Job Posting – Head of University Archives Librarian, Librarian I/II

18 02 2020

The MSU Libraries currently has a posting for Head of University Archives Librarian, Librarian I/II, posted on PageUp (MSU’s Applicant Page).

Posting 636583: The Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries invites a forward-looking and creative professional to bring fresh perspectives to our position as of Head of University Archives. Reporting to the Dean of Libraries, the Head of University Archives will lead the Libraries’ efforts to transform and invigorate archival services including reimagining service provision and building successful relationships to ensure a robust program of outreach, education, materials acquisition, access and preservation.

Archival resources play an important role in the Libraries’ support of instruction and research at MSU. The University Archives collects the official historical records of Michigan State University, including records created by the Board of Trustees, departments, offices, programs, and committees, as well as the material of individual faculty, staff, students, student groups, and alumni. There is also a focus in collecting local history and material related to the campus environs. The formats collected include papers, audio, film, video, photographs, scrapbooks and digital files.

This position will encourage, empower, mentor and supervise seven Archivists in various stages of our faculty continuing appointment process, and one Archival Assistant. Skills in creating a respectful, professional, productive, and collaborative environment while empathetically yet firmly leading change are key.

You may view the posting and the additional details at posting number 636583. Closes 5pm on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020.

Spartina – Sparty’s Girlfriend

3 12 2019

Sparty and Spartina, pg. 2

Did you know that at one time Sparty had a girlfriend?! Her name was Spartina and she appeared in the 1945 Wolverine yearbook. She was used as a device to highlight the different sections of the yearbook. Spartina was also a reflection of how campus that year was home to mostly female students since many of the male students were away fighting in World War II.

In the beginning of the yearbook , Sparty is depicted in a military uniform and the introductory paragraph reads, “Sparty, the spirit of Michigan State College, returns on furlough from many battle fronts to introduce his girl friend, Spartina, to the campus. While he is away, he expects her to carry on the traditions, so….”

Included in the yearbook are Spartina’s handwritten V-mail letters to Sparty, telling him about her experience on campus, how friendly everybody is, and how she was interviewed by WKAR. There are four letters and a few small additional sentences scattered in the yearbook. These letters and notes are a reflection of the time, such as one found on page 27, “My very last pair of nylons went the way of all stockings in a whirl of deans’ teas and rush parties. I guess I’ll have to stick to the white ankle socks I buy at Van’s now.”


V-mail letter from Spartina to Sparty, pg. 18

In another letter, we learn that Sparty has a dog and a little brother named Bud. In that letter, Spartina tells Sparty that she had a difficult time catching his dog, Random, to give him a bath. At the bottom of the letter, you can see where Spartina has spilled ink on the page, due to Random jumping up to see what she is doing. He must have gotten ink on himself since Spartina says she has to give him a bath now. She also mentions how Sparty won’t recognize his younger brother, Bud, since he is now missing his two front teeth.


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Like Sparty, Spartina also wears a Spartan helmet. In each section of the yearbook, she is dressed to reflect that college, event, or activity. Even though the war was won in the spring of 1945 in Europe, it was still ongoing in the Pacific theater, so there is no “welcome home Sparty” picture between him and Spartina. In the 1946 yearbook, Spartina was replaced with a different version of Sparty and no mention of Spartina has appeared since.

Cited Sources

Wolverine Yearbook, 1945. Michigan State University: East Lansing, Michigan.

Written by Jennie Russell, Acting Records Manager

Fay L. Hendry Outdoor Sculpture Project

30 10 2019

To celebrate Halloween this year, we will be highlighting the Fay L. Hendry Outdoor Sculpture Project records. Not a spooky ghost story or a forgotten celebration of Halloween from the turn of the 20th century, but a collection that highlights one of the most iconic images of Halloween: the tombstone.


“Owl in the Tree Trunk” – Longstreet Monument, Mt. Hope Cemetery, Lansing

These records document a project that began in 1976 when Fay L. Hendry was hired by the Michigan History Division to create a report on cultural properties. Unable to locate much information on outdoor sculpture in Michigan but convinced that it did exist, Hendry decided to conduct a pilot study of sculpture in the Lansing area. Her study led to a photographic exhibition entitled Outdoor Sculpture in Greater Lansing: From Tombstones to Titus the Tinner held at the Michigan Historical Museum from June to December, 1977.

With additional funds from several Michigan organizations, the project grew to include outdoor sculpture located in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Between 1978 and 1980, Hendry located, photographed, and documented free-standing, architectural sculptures, regardless of their aesthetic merit, in all three cities. After the field inventory, Hendry selected sculptures to serve as the basis for guidebooks, which also led to a traveling photographic exhibit and public forums held in each city.

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All the photographs were taken by Balthazar Korab. Born in Hungary, Korab trained as an architect in Europe and was known as a specialist in architectural photography.


“Dog” – Heeb Monument, Gunnisonville Cemetery, DeWitt Township

After the project was over, Hendry donated her research and the photographs to the MSU Archives and Historical Collections. She graduated from MSU with her B. A. and M. A. in art history and worked on her postgraduate studies at MSU, focusing on art history, computer science, decorative arts in the museum, historic preservation, and photography. During her postgraduate studies, Hendry worked at the MSU Archives as a departmental aide, writing descriptions of collections!


“Woman Clinging to a Cross” – Rix Monument,
Mt. Hope Cemetery, Lansing

To celebrate Halloween, enjoy a few tombstones that Hendry researched for her outdoor sculpture project and found in the Lansing area cemeteries. In her guidebook, she felt sculptures were better understood when they were experienced in person rather than reading about them. Next time you’re in the Lansing area, take a stroll through one of the city cemeteries to take in the scenery and beautiful monuments. Of course, it is best to do it during the day, because you never know what is lurking in the cemetery at night.

Happy Halloween! Bahahahah!

All photographs credited to Balthazar Korab.

To learn more about the symbolism on grave markers, check out Douglas Keister’s 2004 book, Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography by MJF Books.


Fay L. Hendry Outdoor Sculpture Project records, 00149, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Hendry, Fay L. (1980). Outdoor Sculpture in Lansing. ɩota press: Okemos, Michigan.

Written by Jennie Russell, Acting Records Manager

50th Anniversary of the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam

15 10 2019


Students gather to protest the Vietnam War on October 15, 1969 [A000637]

The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam was a demonstration and teach-in held across the United States on October 15, 1969.  At MSU, university administrators decided that faculty were free to cancel their classes, and students could choose to absent themselves from classes without penalty.  Further, university facilities were available for students and faculty to “participate in orderly discussions and peaceful expressions of conscience” (Policy Statement by Walter Adams, October 8, 1969).  Several events were held at MSU, including a teach-in in the morning, followed by a rally at the Auditorium, a peace walk to the State Capitol in the afternoon, and a rock concert during the evening.

1969 moratorium_Page_1

Moratorium Plans (from State News, October 15, 1969)

During the rally at the Auditorium, a surprise guest, Michigan Governor William Milliken, joined MSU acting president Walter Adams.  During his introduction of the governor, Adams quipped “some of us may quit this [anti-war] movement because it’s becoming too damned respectable” (State News, October 16, 1969).

The Moratorium was well attended.  An estimated 8000 peaceful protestors gathered at the State Capitol to hear speakers such as Senator Coleman Young, Representative Jackie Vaughan III, Zolton Ferency, Senator Basil Brown, MSU Trustee Blanche Martin, and James Harrison, chair of the Ingham County Democratic Party.  Nation-wide it was the largest anti-war demonstration, with people from all ages, political affiliations, socioeconomic statuses, and ethnicity “expressing sorrow for the war dead and hope for peace” (State News, October 16, 1969).  Although the conflict in Vietnam would continue for many years, the Moratorium sent a message to our country’s leaders that the nation longed for peace.

Audio recordings of speeches:

Text of Walter Adams’ speech:

Film footage of the march:

This blog post was written as part of a celebration of Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections 50th Anniversary. 

UAHC 50 years graphic_no background

Written by Megan Badgley Malone





MSU Archives is Celebrating its 50th Anniversary!

23 09 2019

During the 2019-2020 academic year, Michigan State University Archives is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  In honor of this milestone, we have a variety of exhibits, events, blog posts, and social media planned.

UAHC 50 years graphic_no background

Pop Up Exhibit – “MSU Presidents”

For the MSU Libraries Special Collections Friday Pop Up Exhibit series, we have curated content from the University Archives about MSU’s presidents from 1857 to 2017.  The exhibit will feature images and documents, such as correspondence, speeches, scrapbooks, reports, and diaries, from our first president through our 20th.

Date:  Friday, September 27, 2019

Time: 12 pm to 2 pm

Location: MSU Main Library, Special Collections classroom, 1st floor


Exhibit – “The Times, They Are a-Changin’: MSU in 1969-1970”

As we celebrate 50 years of preserving and making available MSU’s history, we are also looking back at the academic year of our founding – 1969-1970.  The exhibit covers a variety of events that occurred at MSU, including student protests, Homecoming, concerts, and the achievements women athletes.

Location & Dates:

Conrad Hall lobby, September 2019 – May 2020

MSU Main Library, 4W (next to the Music Library), February-May 2020


MSU students march carrying crosses with the names of the four students killed at Kent State University when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on protesting students on May 4, 1970. Jeff Miller, one of the students killed, had recently transferred from MSU to Kent State. (A005045)


Exhibit – “History of the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections”

Learn about the origins of the University Archives, the materials we collect, and the services we provide.  The exhibit will feature photos of the reading room, the stacks, and the staff throughout the years.

Location & Dates:

Conrad Hall lobby, October 2019 – May 2020


Dean William Combs, first director of the MSU Archives, poses with archival materials, November 21, 1969. (A008569)


Movie Night at Conrad Hall (co-sponsored by UAB)

We are currently planning a movie event with the University Activities Board on November 21, 2019, the anniversary of our founding.  The event will be open to MSU students (student ID required).  More details to come!


Social Media

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for “On This Day” posts looking back at the academic year of our founding 1969-1970, with the hashtag #MSUArchives50.  We will also be writing a series of short blog posts about events that occurred on campus during that time.


We hope you can join us (in person or virtually) for this yearlong celebration!


Written by Megan Badgley Malone

collections & outreach archivist





Collections Spotlight: Ted F. Jackson Papers

23 07 2019

Newspaper clipping “Veterinary school at MSU honors late Dr. Ted F. Jackson,” undated

In 1973, a Velsicol Chemical plant in St. Louis, Michigan mistakenly shipped a toxic flame retardant known as polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) to a livestock feed plant. Veterinarian Ted F. Jackson (DVM, class of 1944) discovered the PBB contamination in his patients, a herd of dairy cattle belonging to Frederic L. Halbert (MS, Chemical Engineering, class of 1968). Jackson was instrumental in determining that the cause of the herd’s illness was the feed.  The PBB contamination also spread to humans as the milk and meat from the affected cattle was consumed. One year passed before the animals were culled. Veterinarians euthanized approximately 30,000 cattle, 1.5 million chickens, and thousands of pigs and sheep.  They were buried in pits near Kalkaska, Michigan, along tons of food products made with contaminated milk.  That same year, Jackson and Halbert published “A Toxic Syndrome Associated with the Feeding of Polybrominated Biphenyl-Contaminated Protein Concentrate to Dairy Cattle” in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  In 1976, a long-term study was initiated to determine effects of the PBB exposure on humans.  The study continues today, administered by the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


Cover of article reprint, “A Toxic Syndrome Associated with the Feeding of Polybrominated Biphenyl-Contaminated Protein Concentrate to Dairy Cattle” in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1974

Unfortunately, Jackson died prematurely in May 1975 after a heart attack.  As such, his contributions to the discovery of the PBB contamination are frequently overlooked.  In 1983, his son, Jeffrey F. Jackson, made a documentary film called “Cattlegate” about these events.

Recently, a small collection of papers belonging to Ted F. Jackson were donated to the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections. The collection primarily consists of research by Ted F. Jackson, D.V.M., and Frederic L. Halbert into dairy cattle that were fed PBB contaminated food, and the publication of their article in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association in 1974. There is also a draft of a letter written by Jackson’s family to Time magazine in response to a May 10, 1976 article which failed to include Jackson’s contribution to the discovery of PBB poisoning.  The Time article stated that Halbert began to study the cause of his cattle’s illness “[w]hen veterinarians were unable to diagnose the problem.”  It is unclear if the letter was published.


Draft of letter to Time magazine from Jackson family members in response to a May 10, 1976 article

The collection also contains Jackson’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine diploma (1944), a Registered Veterinarian certificate from the State of Michigan (1954), and slides and photographs of his veterinary practice.  A biography of Ted F. Jackson, and an item level inventory of the collection, which was provided by the donor, is included as well.  The collection is open to the public, and the finding aid can be viewed online:



Written by Megan Badgley Malone                                                                                  collections & outreach archivist


Collections Spotlight: Ture L. Johnson Papers

17 04 2019



Ture Johnson in uniform poses in front of Beaumont Tower, circa 1937

Ture L. Johnson graduated from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1937 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. He came from Negaunee, Michigan, born to a family of Swedish immigrants. While attending Michigan State College, he was a member of the band and ROTC band. He played saxophone. He also was a member of band club, forestry club, the Band Formal Committee, and the basketball team.

college band

Michigan State College Band, Season 1936-37


Ture L. Johnson’s diploma from Michigan State College, 1937

After graduation, Ture returned to his family in Nagaunee and worked as a forester.  He married Helen Catheryn Petrie in September 1938.  Together they had a son.  They moved to Ohio, where Ture first worked in maple sugar production, then for the state of Ohio Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.  Following Helen’s death in 1951, Ture married Erma Mae Ramseyer in Trumbull, Ohio in 1953.  Ture continued to live and work in Ohio until his death in 2001.

forester dance card 2

Foresters Shindig dance card, May 29, 1937

forester dance card

Foresters Shindig dance card cover, May 29, 1937

In 2012, a family member transferred materials from Ture’s time at Michigan State to the MSU Archives.  Included in the collection are photographs of Johnson in his ROTC band uniform, commencement programs from 1937, band roster for the 1936 season, dance cards, and a Michigan State College B.S. diploma from 1937. There is also a map of campus published by Redfern and Reynolds and drawn by James F. Trott in 1940. The Ture L. Johnson papers are open to the public during our Reading Room hours.  The finding aid for the collection is available online:

trott map

Map of Michigan State College campus drawn by James F. Trott, 1940


Content curated by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist