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.

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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. 

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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.

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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: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua10-3-382.pdf.



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.

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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.

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Foresters Shindig dance card, May 29, 1937

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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: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua10-3-281.html

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


Content curated by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist

Valentines and Love Letters

14 02 2019

People have a tendency to save things that bring them joy and happiness.  As such, it should be no surprise that many Valentines and love letters have been donated to the University Archives over the years.  We recently installed a small exhibit in the Reading Room (101 Conrad Hall) featuring expressions of love from our collections.

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Below are images of a few Valentines in the exhibit.  Some are from students to their teacher and others from children to their parents.  One is from a young woman to her soon-to-be husband, and includes a sweet love note hidden within the folds of the Valentine.



The love letters featured in the exhibit are from two collections – the R. E. Olds papers and the Zee/Schober families’ papers.

Lansing automobile pioneer Ransom E. Olds wrote numerous letters to Metta Woodward, whom he married in 1899.  In his personal life, Olds was a devoted family man.  Even though his correspondence to Metta merely discusses day-to-day affairs, the letters show a sweet and affectionate side of Olds.  Valedictions such as “Ever your true and devoted Ransom” close the letters.

The great love they shared can be seen in photos taken after nearly six decades of marriage. They were parted when Ransom died August 26, 1950.  Metta died a week later, on September 2, 1950*.

Ransom and Metta

Metta and Ransom Olds

The second set of letters in the exhibit were written by Wilmer Zee to Elsie Schober.  The letters from early in 1928 are short and polite, but by the end of the year the content becomes personal, with the letters addressed “Dear sweetheart” [his emphasis] and signed “Your sweetheart love, Wilmer.”  He surrounds his signature with Xs to symbolize kisses.  In another letter, circa 1928, Wilmer writes “Sweet one it seems ages since I last saw those beautiful green eyes of yours and the last kiss from those only lips.”  Wilmer and Elsie courted for approximately three years, before marrying in July 1931.  They were together until Wilmer’s death in 1987.


For those of you in more of an Anti-Valentines Day mood, check out the Mark Flowers letters to Emma Miller on our Civil War history website (http://civilwar.archives.msu.edu/collection/7-1C-7/emma-miller/).  The relationship has a promising start but ends in heartbreak.


Not a good sign when a letter starts “Dear Friend Emma,” instead of the usual “My own darling Emma.”

To learn more about these collections:

Ransom E. Olds papers: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/027.html

Zee and Schober families papers: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/215.html

Leo M. Christensen papers: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/174.html

Emma Miller papers: http://civilwar.archives.msu.edu/collection/7-1C-7/emma-miller/

*Interesting side note: Metta and Ransom Olds were born three days apart (June 6, 1864 and June 3, 1864, respectively), and died a week apart.

Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist

The Forgotten Expedition of World War I

15 11 2018

In 1918, as the Great War was ending in Europe, British and American forces launched a new joint offensive into Siberian Russia. Beyond the general fear of unrest brought about by Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, what this offensive was to do was, frankly, vague. The Vladivostok forces worked to “assist Czechoslovak military units trying to make their way out of Russia to the Western Front,” yet  the forces in Archangel had even less direction. Both groups of men came to be known as the “Polar Bears,” but the American soldiers at Archangel would become known as the “Polar Bear Expedition.”

The Polar Bear Expedition, or the North Russia Expeditionary Force (NREF), was comprised of men from the 85th Division, primarily Michigan and Wisconsin men, who completed training at Camp Custer in the summer of 1918. The 339th Regiment, along with the 310th  Engineers, the 337th  Field Hospital, and the 337th  Ambulance Company were slated to fight in France but were diverted to Archangel. The resources of the MSU Archives and Historical Collections and the MSU Museum provide a look into several of the Polar Bears’ experiences in Northern Russia.

Archangel Streets

Archangel Streets (courtesy: Michigan State University Museum)

To Russia

The journey from Camp Custer, Michigan, to Archangel, Russia, was not a direct route. The journal of one Polar Bear, Clyde Arnold, of Grand Rapids, shed light on the journey. Initially, the 85th Division was to join the rest of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) along the western front line in Europe. The 339th Regiment, along with some other units, was diverted to Archangel, but not after the men had made half of the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Clyde Arnold, who enlisted on April 26, 1918, started his training at Camp Custer. From there, he left for Camp Mills on Long Island, New York, on July 15. At Long Island, he made the journey to England, landing in Liverpool on August 3. Once in England the regiment traveled across the English Channel to Le Havre, France. Over the next few days, the men would make their way down to La Vallée near Saint-Genis-Pouilly, France, arriving on August 12. Arnold notes that La Vallée is the “best place, outside USA,” claiming he enjoyed “good times,” there. However, the men of the 339th were eventually recalled across the English Channel to Dundee, Scotland. Arriving in Dundee on September 19,  Arnold with the rest of the “Polar Bear Expedition” embarked on a ten-day voyage to Archangel, Russia.

Arnold’s experience arriving in Russia differed starkly from his arrival in France. As he noted, he was billeted in “Bolshevik” structures. There he experienced “rain, mud. Poor chow, somewhere.” Arnold foreshadowed the experience of the 339th Regiment, assigned under pretenses to holding back a German advance, but in reality assisting in a Russian civil war.

Aggies in Archangel

A Michigan Agricultural College student  R. S. Clark, through a letter home, detailed his experiences in Archangel. Clark, at the time, was the only known M.A.C. serviceman in Russia.

RS Clark 1920 yearbook

R. S. Clark’s senior picture (1920 yearbook)

The key port is located roughly 600 miles north of Moscow on the White Sea. In 1918, it had  about 40,000 inhabitants. Shipping, Clark observed, was essential to the city as there was “practically no agriculture in this vicinity, only marsh hay and small garden fluff.” The city, as a timber center, is constructed of log buildings, but Clark made the distinction that their log cabins are “not the rough cabin our American pioneers built but veritable log castles.” Utilizing hand tools and time, the Russians made hardy structures that mirror their stalwart nature. Their roads were less admirable than their homes, however. Clark noted that “the Russian streets and roads are very, very miserable, not to say absolutely rotten.” Clark rode a bike to and from his post, which imaginably was a feat in and of itself, considering “a motor truck last[ed] about six months.” As a result, the main modes of transportation out of Archangel would have been walking, sleighs, or small ships and barges (and only in warm months). Considering the rather poor conditions of their roads, the infrastructure Clark described was relatively modern: “Archangel has a street car line, electric lights, telephones, wireless, and a railroad.”

Clark’s interaction with the people of Archangel was that of an outsider looking in. With their elaborate uniforms, the Russian men in Archangel were representative of power and authority. Clark joked that “a night watchman in Archangel has an American Admiral beaten a mile so far as uniform goes.” Despite sharp style and well-made housing, Russians, according to Clark, knew little about modern “American” cleanliness:

The well-dressed people, men as well as women, affect strong perfumery. The ragged people wash only once a year and I shall not try to describe the result—it simply has to be experienced to be appreciated. The houses are devoid of ventilation. There is no adequate sewerage system, open sinks are used that smell to high heaven. Refuse of all sorts is dumped in the street.

Russian peasants were experiencing wartime inflation of around 500%. Clark noted that  “it takes a hatful of [rubles] to buy anything.” The NREF constructed its barracks out of “hurrying methods” that the locals reckoned would collapse in comparison to their hardy cabins. On the contrary, the barracks did not collapse and were better than those on the Western Front in that they were “free from vermin.” The fact that the NREF did not have to immediately deal with rats was a blessing as they could and would scamper across a sleeping soldier, and attack the immovable dead in the trenches or no man’s land. Overall, the conditions within Archangel were bearable and were potentially more enjoyable than the rest of the AEF in France.

The Allied effort throughout the fall and into the winter was to move south along the Volga River and then eventually east. While in Bereznik, slightly north of Shenkursk, members of the British Y.M.C.A. worked “with the American Engineers … to carry out the work” of preparing a building to carry out formal association business. Another Michigan Agricultural College student,  310th engineer S. L. Schneider, may have worked with these Y.M.C.A. personnel. Shneider entered service with the 310th Engineers at Camp Custer in Michigan after spending “two years with the class of ’18.” He was decorated by British authorities for “gallantry in action in the campaign about Shenkrusk” in January 1919.

Left Behind

Shenkursk was overrun in January 1919, several months after the Armistice, and the Polar Bears were pushed east by Bolshevik forces. The winter was a tough challenge as the Polar Bears were constantly on the run, even though the Great War was over. Clyde Arnold’s journal details how his situation changed from a relative comfort with poor food to desperation: “Not enough to eat. Tired out. Cold.” On December 27, Arnold wrote “to hell with the U.S. Army.” The men in the expedition continue to press harder and harder for why they were fighting in Russia. The U.S. government had appeared to have forgotten them, yet it was ice-locked ports that prevented the NREF from leaving Russia until June 1919.

Scene From North Russia

Scene From North Russia (courtesy: Michigan State University Museum)

The overarching strategy of the Archangel Polar Bears—linking up with Czechoslovakia Legion in the interior Russia and fostering support for an anti-Bolshevik force—was ultimately scrapped as there was no logistical support in that action. The men in the “Polar Bear Expedition” were essentially forgotten, shivering on the icy frontier along the Volga River.

Currently on display at the Michigan State University Museum, in the exhibition “War and Speech”, is a vitrine of trench art created by Clyde Arnold.

Documents and images for this article were collected courtesy of Michigan State University Museum and Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections. Contextualization for The Polar Bear Expedition was found courtesy of the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library.

Sources include:

M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24, No. 12; December 20, 1919.

M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24, No. 26; April 1919.

“Y.M.C.A. Official Reports circa 1918,” Waldo Family Papers and Waldo Travel Agency Records, 00042, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Clyde Arnold Collection, Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, Michigan.

“American Intervention in Northern Russia,” University of Michigan: Bentley Historical Library, https://bentley.umich.edu/research/catalogs-databases/polar-bear/polar-bear-expedition-history/, 15 November, 2017.

Written by Matthew Brazier

Howdy Doody, and MSU Football in Color

5 11 2018

1955 was special for Michigan State in many ways.  Not only was it the year the school celebrated its 100th birthday, but it was also the year it graduated from being a college to a university.  The centennial was a yearlong celebration where everything seemed better, more fun, and more important.


One of the three NBC-TV color mobile units on campus for televising the MSU vs Notre Dame football game, as well as several other national broadcasts from campus in October 1955

Take the middle weekend of October — a normal football weekend it was not.  That weekend, NBC produced five television shows on campus for national broadcast, including the first color televising of a MSU football game.  The hoopla surrounding the game was the biggest the campus had seen.  An estimated 400 people were in the press box, including a 35-person television crew.


A color television camera located on the roof of the press box at Macklin Stadium for televising the MSU vs Notre Dame football game on October 15, 1955

There were also four other color TV shows produced that weekend – NBC’s “Home Show,” telecast from Brody Hall, a coast-to-coast, closed circuit broadcast about speech and drama, and a short, closed-circuit preview telecast filmed at the football field for one of the network’s new shows “NBC’s Matinee Theater.”


Drama and Speech students enact a scene for a nationwide closed circuit color TV broadcast on NBC-TV from Macklin Stadium in October 1955

The fourth program rivaled in popularity with the football broadcast itself.  The Howdy Doody Show, televised October 14, 1955 from Macklin Stadium (now Spartan Stadium), featured Coach Duffy Daugherty, the freshman football team and, the Spartan Marching Band, led by famed director Leonard Falcone.  Mr. Nick (Bobby Nicholson) and Clarabell the Clown (Lew Anderson) hosted the show.  Approximately 200 children were in attendance, with 100 joining through arrangements with the Ingham County United Community Chest.  Howdy Doody, himself, did not seem to have attended.


Mr. Nick and Clarabell of the NBC-TV Hoody Doody Show broadcast in color from Macklin Stadium in October 1955

The fifth and final broadcast, the MSU-Notre Dame game was NBC’s “Game of the Week.”  The Spartans won 21-7, with 52,007 in attendance at Macklin Stadium and 50 million watching on TV.


Written by Whitney Miller, processing archivist