A small crowd gathered at the University Archives on Tuesday, January 19 for a lunchtime tour. During the 35 minute session, the visitors were shown the reading room, staff area, processing area, stacks, and movable storage. Some of the collection highlights on display included blueprints from College Hall, the first building completed on campus; a ledger from the John Harvey Kellogg collection; campus scrapbooks; early campus maps; and the letter written to William Beal from naturalist Charles Darwin.
During the tour, the visitors learned the about commonly asked questions at the University Archives. The two types of photographs that are most often requested are athletics and University buildings. They also met the unofficial mascot of the University Archives, Belle Sarcastic, a cow owned by Michigan Agricultural College. In 1897 she became the world’s record holder for producing 23,190 pounds of milk and 722 pounds of fat in a single year. She held this record for 11 years. Another mascot of the University Archives is Sarcastic Lad, the son of Belle Sarcastic. He was the grand champion at the 1903 St. Louis Exposition. Though they are not often asked about, the staff at the University Archives take every opportunity to fill in people about our two mascots.
The most commonly asked question at the University Archives is asked by people who know about the rivalry between MSU and the University of Michigan. They question they always ask is, “Why was our (MSU’s) yearbook called the Wolverine?”
Any guesses? Send in your thoughts and comments about how the Michigan State University yearbook came to be called the Wolverine. We will post the answer later this spring.