps up North. I don’t blame them.  It is only natural that the majority would try to get in the safest place they could.” Besides the normal fears of the battlefield, Emory also had to face the technological advances that this war presented. The military began using vehicles, and this was daunting and unfamiliar: “Where I am out of luck in this war is that I know nothing at all about motors…. They have taken our horses and are going to replace them by motor trucks and motorcycles and automobiles. I am out of date in this war.” And of course, soldiers understood the military’s censorship rules.  “Don’t publish or talk to any one [sic] about what I write,”

Censorship approval Emory Crocker

Censor Signature of Approval, From Mary Crocker Collection, Box FD, Folder 4

Emory wrote to his mother. “There are strict orders out forbidding soldiers writting [sic] to news papers [sic] without just having the letters censored…. If any uncensored letters are published some one [sic] is going to get it. Of course that will be the soldier.”  While he understood what was at stake, he needed to make the rest of his family aware for his sake. Overall, Emory’s letters show how much war would change and shake up the life of a soldier as well as his family.

In addition to having to train and carry the responsibilities of a soldier at war, he also had to fight a battle with a less visible opponent: disease. Even though influenza is the best recognized illness during this era, other diseases plagued soldiers. In his first letter from Waco, dated October 8, 1917, Emory revealed that his camp was “quarantined with diphtheria” and that “there are a couple of cases now.” A few days later, he writes again, including a sarcastic comment to the perceived overreaction: “Well, we are quarantined to our Battery street. They say we have diphtheria. That is a couple of the men have sore throats so it must be diphtheria you see.” It only took a couple of days for his irritation to set in. He would be released only to be hospitalized again two months later with pneumonia. However, he was more worried about being left behind than succumbing to illness: “It was only a little touch….I only hope the battery doesn’t leave before I get out.” He was going to make sure that when his unit left, he would be with them. About a month later, his unit was scheduled to leave for Camp Merritt, New Jersey. Shortly before they left, he was still in the hospital, but “I argued with them so much that they let me out.”

It wasn’t all bad, however. Emory did also talk about running into people from M. A. C. fairly regularly, and how excited both parties were to see each other:

“I got a surprise the other night. Some one [sic] called me and I stepped outside of the tent and met Bill Anderson,… who graduated with ‘17.  He was shipped down with a bunch from Custer. He certainly was a tickeled [sic] fellow to see some one [sic] he knew….He didn’t know whether he would see anything of us down here and he was sore as the dickens because he didn’t say he wanted to be in the artillery when he first came. I never saw a fellow who was so tickled to see some one [sic] he knew as Bill was…. I took him over to Lt. Donelley and Donelley who knew Bill well in school is going to get him transfered [sic]. Bill Told me all the M.A.C. news from Custer. Harry Stewart is also down here in the 126th. He was another tickled kid to see someone he knew.”

Emory’s letters from France provide possibly the richest and most revealing chronicles of the entire collection of his writings. He started to share more with his family about what he did as a soldier. His new experiences were more richly detailed, starting with his training: “We get a lot of drill with gas masks. They say there isn’t any excuse of a man being gassed if he does as told.” Gas warfare was new in the Great War, and soldiers prepared for encountering clouds of different types of gases.

Gas Mask Museum

Gas mask used by soldiers during WWI with carrying bag, from the Michigan State University Museum Cultural Collections)

What Emory would be most recognized for was his work as a gunner: “I never worked on a gun squad until we came here except now and then an occassional [sic] drill. I was never very close to one when they were firing. The first few times out the firing gave me an awful headache but it doesn’t effect [sic] me at all now.” His work as a gunner became a point of pride as his Battery was the first from Lansing to fire on the Germans. In a newspaper article saved by Mary in her scrapbook, Emory is listed as the gunner, and the shells from the first two shots were “sent back home by Major Amos Ashley” and were “on exhibit in the window of Hurd’s Men’s Shop on south Washington avenue near Washtenaw street.”

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Emory Crocker (left) on a gun with another soldier (unknown), from the Mary Crocker Collection, Scrapbook

At this point, Emory’s written trepidation of fighting was gone and replaced with bravado. Emory tells Mary that “I am a gunner and believe me I am going to have the sights of that gun right where they ought to be. I am going to make it a personal grudge.” He also wrote his parents about getting ready to go to the front, saying, “I hope our next shots will be fired towards the Dutchmen.” He would get his wish on June 12, 1918:

“We came to the front several days ago and have seen some hot stuff on two or three occassions [sic]. Yesterday morning the Hun gave it to us for about three hours in good style and then kept up a harassing fire throughout the day. No one in the battery was hurt. The Hun isn’t the only one who has been doing the firing. Up to yesterday morning we have bothered him continually; firing about three times as many shells as he did. Yesterday morning our infantry broke up a nice little party the Hun was figuring on and he got sore and gave it to us….I enjoy the honor of being with one of the two guns that were the first of our regiment to fire at the German. They tell us those first rounds done business too.”

Letter Emory Crocker

Letter From Emory Crocker to Mary, From Mary Crocker Collection, Box FD, Folder 4

Emory’s retelling of his first battle at the front reads as an exciting tale and, for him in that first battle, it was. There were no casualties, and he got to shoot at the enemy just like what he “thought we would be doing…when I enlisted.” However, it is important to pause and consider what these letters would have meant to those at home who had never experienced the kind of technology this war had introduced. If Emory was experiencing new and overwhelming technologies first hand, these revelations read by friends and family through letters must have seemed particularly alien—and frightening—in  nature.

Emory’s letters to his family offers a unique and personal look at what American, and specifically M. A. C., soldiers experienced in France and how they communicated that to their families back home. With varying levels of fear and boldness intermingled with touching, personal moments, Emory describes his experiences in Waco, New Jersey, and France in a way that is deeply appreciated by the people wishing to understand more about this crucial moment in history.

Bibliography:

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 8 January 1916, Box FD, Folder 1, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Mary Crocker Scrapbook, n. d., Scrapbook #244, Boutell Mary Crocker, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

“Cosmer Leveaux With ‘18,” From The M.A.C. Record, 30 September 1918,  M.A.C. Record digital collection, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 29 December 1917, Box FD, Folder 2, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 13 January 1918, Box FD, Folder 2, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 8 October 1917, Box FD, Folder 2, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 13 October 1917, Box FD, Folder 2, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 28 January 1918, Box FD, Folder 2, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 14 February 1918, Box FD, Folder 3, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 19 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 4, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 23 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 4, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 20 June 1918, Box FD, Folder 4, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 27 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 4, Boutell  Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Written by Catharine Neely, intern for MSU Archives & MSU Museum





Upcoming SAA Workshops hosted by MSU Archives

22 01 2018

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections is hosting four Society of American Archivists Workshops this spring.  The classes we will be offering are:

Implementing “More Product, Less Process” [A&D] – March 5, 2018

Arranging and Describing Photographs [A&D] – April 30, 2018

Arrangement and Description of Audiovisual Materials [A&D] – May 1, 2018

Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP [DAS] – June 1, 2018

All of the workshops are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and will be held in the MSU Administration Building (426 Auditorium Rd) on the fourth floor, Room 443.  Parking is available nearby in visitor/commuter lots at Spartan Stadium.  Campus maps, with details of parking lot options, are available online.

Snacks and beverages will be provided in the morning and afternoon.  Lunch will be on your own.  There are many dining options available near the MSU Administration Building.

Lodging is available at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, https://kelloggcenter.com/, located on campus, or there are other local hotels.

To learn more about the classes or to register, please follow the links provided below.

Implementing “More Product, Less Process” [A&D] – March 5, 2018

https://saa.archivists.org/events/implementing-more-product-less-process-1888/860/

Arranging and Describing Photographs [A&D] – April 30, 2018

https://saa.archivists.org/events/arranging-and-describing-photographs-1890/871/

 Arrangement and Description of Audiovisual Materials [A&D] – May 1, 2018

https://saa.archivists.org/events/arrangement-and-description-of-audiovisual-materials-1889/870/

Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP [DAS] – June 1, 2018

https://saa.archivists.org/events/tool-integration-from-pre-sip-to-dip-18a2/875/

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the MSU Archives: http://archives.msu.edu/about/contact.php?about_contact.





M.A.C. Goes to War – Carl F. Miller

30 11 2017
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Lt. Carl F. Miller, circa 1917

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war against Germany. At that time, my grandfather, Carl F. Miller, was a student at the Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.) in East Lansing studying engineering. He was also active in campus activities including varsity and intramural sports, the Varsity S Club and the Eclectic Society. (The Eclectic Society became Alpha Tau Omega in 1940.)

Carl was born in 1894 in Saginaw, Michigan to William and Bertha (Meyer) Miller and he attended Saginaw schools. He graduated from Saginaw High School in 1913 and entered M.A.C. as a freshman in 1914 as part of the class of 1918. As a sophomore, he was a member of the M.A.C. varsity basketball team for the 1915-16 season. Coach John Macklin led the team that year. Carl’s brother, Oscar (aka Dutch) Miller, class of 1915, was an assistant coach, and Spartan notable, Lyman Frimodig, was the captain of the team. The team had a record of nine wins and seven losses.

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Group photo, possibly of the Varsity S Club, circa 1915-1916

It was during Carl’s junior year that the call to arms came. At this time, military training was required for all male students. His registration card shows that he participated in the military exercises at M.A.C. for 3 years and attended R.O.T.C at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

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Carl F. Miller’s registration card

In 1915, Major General Leonard Wood commissioned Fort Sheridan as the site of the nation’s first Reserved Officer Training Camp (ROTC). When the U.S. entered the war, Fort Sheridan was adapted to model the situation in Europe with trenches to simulate the battlefield in Europe. Fort Sheridan became the induction and training site for the Midwest states of Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

On August 15, 1917, Carl was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  It was during this month that Ft. Custer in Michigan was opened and became the home of the 85th Division which included the 338th Infantry Regiment. He was assigned to this regiment for the duration of the war. The regiment trained at Ft. Custer for a year and deployed to France in 1918. Carl was promoted to First Lieutenant on September 28, 1918. The 85th division did not deploy together; the regiments were used to reinforce existing positions.

The 338th primarily performed a defensive mission while in France. His military record shows that his regiment participated in operations as part of the Second Army between the Meuse and Moselle Rivers between November 9 – 11. This was the Third Phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The Second Army, led by Lieutenant General Robert L. Bullard, was directed to move eastward towards the city of Metz. News of the German Government surrender on November 11, 1918 halted the offensive.

Discharge

Carl returned home and was honorably discharged April 29, 1919 at Ft. Custer, Michigan. He re-enrolled at M.A.C. and completed his degree in Civil Engineering as part of the class of 1920. The 1920 Wolverine yearbook lists his nickname as “Frenchy” and identifies him as a member of the Eclectic Society and the ’18 Club.

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Senior year photo, 1920

Following graduation, he was hired by the City of Saginaw as a civil engineer and remained there his entire career. He married in 1922 to Gertrude McGavock and they had three sons and a daughter. He became the City Assessor of Saginaw in 1944.  During WWII, he was the administrator of Saginaw’s War Transportation Conservation Commission. He retired in 1961.

KrohnMunnDaughertyMiller

Biggie Munn shaking hand of Carl Miller, chairman of the newly created O.R. (Dutch) Miller scholarship board. Also in the photo are Jim Krohn (retiring MSU club president) and Duffy Daugherty.

Carl was a lifelong Spartan serving as president of the Saginaw Chapter of the Alumni Association. Many of his grandchildren and great grandchildren have attended MSU.

Carl F. Miller died April 23, 1967.

Written by Ed Busch, electronic records archivist

 

Sources:

http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/2ndarmy.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meuse-Argonne_Offensive

Saginaw News clippings

Personal files

Alumni Magazine, March 1954

 





The Reality of World War I

9 11 2017

I was excited to start writing biographies for World War I fallen soldiers who attended the college that would become Michigan State University.  As a new historian who finally had the opportunity to do the kind of research I’d fantasized about since changing my major, I was given a stack of death certificates and was ecstatic.  At the time, my perception of the thick manila folders handed to me was clinical and academic: I was truly doing raw research.

Death is no stranger to me as a resident of the digital world, which is used to senselessly and insensitively overshare anything that will garner attention and interactions.  I have seen videos of people being shot and bleeding, photos of executions from across the planet, and I daily prepare myself to see footage of someone being beaten, either by an individual or an unfairly massed group: I am desensitized.  After compartmentalizing so many visual acts of obscene violence, how could an innocuous document do anything to me emotionally?  With so much time having passed between the World War and now, how could I be moved emotionally?  I would be an unaffected researcher and reporter. I started by making a list of those that had died.  I saw the names, Bauer, Laurence J.; Halbert, Earl, but even those were nothing more than gathered data, waiting to be sorted and notated.  Once I had compiled a list of the names, I went through the death certificates in the University Archives, and the losses quickly became anything but distant.

In the first World War, 1,225 Michigan Agricultural College students and graduates joined the armed forces to fight, and 48 of them lost their lives.[1]  These numbers are both disconcerting and familiar.  All wars have an assumed loss of life, and the numbers themselves convey the losses experienced in an accurate but detached way.  They are numbers; large or small, there is not much more to them than the quantitative values that are being communicated. Grouping together the dead into a total value says something about how many were killed in war, but it leaves out what is now missing in the world and the deep effect it has.

My biases towards the culture during WWI set me up for my first shock.  I had a prejudice that in 1917, everyone would get married at 18, 19, 20 years old, so I expected to see “wife” next to “relationship” in the listed contact on the death certificates.  I didn’t: I saw parents.  Page after page, I saw “relationship: mother” and “relationship: father” next to a name of who was to be notified of this individual’s death.  I went back and started paying particular attention to the ages that were listed and saw 20, 21, and 24.  It dawned on me that these people were truly children.  I suppose the label of grownup or adult would have made their deaths more easy to swallow, and being married would have helped endow those labels.  Instead, I had to accept the bare realization that they weren’t married and most of them were younger than me.  They served and died as children.

After that, I started to see other connections that made them closer to me and not just names on a plaque or numbers in a statistic. I perceived the documents I was reading as a connection to a person who had lived.  I started paying closer attention to the little details I was given in these single sheets of paper, some filled out thoroughly, others missing most of the information, even the date of death.  I saw that an Olin Hinkle had died, and I thought of the Hinkle who was in the dorm next to mine.  I saw the name Granger, and thought of a younger Granger I went to high school with.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they were related to each other; Michigan people tend to stick close to home.  I saw that Irving Hill, who died of a skull fracture in Germany, was born in Shiawassee county, lived in Owosso and was inducted at Corunna.[2]  I grew up in Genesee county, which is directly next to Shiawassee county, and faced Owosso and Corunna High School teams in swim and track meets.  The geography of my life growing up directly overlapped with this young man.  We grew up in neighboring cities and towns and chose to attend the same college one hundred years apart from each other.  He was 29 years old when he died, which is the age that I am as I discover him and all of our uncanny connections.

The most surreal moment for me that made all of this real was when I was compiling names of service members from the first collection published by the MAC Record.  The first death of a MAC alumnus was on February 6, 1918, and the edition I was reading was published on September 14, 1917, so I was mentally focused on the living.  There was so much to record and sift through, and I found a rhythm that allowed my mind to drift a little.  Then I typed in the name Churchill and was alerted that this information was repeated somewhere in my document.  Google spreadsheets, ever helpful, offered to fill in the repeated information.  It read “Churchill, Thomas W. ‘15 Died.”  Thomas didn’t make it.  I was so occupied with recording information about living people that seeing the word “died” next to his name shocked me.  He was alive in this issue; I would find the student newspaper’s obituary for him in a later one. I still don’t know how old he was when he died.

thomas william churchill 1915 yeabook_1

Thomas W. Churchill (1915 Wolverine yearbook)

For the first time, I finally understand what is lost in a war.  It is no longer cliche to hear the phrase “a life cut tragically short.”  I have found the names of those who died too soon, read through the paper remnants of their service memories, and can imagine the empty space in time that their absence provided for those who loved them.  Their existence has become a hollow echo that replaced the lives they should have lived and experiences they should have shared.

These lives are now personal for me, but they aren’t necessarily lost.  Their time alive was shortened, taken, and ended, but they aren’t lost.  Their names are still known.  I know them, and others remember them.  They are memorialized on campus where people can walk by and read their names.  There are physical files of them, saved, stored and digitized.  They are not lost, but there was a loss.  The files and papers don’t describe who they are or what it was like to sit next to them.  But they are not lost completely, and finding them in whatever form they still exist in makes that true.

[1] “MAC Alumni-War Rosters” in Frank S. Kedzie papers (Box 1166, Folder 34).

[2] “Service Record of MAC Students killed in World War I” in Frank S. Kedzie papers (Box 1166, Folder 37).

Written by Catharine Neely, intern for MSU Archives & MSU Museum





Horror! Hollywood! Halloween 1952

31 10 2017

On October 31, 1952, four Hollywood actors dressed in fine suits and a beautiful dress stood on a bare stage with only four microphones stands and stools. The actors had scripts and only rose to read their parts. The reading seemed simple and unembellished, but the actors’ voices made it feel like they were in Hell, observing Don Juan and the Devil. On that cool, windy Halloween night, a group known as “The First Drama Quartette” performed Don Juan in Hell by George Bernard Shaw. The cast included four people: Charles Boyer as Don Juan, Vincent Price as the Devil, Sir Cedric Hardwicke as the Statue, and Agnes Moorehead as Donna Anna. The play was directed by Charles Laughton and produced by Paul Gregory.

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Vincent Price as “The Devil.” Vincent autographed the photo and it reads, “With all my best thanks, ever Vincent Price”, 1952. (A006667)

Don Juan in Hell is actually part of a four-act drama called, Man and Superman, written by George Bernard Shaw in 1903. Shaw wrote the play in response to people wanting a Don Juan-themed play. When the play was first performed in 1905, the third act was omitted. The play wasn’t performed entirely until 1915. The third act, Don Juan in Hell, is usually removed because it is a play amongst itself. The act is quite long and is completely different from the rest of Man and Superman since it is a nonrealistic dream episode consisting of Don Juan having a philosophical debate with the Devil.

 

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Agnes Moorehead as “Donna Anna”, 1952. (A006668)

Even though Halloween seemed to be the perfect time to perform this reading, it wasn’t the first time the reading was performed on campus. On March 1, 1951, Don Juan in Hell performed but with one difference. Instead of Vincent Price playing the role of the Devil, it was Charles Laughton. It is unknown why Laughton stepped down from playing the Devil, but he continued to be director of the play. At the 1951 event, 3,500 people came out to the Auditorium to witness the performance. According to the State News, Laughton said the bare stage with only the functional equipment was the best possible setting for this reading. Hardwicke, a long-time friend of George Bernard Shaw said, “I believe he would have liked it this way” in reference to the staging of the play.

 

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Charles Boyer as “Don Juan”, 1952. (A006669)

The programs and wonderful publicity photos of the cast are part of a small collection located in the Archives, the Barbara Van Baalen Papers, UA 17.246. In this collection are dozens of publicity photos, some signed by the performer him or herself. Van Baalen was secretary to Stanley Crowe, Dean of Students at Michigan State College. Crowe was also the Director of the Summer School and Director of the Lecture-Concert Series, which brought national acts to MSC for performances. Because of her association with Crowe, Van Baalen was able to get autographs from many of the performers. Included in this collection are programs related to the Lecture-Concert Series, souvenir programs, campus related documents, and musical related magazines. The photo of Charles Laughton is from the 1954 Wolverine yearbook, when Laughton and Gregory once again visited campus to offer a chance to see a pre-Broadway opening of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial staring Henry Fonda, John Hodiak, and Lloyd Nolan.

 

A006670

Sir Cedric Hardwicke as “The Statue”, 1952. (A006670)

Looking back, it now almost seems serendipitous for those actors to be performing a play that takes place in Hell on Halloween night. While already famous, the actors played or would later appear in horror films or play a role that is associated with characters of Halloween. Vincent Price appeared in the House of Wax, The Fly, adaptation movies of Edgar Allen Poe stories, Edward Scissorhands, and was the voice over for Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Charles Boyer appeared in the mystery-thriller Gaslight, for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1934. Sir Cedric Hardwicke played Judge Jean Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame and starred in the Ghost of Frankenstein as Ludwig von Frankenstein. Agnes Moorehead appeared in the Bat (alongside with Vincent Price), Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and played Endora, Samantha’s witch mother on Bewitched. Charles Laughton played Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Dr. Moreau in the Island of Lost Souls.

 

1743

Charles Laughton was the director of “Don Juan in Hell” and originally played “The Devil”, 1954. (People 1743)

While this blog didn’t tell of a ghost story or of a sinister murder that happened on campus some past Halloween’s ago, it does tell how for one Halloween night, the people that portrayed such witches, misunderstood creatures, and evil souls brought those characters to life on campus!

 

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Those who would like to view Barbara Van Baalen papers are welcome to visit the MSU Archives’ Reading Room during our research hours: http://archives.msu.edu/about/contact.php. The inventory for the Van Baalen Papers is available online: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua17-246.html.

For more Halloween related stories see:

https://msuarchives.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/rumor-has-it/

https://msuarchives.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/spooky-stories-from-the-msu-archives/

https://msuarchives.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/more-spooky-stories-from-the-msu-archives/

http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Exhibit/1-6-13/campus-legends-and-myths/

To hear a recording of Don Juan in Hell performed by Charles Laughton, Charles Boyer, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Agnes Moorehead, visit this YouTube channel provided by Orchard Enterprises, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymDBP9LiATo.

Sources

“’Don Juan’ Crackles with Shaw’s Wit,” The State News, November 3, 1952. East Lansing, Michigan.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KLAN/1952/10/31/DailyHistory.html?req_city=East+Lansing&req_state=MI&req_statename=Michigan&reqdb.zip=48824&reqdb.magic=1&reqdb.wmo=99999

Laughton, Charles. #1743, People Photograph Collection. Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Lecture Concert Series Programs, 1948-1952, Box 1991, Folder 4, Barbara Van Baalen Papers, UA 17.246, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Michigan State College/University Lecture Concert Series Programs, 1949-1957, F.D., Box 1, Norman Penlington Papers, UA 17.85, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Photographs, Box 1919, Folders 96, 99, and 102, Barbara Van Baalen Papers, UA 17.246, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

“Quartette Stirs Audience by Voice Quality Alone,” The State News, March 2, 1951. East Lansing, Michigan.

Wikipedia. Don Juan in Hell. Man and Superman. Charles Laughton. Agnes Moorehead. Cedric Hardwicke. Charles Boyer. Vincent Price. Paul Gregory.

Wolverine Yearbook, 1954. Pg. 178-179. Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist