From its earliest years, the records of the University have been collected and preserved on an informal basis by esteemed faculty, staff, and even former presidents. These people felt the history of the University was important to maintain, even if there was no office officially responsible for that duty. Throughout the years there were six of these College Historians – T. C. Abbot, Robert C. Kedzie, William James Beal, Frank Kedzie, Elida Yakeley, and Madison Kuhn.

In the 1960s another professor became interested in preserving the history of the University. William H. Combs had served a distinguished career at the University, which included serving as a professor of history, assistant to President John Hannah, and later as Director of University Services. While working as an administrator he wanted to see a permanent office responsible for managing University records. In 1968 Combs was appointed by the Board of Trustees as MSU’s first Director of Archives, even though the University Archives had not yet been created.

Combs visited numerous archival repositories, and attended professional meetings in order to make his recommendations to the Board of Trustees as to how the archives should be structured. On November 21, 1969, the Board of Trustees formally established the University Archives with responsibility for collecting and preserving inactive records for all units in the University which have legal, administrative, fiscal, or historical value. The recommendations by Combs were the basis for the structure of the University Archives. The archives also serves as a repository for the personal papers of faculty, administrators, and alumni. In the mid-1970s a records management program was added to the University Archives making the preserving of the University’s records a more efficient process.

The Historical Collections represent material that are not directly related to MSU, but serve as valuable research materials for people interested in agriculture, Michigan history, or other topics relevant to a land-grant institution. The program has roots going back to 1950 when the MSU Museum, under the directorship of Professor Joseph Stack, expanded its acquisition policy to include historical artifacts and manuscript materials relating principally to rural life.

Recognizing the importance of such a collection to research and teaching, the Museum under director Dr. Rollin Baker established a curatorship of historical artifacts and manuscripts with Dr. Frank Elliot as the first curator. Succeeding him in this work was Dr. Marvin Cain, whose efforts led to the establishment of the program in Land Grant Research. The objective of this program was to collect research materials on the origins and development of the land grant philosophy in education.

In July 1967 the Historical Collections and the program in Land Grant Research were detached from the Museum and made a separate unit in the administrative structure of the University under the supervision of the Provost. On September 1, 1970 the Board of Trustees administratively joined the Historical Collections with the archives under the title University Archives & Historical Collections, with the provision that the Land Grant Research program be a part of the Historical Collections.

15 responses

16 10 2009
Frank Scurley

I dont know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

…..Frank Scurley

17 10 2009

Awesome blog!

I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

18 01 2010
don mooradian

I am looking for photos or memories of Peoples Park called Free in spring April/May/June 1970.
Don Mooradian

28 08 2010
Soccer Store

Nice! I facebooked this

1 03 2011
Conveyancing quotes

I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to achieve my goals. I certainly love reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!

12 04 2011

a very good read very good blog will be looking out for more of these blogs

17 04 2011
Katalog WWW

Hey! Very nice post! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing … I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also …

10 05 2011
Erma Rosano

I don’t normally comment on blogs.. But nice post! I just bookmarked your site

16 05 2011
Jenna Hubenthal

Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and terrific design and style.

13 06 2011

Thanks for the post I actually learned something from it. Very good content on this site Always looking forward to new post.

23 06 2011
Galen Gilberti

Great blog, Just wanted to comment that i can not connect to the rss stream, you might want install the right wordpress plugin for that to workthat.

23 08 2012
Bill Sutherland

Is this the Wolverine magazine that H.P. Lovecraft had a short story published in December 1920? The story is called The Street.

24 08 2012

This is not the same Wolverine magazine. Our Wolverine was the yearbook at Michigan State from the early 1900s through the mid-1970s. It was published once annually and focused on activities at MSU.

28 01 2017
Cynthia Martlock

I attended MSU from 1983-1985 and worked as a staff photographer for the Michigan State News paper, and I also was a founding member of the MSU equestrian team. I would like to aquire the MSU yearbooks for theses years and any newspaper published photos of mine during these years.

30 01 2017

Thanks for your comment, Cynthia. We have copies of the 1983-1985 yearbooks available for viewing in the University Archives’ Reading Room during our normal business hours. We don’t sell any of our materials. I would suggest checking either MSU Surplus or eBay for copies to purchase.

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