The Forgotten Class Stone

17 07 2017
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Class of 1900 posing with their stone; June 15, 1900 (A005318)

An icon on the campus of Michigan State University, the Rock that resides off Farm Lane has been a meeting point and photograph backdrop for generation of students. Most know the Rock as a brightly-colored billboard that anybody can paint anew everyday, but most don’t know it was a class gift from the Class of 1873. It was dug out of the ground and was first placed in the Sacred Circle near Beaumont Tower. It stayed there for 112 years, but September of 1985, it moved to its current location off Farm Lane. Following the Class of 1873’s example, the Class of 1900 decided to gift their own stone. Unfortunately, people will not be able to locate the stone; instead, people will notice the Class of 1900 Fountain that is near Linton Hall. How did the Class of 1900 come to donate two gifts? Here is the tale of the forgotten class stone.

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Men pay their respects to the buried stone.  The grave marker reads, ” ’00 Stone Dead”, circa 1900 (A005419)

The Class of 1900 donated their own stone, which was placed near the current Music building. During this time, the seniors and juniors were having a competition to publish the first Wolverine yearbook. The juniors beat the seniors to the punch and won. In response, the seniors stole 75 copies of the yearbook. To retaliate, the juniors buried the Class of 1900 stone, and marked it with a wooden plaque that read, “’00 Stone Dead” in the night. The seniors dug it back up, but later, an “unknown person,” built a fire and set the stone ablaze. To put the fire out, water was thrown on the stone. Unfortunately, the water caused the stone to shatter and became unrecognizable. No person was ever charged with destroying the stone.

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The aftermath of the Class of 1900 stone being set on fire and put out with water.  The stone is unrecognizable from what it used to be, circa 1900 (A005345)

Four years later, the Class of 1900 donated the white sandstone rock drinking fountain. This fountain was unique because it worked as a drinking fountain for both people and horses. It was situated between Williams and Linton Hall. People on the sidewalk could walk up to the people side of the fountain while horses on the road could get water from the watering trough side.

As time passed, the driveway leading up to Linton Hall was removed and the fountain was turned off. At some point, flowers were planted into the basins of the fountain. Today, the fountain is still in its original location, but the sidewalk is now located on the watering trough side, so the front is not easily visible.

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Man drinking from the Class of 1900 Fountain, date unknown (A001724)

It’s a short story of the forgotten class stone with very little sources. Unfortunately, a firsthand account could have been added but Irma Thompson ’00, when writing her memories of M.A.C., purposely left out that information. She wrote, “I decided to skip the class stone. The story has been told again and again. What new material I could add would still be a betrayal of 1900 to its ancient enemies. I lived with a 1901 graduate for 58 years and never told him what happened to the 75 missing Wolverines.”

To learn more about the Rock, visit http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Exhibit/1-6-1D/the-rock-at-msu/.

Sources

Beal, W.J. (1915). History of the Michigan agricultural college and biographical sketches of trustees and professors. East Lansing: Agricultural College.

“The Drinking Fountain,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 10 No. 2, September 27, 1904

“Fountain by Class of 1900,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 9 No. 39, June 21, 1904

Kuhn, Madison. (1955). Michigan State: The First Hundred Years, 1855-1955. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, Mich.

“Memories”, 1963, n.d., Irma Thompson Papers, UA 10.3.35, Box 761, Folder 1. Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections. East Lansing, Mich.

“The Senior Class Stone,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 5 No. 37, June 5, 1900

 

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

 





Collections Spotlight: Save Our Sparty!

13 07 2017

Jungwirth sculpting the Spartan

MSC art professor Leonard Jungwirth sculpting the Spartan statue in 1944 [A001440]

One of the most recognizable landmarks at Michigan State University is the Spartan statue. Professor Leonard Jungwirth sculpted the original awe-inspiring Spartan from terra cotta starting in 1943.  Bronze was considered preferable but was not obtainable due to the war.  Over the years, harsh Michigan winters and vandalism caused the formation of cracks in the statue and other damage.  By 1987 it was apparent that the Spartan required significant restoration.  In 1988 a S.O.S. went out to Spartans everywhere – Save Our Sparty!

The Save Our Sparty campaign’s goal was to raise $75,000 for restoration spearheaded by Robert W. Pingle, a sculpture conservator.  The project included repairing the cracks and damaged joints, reversing the discoloration (a greenish hue caused by vandalism in the form of maize and blue paint), modification of the sculpture’s core to allow for expansion, new coating of paint (for easier cleaning), and a mold and plaster cast of the Spartan. Additionally, money was budgeted for site improvements, such as shrubbery, lighting, plaques, and renovating the statue’s base.

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Restoration and site beautification took approximately one year to complete.  A rededication ceremony was held on September 30, 1989.  Honored at the ceremony were Irene Gayas Jungwirth (the widow of the Spartan sculptor Leonard Jungwirth), George Alderton (Lansing State Journal sports writer who selected the Spartans nickname), and Walter Adams (former MSU president and economics professor).

George Alderton and Irene Gayas Jungwirth at the rededication of the Spartan statue, 1989 [A005901]

A new collection of papers and photographs documenting the Save Our Sparty (S.O.S) campaign is now available to researchers at the MSU Archives.  MSU Physical Plant (now IPF) employee Vince Vandenburg, who was a member of the S.O.S. committee, collected the materials.  The collection was originally kept in five binders, labeled “Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1988,” “Sparty,” “Spartan Warrior Casting 1989,” “Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1989,” and “Sparty Newsclippings 1989-1990.”

Robert Pringle inspects the Spartan, 1988

Robert Pringle, sculpture conservator, inspecting the Spartan statue for the first time, 1988. [A006561]

“Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1988” includes dozens of color photos of Pringle’s initial inspection of the Spartan, close ups of the damage, fundraising efforts, the restoration process during August-October 1988, vandalism to the statue in October 1988, and an August press conference featuring MSU President John DiBiaggio, Robert Pringle, Irene Gayas Jungwirth, and George Alderton.  Newspaper clippings about the launching of the S.O.S. campaign are also included.

The Spartan vandalized with yellow paint during the restoration in October 1988 [box 5803, folder 9]

“Sparty” consists of S.O.S. committee working papers, such as work orders, correspondence regarding the project’s development and progress, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings about project progress and fundraising efforts, information about Robert Pringle, and a letter from Irene Gayas Jungwirth with information about the Spartan’s creation and her husband’s career.

Irene Gayas Jungwirth letter

Letter written by Irene Gayas Jungwirth to Vince Vandenburg, September 28, 1988 [box 5803, folder 12]

As the name implies, “Spartan Warrior Casting 1989” contains photographs and information about the casting of a plaster replica of the statue by Robert Pringle.  There is also a copy of the “Sparty Statue Conservation Final Report” from Pringle, dated November 20, 1988.

“Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1989” contains photographs of the rededication ceremony, and of the renovations to the area around the statue.  Also included are newspaper clippings about the rededication ceremony, and correspondence from Irene Gayas Jungwirth.

Finally, “Sparty Newsclippings 1989-1990” has newspaper clippings documenting the success of the S.O.S. project, information about the layer of protective paint that added to enable easier cleaning, and several articles about vandalism in 1990 and the efforts to prevent future incidents.

Cast of the Spartan’s head wearing a fashionable hat [box 5803, folder 15]

Those who would like to view the Save Our Sparty collection are welcome to visit the MSU Archives’ Reading Room during our research hours: http://archives.msu.edu/about/contact.php. The inventory for the Physical Plant Records is available online: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua5-13.html.

For more information on the history of the Spartan statue see: “The Spartan Statue and his Creator,” written by Jennie Russell http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Exhibit/1-6-21/spartan-statue/

 

Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist

 





Alumni Memorial Chapel

26 05 2017
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Outside of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; undated (A006549)

Located on Auditorium Rd, situated next to the Kresge Art Center and across the street from Baker Hall, is the Alumni Memorial Chapel. A small chapel, most people walk by paying it no attention, but it is a stop all MSU students and alumni should make. Construction on the chapel began in 1950 and was dedicated on Alumni Day, June 7, 1952. The alumni of MSU paid for the chapel to memorialize all Spartan men and women that served in the United States military forces and died while serving their country during World War II. Inside the chapel’s narthex, above the entrance to the nave, is a sign that reads, “These names represent those who died in the armed forces” and the walls are engraved with 589 names and dates of the men and women that died. Even though the chapel was dedicated to the fallen during World War II, all MSU affiliated men and women that died during military service have been included in the memorial. The earliest dates go back to 1861 when the first graduating class of MSU and students associated with the class of 1861 left to go fight in the Civil War and the latest names from 2005.

The chapel is an interdenominational spiritual center for all faiths and religions. The beauty of the chapel lies in the thirty-eight stained glass windows. The window designs were selected so any person of any faith can enter the chapel and not feel offended by symbols of any religion and most are arranged into groups of three, also called a triptych. The windows on the left side represent education experiences as they relate to modern life. The windows on the right side tell the history of Michigan State University, and the windows at the front represent, “Religion, Brotherhood, and Patriotism.”

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Dedication of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; June 7, 1952 (A006547)

Throughout the chapel are thirty-one stones taken from various European bombed cathedrals that have been set into the walls of the narthex, nave, chancel, and basement. Four stones are from England, two from France, twenty-four from Germany, and one from the Netherlands. Examples of some of the stones originate from St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Cathedral of Regensburg in Germany, and more.  There is also a stone from the White House and a stone from the grave of Henry F. Lyte, composer of “Abide with Me” for a total of thirty-three stones.  Along with the stones, in a wooden display case in the narthex, is a collection of old Bibles. Sixty-nine bibles are in different languages, including Swahili and Burmese. Also included is a King James Bible from 1759.

The Alumni Chapel is open year round and holds over 160 weddings annually. A wide assortment of ceremonies take place at the chapel and can only be reserved by only MSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and their parents/grandparents.

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Procession during the dedication of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; June 7, 1952 (A006548)

The next time you visit campus, make a detour to the Alumni Chapel if you have never visited it before. It is a beautiful chapel that is open and welcoming to all faiths and a memorial to all the Spartan men and women that died in the line of service to our country.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

Update: If you want to learn more about the history of the Alumni Memorial Chapel and see related documents/photographs, please visit:

http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Exhibit/1-6-2A/alumni-memorial-chapel/.





Spring Cleaning of Your Office

4 05 2017

As another semester comes to an end with campus being less crowded and bit quieter, it is a good idea to think about cleaning out your office. Make some time this summer to review your file cabinets to decide what materials should be kept in your office or can be transferred over to the University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC).

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Accounting Office – New Wing of the Administration Building, 1947 (A006401)

 

The Records Management program that is part of UAHC is happy to accept your office’s temporary paper records and permanent paper records. We also accept electronic permanent digital records. Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot accept temporary digital records. To learn more about the transfer process for both paper and digital materials, please refer to our website’s Records Transfer, Retrieval, and Destruction page.

The types of materials that should be kept permanently and transferred over to the Archives are:

  • Official correspondence, annual reports, policy and procedure statements
  • Speeches, presentations, and records of university performances/events
  • Minutes and agendas for official university meetings
  • Course syllabi
  • University publications, including newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, newsletters, brochures, posters, and pamphlets
  • Films, tapes, and photographs
  • Student organization records, including minutes, publications, and photographs
  • Faculty papers

All of these materials help tell the history and story of Michigan State University. Once the materials are transferred over to the Archives, they will be processed, arranged, and made publicly available to researchers. If materials need to be kept permanently but not made available to the public, there is a check box on the transmittal form where you can indicate that the materials be made “restricted.”

If you have any questions about which materials need to be kept permanently or only temporary, please review the Archives website. You can also contact the Archives at archives@msu.edu or by calling 517-355-2330.

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Duck swimming on the Red Cedar River, 1971 (A006390)

 

Enjoy summer break and a quieter campus!

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist





Closed May 8-12, 2017 for Spring Cleaning

20 04 2017
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Janitor smoking a pipe places chairs on the tables in the library, 1964

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections will be closed to the public May 8-12 for our annual Spring Cleaning Week. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  Please contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns.  Our contact information can be found here: http://archives.msu.edu/about/contact.php?about_contact.





Spotlight: The Arno J. Erdman Collection, UA 17.231

6 04 2017

Today, April 6th, is the 100th anniversary of the United States of America’s entrance in World War I. This war introduced new technologies that forever changed how warfare and military tactics were conducted. The country joined together to help with the war effort, and it was no different on the campus of Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.), which would later become Michigan State University. As a land-grant institution, M.A.C. was already set up to help with the war effort because people were already being taught how to increase their crop production. Extension workers went out into the counties in Michigan to demonstrate food preservation and to teach the kids in boys’ and girls’ clubs how to participate in food programs.

Along with students and faculty members, men in uniform flooded the college in 1918. At the beginning of the year, some men took courses in radio technology. On May 15, 500 draftees arrived from Wisconsin to participate in an eight week course in auto mechanics. Local companies Reo, Oldsmobile, and Duplex loaned ten army trucks for the men to practice on.

One man that was part of the Wisconsin unit was Arno J. Erdman, whose scrapbooks and photographs are housed at the MSU Archives. Erdman was born on April 13, 1894 and lived in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. His collection is a snapshot of campus life, military training, and scenes from the capitol during that time period. Sergeant Erdman was an U.S. Army instructor teaching auto mechanics in the Student Army Training Corps at M.A.C.

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The artillery shed that was built when College Hall collapsed.  Williams Hall can be seen in the background, 1918 (AA6443)

 

The majority of Erdman’s photographs are images he captured while on campus as an instructor. His photos include field testing of vehicles, tanks, and a caterpillar at the REO plant. There are many group photos of men in uniform and individual shots of Erdman. There are also photos of the buildings on campus, including images of College Hall when it collapsed, the infamous artillery shed, and views from the top of the water tower on campus.

Even though Erdman arrived originally to teach the eight week course, it appears that he ended up staying on campus for the rest of the year. The reason might be because the War Department established a Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) unit on campus. Eight temporary barracks and two mess halls were built east of the Horticultural Laboratory. The men were broken up into two different classes. 500 men were part of “Class A” and they qualified as regular college students and studied disciplines that would be useful for war. “Class A” lived in the men’s dormitories and on the top floors of Agricultural Hall and Olds Hall of Engineering. Another 500 men that were part of “Class B” were enrolled in the auto mechanics course and housed in the barracks. In some of Erdman’s photographs, he identified the different classes.  A small class of navy men also joined the other ranks on campus. The S.A.T.C. was officially created on October 3, 1918.

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Soldiers in a line, circa 1918 (A006440)

Unfortunately, all the best preparations fell to the wayside. Two weeks after the camp opened on campus, an outbreak of Spanish influenza grounded the men. Eighteen people died – seventeen male students and one male faculty member. The women were segregated from the men for six weeks. The barracks were quarantined and classes suspended until the flu passed. By the time the men recovered, the war was over. As reported in the M.A.C. Record, November 29, 1918, the S.A.T.C. unit was disbanded and the men were mustered out throughout the month of December. Most of the men headed home without seeing any war action or finishing their degrees.

Not much is known about Arno Erdman after he left campus, which might have been after the beginning of 1919 because he has a postcard photograph of Williams Hall when it burned down on January 1, 1919. We do know he returned home to Wisconsin and married Esther Peters on May 20, 1920 (her photos can be seen in the background of Arno’s bedroom.) Together, they had a daughter and a son, and Arno worked as a laborer with cement contractors. He died on July 7, 1971.

The Arno J. Erdman collection captures a very brief and unique period on campus. Many of the buildings that are observed in the photographs are no longer standing. Like the rest of the nation, M.A.C. took up the call to prepare soldiers.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

View the inventory for the Arno J. Erdman collection: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua17-231.html.





The University Reporter-Intelligencer and Other Alternative Campus Newspapers

16 03 2017
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The Bubble (1868) was the first student publication at Michigan State

At Michigan State University, there have been campus newspapers published almost as long as the university has existed. The Bubble (UA.12.7.16) was published in 1868 by Frank S. Burton  (Class of 1868) and was intended to be a humorous look at campus life. Another early campus publication was The Holcad (UA.12.7.2), a magazine-like publication with fiction, news, editorial comment, and gossip. It was first published on March 10, 1909.  In 1925, The Holcad became Michigan State News (later shortened to The State News) and was responsible to the College Press and paid for by student fees.

Nearly as long as there has been a campus newspaper, there have been alternative newspapers. These “alternatives” have generally arisen over differences in opinion between the news staff and students at large but occasionally have come about due to differences internally over personnel or ideology. Often, the papers were created just as an outlet for humor. These publications generally only lasted a year or so; the creators either graduated or moved on and the publication lost its momentum.

One alternative newspaper, The Spectre (UA.12.7.6), was published in 1957 by students Thomas Payne, Peter Zenger, Samuel Adams and John Fenno. Its November 18 issue discussed the student privilege of wearing clothes. Another parody newspaper was The Eczema (UA.12.7.23) begun by R. J. McCarthy in 1913 and continued into 1937 by the fraternity, Pi Delta Epsilon. This paper was similar to today’s The Onion. Much of the parody was related to events occurring on campus.

On a more serious note, The Paper (UA.12.7.7) was started by disillusioned State News staffer and journalism student Michael Kindman in late 1965. The Paper focused on the Vietnam War and the growing counter culture. Less than a decade later, The Grapevine Journal (UA.12.7.3) was created on a typewriter and pasted together by students Abdul M. Jamal and Karen L. Fitzgerald in June 1971. Two thousand copies were printed of the first issue. The newspaper continued to grow and by September 1972 had become the largest African-American student paper in the United States. Publication of The Grapevine Journal ended in 1975.

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The Paper, 1965

During 1984-1985, The Michigan State Times was published by Editor Robert Gardella, a journalism student in the class of 1986. Politically to the right of The State News, it was an independent, student-run “non-partisan news and opinion” newspaper.

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The Michigan State Times, 1985

In 1989, M. L. Elrick (Class of 1990, State News Staff 1987-1989)1, started the University Reporter-Intelligencer (uR-I) newspaper (UA.12.7.44) with encouragement from a friend (Angie Carozzo) after being overlooked by the State News Board of Trustees for the editor position even though fully supported by the SN staff. In his Spartan Saga interview, M. L. Elrick said, “a lot of people could have said, “What a drag,” but I went out and started my own paper with some friends of mine. And we had people who volunteered their time and effort to work for us, to sell ads, to write stories, to make art, to take photographs.” The uR-I was a free weekly newspaper that reached a circulation of 10,000 and was “intended as a weekly forum for the discussion of topics crucial to ensuring MSU’s position as an incubator of new and revolutionary ideas, dreamt up by the minds giving our community its character and verve.” M. L. Elrick was joined by Tresa Baldas (Class of 1990 and now a reporter at Detroit Free Press ), David Stearns (Class of 1989 and now Director of Communications at The B Team) and others to provide edgy reporting on topics still relevant today on campus: cost of education; abortion; LGBTQ issues; race relations; campus crime and more. The paper also was a great source for reviews of recently released music and movies as well as local entertainers. Local entertainer reviews included The Doe Boys; The Deans; Wayouts; Elvis Hitler; The Lime Giants; The Front; and many others.

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uR-I, 1989

After Elrick’s graduation, Tim Silverthorn took over as uR-I editor for the fall 1990 semester but was unable to sustain the papers publishing. He’s now an Academic Technology Consultant at the University of St. Thomas.

Thanks to financial support from Mike Johnston (Class of 1993), the complete run of the uR-I is now online at the MSU Archives On the Banks of the Red Cedar website. Mike wrote us, “It (the uR-I) was distributed in the dorms, but wasn’t officially sanctioned by the university and was a hilarious thorn in the side of The State News for one entertaining year.”

To learn more about these alternative newspapers, visit the MSU Archives in Conrad Hall.

Written by Ed Busch, electronic records archivist

  1. L. Elrick later worked for the Detroit Free Press and was one of the two reporters who broke the text message scandal that brought down Kwame Kilpatrick, which led to his 2008 resignation from office and criminal conviction. This work was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. He is also co-author of “The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.” Elrick now reports for Fox 2 TV in Detroit.