The 1918 Flu Pandemic on the Campus of MSU

31 03 2020


The Covid-19 Pandemic, unfortunately, is not the first pandemic to affect the Michigan State University campus. Since the university first opened, campus (to varying degrees) has quarantined individual students and entire buildings and cut semesters short due to the high number of ill students. The last severe global pandemic that directly affected MSU was the 1918 flu pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu. This virus spread worldwide during 1918-1919 and in the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918.


3rd M.A.C. Training Detachment, Company A, 1918, October 1, 1918. (A000203)


With World War I still ongoing, the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) was established in October 1918 at U.S. colleges, including MSU, known at the time as Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.). Eight temporary barracks and two mess halls were built east of the Horticultural Laboratory to accommodate 1,400 men. As soon as the camp opened in early October, the program was halted with the outbreak of the Spanish flu. Sick student soldiers were placed under quarantine. The more serious cases of the flu were first put in the isolation cottages that were built circa 1908 and were near the college hospital to quarantine sick students. This soon became inadequate, and the soldiers were instead confined to the barracks.

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A quarantine was set up that quickly grew to include all of campus except Faculty Row and the Women’s building. Sentries were placed at two “ports of entry” between the post office (near the present day Union Building) and Abbot Hall (near the present day Music Practice building) and the other between the Women’s building (present day Morrill Plaza) and the library (present day Linton Hall). Everybody needed to possess a pass to enter the campus, and due to the quarantine, it helped to halt the spread of the virus to the other students.

Page 7 from 19181101sm

Photo from The M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24 No. 5, November 1, 1918, pg. 7.

Today, the faculty and students of MSU are working together to utilize the university’s 3D printers to help make 3D-printed personal protective equipment to be used by health care providers in the medical field. Back in 1918, the East Lansing and college women also responded. From October 11 to October 18, the women sewed to furnish the S.A.T.C. hospital with 315 sheets, 293 pillowcases, 106 pajama suits, 72 pneumonia jackets, 623 handkerchiefs, 128 cubicals, 45 surgeons robes, 324 masks, 15 surgeons coats, and 262 utility bags. The East Lansing Red Cross also furnished 26 pillows, 1 dozen towels, 1 blanket, 113 glasses of jelly, and 40 bottles of grape juice to the hospital. The Peoples Church of East Lansing became a hostess house for relatives and friends of the sick S.A.T.C. soldiers quarantined to campus. A Mrs. Holt took charge to help find rooms for visiting family members and arranging to meet those people at the trains in Lansing.

Putting their education to practical use, the senior home economic students took over preparing the food to be served to the sick soldiers under the direction of Dean Mary Edmonds, who realized the need for dieticians. All the food was prepared in the home economics laboratories in the Women’s building and served from the basement of the Horticulture building. Around 120 sick patients were fed a light or liquid diet from the home economic students.


Female students in Cooking Class, 1917. (A000500)

The quarantine on campus lasted about three weeks. In the end, around 22 people from campus and Lansing died from the influenza and the S.A.T.C. program was rendered futile since the war ended on November 11, 1918. Worldwide, at least 50 million people died from the 1918 Pandemic with 675,000 deaths occurring in the United States. Hopefully, the Covid-19 Pandemic will not be as deadly as the 1918 Pandemic. Like we did over 100 years ago, Spartans need to do our part to help support the medical personnel by practicing social distancing, washing our hands, and being supportive when we can.


1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Badgley-Malone, Megan. 2018. The Student Army Training Corps at Michigan Agricultural College, May-November 1918 exhibit.

“Epidemic Conditions in General Show Improvement.” The M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24 No. 4, October 25, 1918.

Kuhn, Madison. 1955. Michigan State: The First Hundred Years, 1855-1955, pg. 270-272. Michigan State University Press: East Lansing, Michigan.

“Military Organization of Student Body Complete.” The M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24 No. 2, October 11, 1918.

“S.A.T.C. Guarding Against Epidemic,” The M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24 No. 3, October 18, 1918.

“Spanish Influenza Conditions,” The M.A.C. Record, Vol. 24 No. 5, November 1, 1918.

The M.A.C Record, Vol. 24 No. 6, November 8, 1918.

Widder, Keith. 2005. Michigan Agricultural College: The Evolution of a Land-Grant Philosophy, 1855-1925, pg. 336-337, 408-410. Michigan State University Press: East Lansing, Michigan.

Written by Jennie Russell, Acting Records Manager. Research by Jennie Russell and Megan Badgley-Malone.


MSU Archives Closed Due to COVID-19 Situation

25 03 2020

Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation, the University Archives & Historical Collections is closed until further notice.  During this time, we will continue to provide email and telephone reference support.  Response time will be slower than normal.  All staff are working from home and do not have access to most of our collections.  This means that we may not be able to answer certain reference questions until we to return to campus.  Most duplication requests will also be on hold.

MSU students and faculty who submit reference requests that relate to their online courses will be given special consideration and priority.  Their queries will be answered as quickly as possible.

Please do not let this situation deter you from sending us questions.  Even if we are not able to provide an answer now, we will put your request in the queue to be answered later.

We have many great resources available online.  Check out our Flickr page if you just want to browse photos:  On the Banks of the Red Cedar ( is an excellent resource for a deeper dive into MSU history through digitized publications, A/V, and photos.  You can also brush up on the history of the Rock (, or the Spartan Statue (  A complete list of our websites is available here:

Jungwirth sculpting the Spartan

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

MSU’s First Black Women Cheerleaders

28 02 2020

“Her [Moy’s] dignity and pride in her Blackness will not let her tolerate injustices. […] Somehow, we must restore and justify her faith that we are concerned about her, and her (our) problem.”

-Don E. Coleman, Assistant Director, Dean of Students, January 20, 1970

In the spring of 1968, black student-athletes boycotted games to raise awareness of unfair treatment of black athletes by the MSU Athletics department, and the University in general.  Included in their list of demands was recruitment of black cheerleaders, as there was none on the squad in the 1960s.  According to MSU President Walter Adams, the reason there were no black cheerleaders at MSU prior to 1969 was that the director of the cheer squad, Pauline Hess, did not choose any black students who tried out for the team.

In the spring of 1969, two black women, Lynn Weaver and Celeste Moy, tried out for the team.  During the tryouts, Hess commented that she “would not put anyone on the squad under pressure.”  Weaver presumed the comment was aimed at her and Moy, and reported it to Dr. Robert E. Green, Director of the Center for Urban Affairs.  Green spoke with Hess, who could not explain her comment.  Weaver and Moy were later chosen for the 1969-70 cheerleading squad.


MSU Cheerleaders posing in a pyramid formation during the MSU-Washington game on September 20, 1969. Celeste Moy is in the third row far left and Lynn Weaver is in the third row on the far right.  (A008842)

After making the squad, the women experienced discrimination, such as not being included in some squad meetings, were not offered modeling contracts, and were excluded from TV appearances.  Moy brought these issues to the attention of Don Coleman, Dean of Students, who notified campus administrators in January 1970.

Following local press coverage of the allegations, in May 1970, Hess filed charges with the Anti-Discrimination Board (ADJB) against William Powers (a member of the Black Liberation Front International Investigative Task Force), Don Coleman, and Celeste Moy.  Hess accused them of racism, discrimination, and harassment, as well as uttering false accusations about her to State News reporters.  The ADJB recommended several changes by made to the cheerleading squad, including having demonstrable criteria for the selection of cheerleaders, that MSU should provide Hess with an assistant who is a minority, and revision of the cheerleading regulations. In the fall of 1970, the squad was reorganized as a club, and Hess resigned her post as Director of Cheerleaders.


Two cheerleaders pose with MSU President Walter Adams during a football game. The cheerleader next to Adams is Celeste Moy, one of the first black women cheerleaders at MSU. The Spartan Marching Band and spectators are in the stands behind them. September 1969 (A008707)

Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist.


Adams, Walter. 1971. The test. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

“Cheerleading Incident,” Box 2359, Folder 33. Ruth Simms Hamilton collection (UA 17.269).   Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections. 

The State News.

Remembering a Spartan: Dick Lord

27 02 2020

I am one of the archivists at the University Archives and Historical Collections (UAHC) located here on campus in Conrad Hall.  I am also an avid hockey fan.  While I was on the reference desk, I received an email from a patron requesting information about a past Michigan State College (MSC) student who played on our hockey team.  His name was Dick Lord.  The researcher discovered that before attending MSC, Lord was accepted into McGill University in Montreal, but his scholarship was revoked after the university found out he was Black.  The researcher wanted to know what led him to MSC.  This story piqued my interest, and I wanted to find out more about Dick Lord.  My colleagues, Megan and Susan, had already done some research and compiled most of the sources used for this post.  They did not know Lord was turned away from McGill or why he decided to go to MSC.  It could have be that Dick Lord was recruited by MSC after McGill University turned him away.  McGill’s loss was MSC’s gain.

It was  1949 and Dick Lord, was recruited by Harold Paulsen to play hockey at Michigan State College, he was most likely one of the first Black hockey players to play hockey in the NCAA.  When he first arrived, he played on the freshman team in his first season, because back then, freshman were not eligible to play on the varsity squad.  He played one season for Paulsen at forward and scored eight goals among 17 points.  In his final two seasons at MSC, Lord moved to defense, and was coached by the newly hired Amo Bessone, who began his 28-year career at MSU in 1951.  Lord scored three goals and five points as a junior and 13 points in his senior year.  He led the team in penalty minutes both seasons.  As mentioned earlier, he was considered the first Black player to play college hockey, but some reports claim that Lloyd Robinson may have been the first, at Boston University in 1947.


Dick Lord posing for a MSC Hockey team photo, December 7, 1951. (A009189)

During his time at MSC, Richard Leslie Lord earned a degree in Chemical Engineering, and was a member of the class of 1953.  As a member of the MSC hockey team, he served as co-captain from 1952 to 1953.  He was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and President of the Varsity Club and the Canadian Club.

This era did not see many if any Black hockey players at any level.  Growing up in Montreal would explain his interest in the sport.  His father was an immigrant from Barbados, his mother emigrated from Montserrat, and both parents instilled the ethic of hard work in him and his siblings.  Lord delivered newspapers, groceries, and shoveled snow to earn money.  As a teenager Lord “discovered a passion for sport,” which included hockey and football.  Living in a neighborhood that lacked funding for organized sports led Lord to start his own athletic club called the Tornadoes Boys Club.  It was at this club he put together hockey and baseball teams, which his father coached and mentored the players.  This experience led Lord to Michigan State and an eventual scholarship to play college hockey.

After graduation, Lord moved back to Montreal and became an iconic figure within the community in business and politics and with charitable organizations.  He worked for Dominion Tar and Chemical Co., the City of Montreal and the Immigration Appeal Board of Canada.


Dick Lord at MSU Hockey Bust receiving inaugural Distinguished Spartan Award, April 17, 1989. (A009197)

He was vice president of the Quebec Liberal Party, and in 1965, he ran to represent the Liberal Party in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace riding but lost the race.  In 1989, he was honored with the inaugural Distinguished Spartan Award.  This award honored people who have distinguished themselves within the MSU Hockey program.  He was very involved with his family and his community; and for this, we remember him as a great member of our Spartan Nation.

Written by Tim McRoberts 2/27/2020


Michigan State Hockey Program Directory, Team Awards, P. 142, February 21, 2020

MSU UAHC Photograph Collection

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.

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