Women’s Work: How the Women of M. A. C. Contributed to World War I

14 05 2018

The needs of the war effort were vast and varied, which meant that there were plenty of ways to help that were opened up for women and women’s departments. Whether staying home or travelling the country and the world, women found a way to help.

In the fall of 1918, two young women joined the Red Cross in order to serve as army nurses.  Alice Latson, ‘09, and Elizabeth Palm, ‘11, became nurses in order to help with medical needs.  Latson was trained as a dietitian in Asbury Hospital in Minneapolis and would be stationed at Camp Gordon in Georgia while Palm would train at Camp Custer’s base hospital.

Mary M. Harrington of the class of ‘18 moved from Flint, Michigan to Fort Riley, Kansas to become a Red Cross dietitian at the U. S. A. Base Hospital. She worked to help feed 2,100 patients, all suffering from influenza. Harrington noted that there were “several other dietitians here, but none are from M. A. C.” In her letter to the newspaper, she asked for a copy of the Record to keep up with her Alma Mater, for “Michigan seems quite far away when one is out here.”


canning participants

Canning Course Participants, 1917

The home economics department stepped up during the war in the whatever ways they could, especially when it came to teaching the community how to help in crucial ways at home: “Fifty senior girls are taking a special course in canning this term, most of them with the idea of offering their services this summer as demonstrators when the canning season opens up.” During the summer of 1917, the home economics department made two food talks and canning demonstrations available for the East Lansing community. The July talk was available to women with two years of training from the home economics department and would later be volunteer canning demonstrators. The August class was open to everyone. The classes were taught by former home economic students who were contacted with emergency registration cards asking “the amount of their training and experience, whether they were available for summer or winter emergency work, and the approximate amount of time that could be devoted to the work.” The ladies were also asked if they would be willing to help “without remuneration or with expenses only.” All over the state, former M. A. C. women agreed to volunteer their time and energy into helping teach “kitchen thrift” to the East Lansing community. The talk in July had 3,419 attendees, and the August demonstrations had 3,000.


The women also gave their time and money to help everyone, soldier and victim alike.  In order to help, “about 200 co-eds” volunteered for the Red Cross Association, using their time to knit “helmets, wristers and scarfs for the navy.” When sickness began to take its toll on the student soldiers, the co-eds of M. A. C. didn’t have any access to the new gym during the influenza epidemic. It was where Company B was housed as everyone was moved around and buildings were used as bunks for the sick.

War often leaves orphans, but some of the women of M. A. C. decided to do something about it. They adopted two french children whom they raised money to care for. It cost $36 a year to care for each child. With an average donation of 40 cents per person, the women raised $130 for the care of the children. The extra money was “used to buy delicacies for the convalescent soldiers.”

They also took over the jobs that typically went to men. With all of the secretaries for the class of ‘17 in the men’s sections serving in the war, a young woman named Lou Butler took over for the entire class as long as the war lasted.

With so much needing to be done, women were able and willing to help in any way they could. The ladies of M. A. C. sacrificed and gave whenever they saw an opportunity, and their creativity in finding where their help was needed is admirable.

Written by Catharine Neely

“Two M. A. C. Girls Entered Red Cross,” MAC Record, 30 September 1918, vol. 24, no. 1, pg. 3.

“From Mary M. Harrington,” MAC Record, 25 October 1918, vol. 24, no. 4, pg. 7.

“News and Comments,” MAC Record, 8 May 1917, vol. 22, no. 28, pg. 7.

“Home Economics Department Active in War Work,” MAC Record, 28 September 1917, vol. 23, no. 2, pg. 3.

“MAC Coeds…,” MAC Record, 22 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 8, pg. 3.

“Two French…,” MAC Record, 1 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 5, pg. 3.

“For Class Secretaries of ‘17,” MAC Record, 1 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 5, pg. 5.

“Some of those in Attendance at the Canning Course,” MAC Record, 17 July 1917, vol. 22, no. 34, pg. 7.


Registration open for SAA’s Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP workshop

2 05 2018

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections is hosting the Society of American Archivists’ workshop “Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP” on Friday, June 1, 2018.

This course is perfect for archivists, records managers, special collections curators ,and other practitioners or managers responsible for stewarding digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle.

Course Description

The digital curation “ecosystem” is large and complex. Made up of tools that perform small, discrete tasks, those that cover particular format groups or functional areas of models (such as OAIS), and even those that claim to be more or less comprehensive, this ecosystem is in a constant state of flux. Although there is great potential in common data formats, open standards, and APIs to facilitate systems integrations that support end-to-end digital archiving workflows, the myriad tools—and possible combinations of those tools—can make it difficult to know where to begin!  In this course, you’ll explore options for suites of tools that can work together to steward digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle.

More importantly, our goal is to empower you to critically evaluate these options, successfully implement them at your institution, efficiently manage “handoffs” of data and metadata from one system to another, and plan for the future. Because more and more systems are designed to connect, we’ll also cover the basics of system integration with real-world examples of both proprietary and open-source software integrations. Hands-on components will include group discussions, use case and functional requirements development, and tool demos.


Additional information about the workshop, and registration are available on the SAA website: https://saa.archivists.org/events/tool-integration-from-pre-sip-to-dip-18a2/875/



Upcoming Closings

25 04 2018

The University Archives & Historical Collections has several upcoming closings to announce.  We apologize for any inconvenience these closings may cause.

Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1, 2018 we will be closed for staff professional development.  We are hosting two workshops through the Society of American Archivists – Arranging and Describing Photographs (April 30th) and Arrangement and Description of Audio Visual Materials (May 1st).  Information about these workshops, and other SAA events can be found on the SAA Continuing Education Calendar.

We will also be closed May 7-11, 2018 for our annual Spring Cleaning Week.


Please refer to our website for up-to-date information on our hours.

Editors from “Tales from the Archives” Recognized during Authors Reception

20 04 2018

On April 19, 2018, MSU Archives & Historical Collections employees were recognized during the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception for our book “Tales from the Archives, Volume One: Campus and Traditions” that was published during the 2017 year. The MSU Libraries have two copies of our book: one for the Main Library and the other for the MSU Faculty Book Collections, located in the Stanley C. and Selma D. Hollander Faculty Book Collection on the first floor of the Main Library. MSU Libraries honor MSU faculty and staff whose books, multimedia works, musical scores, and recordings were published during the year.

Book Display

Our book on display with the other faculty books during the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception.


The editors of the Tales book were honored to be recognized among our MSU peers. We are extremely proud of the book and that working on the Tales book was a fun experience! Due to the success of Volume One, we are currently working on “Tales from the Archives, Volume Two.”

The editors would like to thank current and former MSU archivists and students that wrote the original articles that appear in the book; Bill Castanier, who wrote our Foreword; our supervisor, Cynthia, for letting us pursue this project; Julie Taylor from the MSU Espresso Book Machine; our graphic design student, Heng-Yu Chen, for creating our amazing book cover; our proof readers, Renee and Leigh; and most importantly, our fifth editor, Hillary Gatlin. Hillary left MSU to head for warmer weather but she was the driving force for designing the layout of the book and for pushing us to get our photos selected and articles fact checked in time. Even though Hillary couldn’t be present at the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception, she was a valuable editor of the Tales book team!

Faculty Book reception

Tales from the Archives editors Susan, Megan, Jennie, and Ed.


If you would like to purchase a copy of “Tales from the Archives, Volume One: Campus and Traditions”, it can be purchased by ordering online at http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/arc-04.htm, by contacting the Archives at 517-355-2330 or by emailing archives@msu.edu, or you can purchase a copy in-store at Schuler Books.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

Summer 2018 Digital Humanities Internship available at the MSU Archives

12 04 2018

The Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections seeks a Digital Humanities intern for May-August 2018 to work 15-20 hours per week with an hourly pay rate of $10.

The intern will be responsible for renaming and transferring digital files, and migrating metadata associated with those files from Excel spreadsheets to an Access database.  The intern will also watch digitized video and listen to audio to create succinct descriptions of the content of the files.

Time permitting, the intern may also work on other projects, such as scanning images and documents according to established archival standards, uploading content to the On the Banks of the Red Cedar website (onthebanks.msu.edu), and researching MSU history.

Minimum Requirements

  • Ability to work on a Windows platform, including the use of Microsoft Office Suite software such as Word, Excel, and Access.
  • Excellent analytical, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Strong research skills with attention to detail.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to recognize own strengths and weaknesses and utilize constructive feedback to improve performance.
  • Ability to both work independently and proactively seek assistance.

Preferred Skills

  • Interest in the history of Michigan State University.
  • Familiarity with digital imaging software such as Photoshop.
  • Demonstrated ability to enter metadata using a content management system.
  • Experience working with archives and manuscript materials in a variety of formats.


MSU Students apply online: msu.joinhandshake.com/login  (Job #1461650)

For more information about the MSU Archives, please visit our website: archives.msu.edu.

Collections Spotlight: Nepal Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science Project

9 03 2018

Did you know MSU participated in an international program in Nepal?  Archivists recently added materials into the Nepal Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science Project records, and now the collection is complete.


The Dean of the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) in Nepal and the Director of the Midwest University Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) project look at a globe, 1978 (A006560)

During the Nepal project, MSU collaborated with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Midwest University Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) to assist Tribhuvan University in the development of the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) in Rampur, Nepal.  Nepal needed IAAS to train people for Nepal’s agricultural sector.  MSU contributed to the project from 1975 to September 1984.  Faculty from MSU and other institutions traveled to Nepal provide technical assistance, assist with curriculum and program development, help with research and setting up research facilities, and to advise on administration of the institute.  In addition, students from Nepal came to the United States for education and then took their expertise back to Nepal.

pictures and program booklet

Cover of the “Pictures and Programme” booklet, Tribhuvan University, June 29, 1982

The eight boxes of Nepal project records in the University Archives contain progress, end of tour and final project reports, administration and financial records, inventories, and information about MSU and local employees.  There is also information about the agricultural research projects undertaken during the project.  The majority of the records are in English.

Soybean report

Cover of the Soybean Research Report

This collection is one of many related to MSU’s involvement in international projects.  Others include the Vietnam Project (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-5.html), University of the Ryukyus in Japan (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-16.html), University of Nigeria (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-4.html), Pakistan Academies (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-12.html), and the Brazil Project (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-11.html).

Written by Sarah Roberts, acquisitions archivist


Nepal Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science Project records (http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua2-9-5-25.html)

Horn, Nancy E., A Project History of Michigan State University’s Participation in International Development 1951-1985, College of Education Records (UA 15.7), June 1985, pages 162-163

Road Construction to Affect the Archives

2 03 2018

Beginning March 5 and ending around November 15, 2018, the MSU Archives will be affected by road construction that will take place on Wilson and Fee Road. The plan is for the roads and the parking lots to switch places, so the parking lots are closer to the buildings. That way, people will not have to cross the busy streets to get to the campus buildings. This construction will greatly affect the Archives and Fee Hall, since Wilson and Fee Roads will be closed. The Archives has been assured that there will be parking spots available, but getting to those spots might be difficult in the upcoming weeks.

If you are planning on visiting the Archives anytime this year, it would be best to look at the MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Construction website, construction.msu.edu, for the most up-to-date information and detour maps before arriving. If you need further clarification, you can contact the Archives at 517-355-2330 or archives@msu.edu and we will do our best to direct you to the nearest available parking.

To learn more about the Wilson Road Extension Project, visit http://ipf.msu.edu/construction/projects/wilson-extension.html and check out the flyer that details the different phases of the project, http://ipf.msu.edu/_files/pdfs/wilson-road-flyer-021318.pdf.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.


Men surround a tractor to begin construction. On the back: “excavation, research greenhouses on Farm Lane c. 1949.” (A001432)