Summer’s Almost Gone…

28 08 2017

It has been a very busy summer at the MSU Archives.  Before we get started on what is to be a fun and productive fall, let’s recap a few of the big events of the summer.

Grandparents University

We have been participating in the Alumni Association’s Grandparents University for many years, and it’s always a rewarding experience. This year we taught one session titled “College Then and Now” to 17 grandparents and their grandchildren.  They enjoyed a short presentation about college life through the years, and got to peruse scrapbooks created by students in the 1910s.  Many participated in fun activities like making postcards, writing letters with dip pens, and using a typewriter.


Grandparents and their grandchild looking at student directories during the MSU Archives’ Green and White Night Open House

As part of Grandparents University, the Alumni Association held a Green and White Night tailgate in the courtyard between Akers, Hubbard, Fee, and Conrad Halls.  It featured food, music, games, and a giant inflatable Sparty.  The MSU Archives hosted an open house during Green and White Night.  Approximately 75-100 people dropped in to view materials from our collections, and to chat with the archivists.  We had a scavenger hunt style trivia contest, where participants hunted for answers in the displayed materials.


Giant inflatable Sparty at Green and White Night

Alumni University (formerly Alumni Reunion Days)

This year the Alumni Association invited us to host a tour for Alumni University.  Twenty-five enthusiastic alumni came to the archives to tour the reading room, staff area, and a display of materials from our collections.  Unfortunately, the bus driver got lost on the way and the group arrived late.  As a result, we did not have time to show them our high-density storage area.  The group was very engaged in the photographs, documents, ephemera, and other materials on display.  They also asked many thoughtful questions.

We also created a pop up exhibit for the hospitality room at the Kellogg Center for Alumni University.  We filled the room with reproductions of photographs and publications from the mid-1960s through the early 1990s.  Alumni were asked to jot down a few memories of their student days at Michigan State to be preserved in the MSU Archives.

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Photo of WDBM DJ in 1989. This is one of the images displayed in the Alumni University Hospitality Room

Collections Update

Despite being busy with events, classes, and researchers, we arranged and described many new collections, including:


Pages from Mary Neller’s college scrapbook (Walter Neller family papers, scrapbook #3)


Upcoming Society of American Archivists Workshops at MSU

24 08 2017

The early bird deadline is fast approaching for the following Society of American Archivists Workshops in East Lansing, Michigan.

Copyright Issues for Digital Archives [DAS]

East Lansing, MI / Michigan State University / September 21, 2017


Early-Bird deadline – August 29

Copyright Issues for Digital Archives covers copyright legal issues specific to archives of digital material. You’ll examine the impact of electronic technologies on the long-held law and tenets of copyright, including digital rights management and acquiring and advising on the use of rights in records. You’ll look at the basic text of relevant federal statutes and significant case law as well as examine case studies. A very brief review of copyright essentials will be provided to ground the discussion. The focus of the day will be on how to think through and identify options for resolving the most commonly encountered.

Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives [DAS]

East Lansing, MI / Michigan State University / September 22, 2017


Early-Bird deadline – August 29

Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives covers privacy and confidentiality legal issues specific to archives of digital material. You’ll examine the intersection of (and the tension between) privacy/confidentiality, free speech, and freedom to research/write, and focus on how electronic records and the digital realm have altered the scene. You’ll look at privacy and confidentiality issues in the context of third-party rights, donors, special situations such as medical and education records, national security legislation, and the overriding impact of the digital world. Through case studies, you will examine specific situations pertinent to the work of archivists. The focus of the day will be on how to think through and identify options for resolving the most commonly encountered privacy and confidentiality legal issues regarding electronic records.


We will also be hosting two other Society of American Archivists workshops in November.

Arrangement and Description of Digital Records, Parts I and II

East Lansing, MI / Michigan State University / November 2-3, 2017

Register Part 1:    Early-Bird deadline  – October 2

Register Part 2:  Early-Bird deadline  – October 3

This course introduces you to processing strategies that are applicable to born-digital records, with an emphasis on basic concepts that archivists use to establish descriptive control over digital content. You’ll learn about standards and tools that can be used to implement an integrated processing strategy. You’ll also participate in a set of instructor-led exercises that arrange and describe some digital records in ways that maintain the integrity and authenticity of the digital records.

The Forgotten Class Stone

17 07 2017

Class of 1900 posing with their stone; June 15, 1900 (A005318)

An icon on the campus of Michigan State University, the Rock that resides off Farm Lane has been a meeting point and photograph backdrop for generation of students. Most know the Rock as a brightly-colored billboard that anybody can paint anew everyday, but most don’t know it was a class gift from the Class of 1873. It was dug out of the ground and was first placed in the Sacred Circle near Beaumont Tower. It stayed there for 112 years, but September of 1985, it moved to its current location off Farm Lane. Following the Class of 1873’s example, the Class of 1900 decided to gift their own stone. Unfortunately, people will not be able to locate the stone; instead, people will notice the Class of 1900 Fountain that is near Linton Hall. How did the Class of 1900 come to donate two gifts? Here is the tale of the forgotten class stone.


Men pay their respects to the buried stone.  The grave marker reads, ” ’00 Stone Dead”, circa 1900 (A005419)

The Class of 1900 donated their own stone, which was placed near the current Music building. During this time, the seniors and juniors were having a competition to publish the first Wolverine yearbook. The juniors beat the seniors to the punch and won. In response, the seniors stole 75 copies of the yearbook. To retaliate, the juniors buried the Class of 1900 stone, and marked it with a wooden plaque that read, “’00 Stone Dead” in the night. The seniors dug it back up, but later, an “unknown person,” built a fire and set the stone ablaze. To put the fire out, water was thrown on the stone. Unfortunately, the water caused the stone to shatter and became unrecognizable. No person was ever charged with destroying the stone.


The aftermath of the Class of 1900 stone being set on fire and put out with water.  The stone is unrecognizable from what it used to be, circa 1900 (A005345)

Four years later, the Class of 1900 donated the white sandstone rock drinking fountain. This fountain was unique because it worked as a drinking fountain for both people and horses. It was situated between Williams and Linton Hall. People on the sidewalk could walk up to the people side of the fountain while horses on the road could get water from the watering trough side.

As time passed, the driveway leading up to Linton Hall was removed and the fountain was turned off. At some point, flowers were planted into the basins of the fountain. Today, the fountain is still in its original location, but the sidewalk is now located on the watering trough side, so the front is not easily visible.


Man drinking from the Class of 1900 Fountain, date unknown (A001724)

It’s a short story of the forgotten class stone with very little sources. Unfortunately, a firsthand account could have been added but Irma Thompson ’00, when writing her memories of M.A.C., purposely left out that information. She wrote, “I decided to skip the class stone. The story has been told again and again. What new material I could add would still be a betrayal of 1900 to its ancient enemies. I lived with a 1901 graduate for 58 years and never told him what happened to the 75 missing Wolverines.”

To learn more about the Rock, visit


Beal, W.J. (1915). History of the Michigan agricultural college and biographical sketches of trustees and professors. East Lansing: Agricultural College.

“The Drinking Fountain,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 10 No. 2, September 27, 1904

“Fountain by Class of 1900,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 9 No. 39, June 21, 1904

Kuhn, Madison. (1955). Michigan State: The First Hundred Years, 1855-1955. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, Mich.

“Memories”, 1963, n.d., Irma Thompson Papers, UA 10.3.35, Box 761, Folder 1. Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections. East Lansing, Mich.

“The Senior Class Stone,” from the M.A.C. Record, Vol. 5 No. 37, June 5, 1900


Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist


Collections Spotlight: Save Our Sparty!

13 07 2017

Jungwirth sculpting the Spartan

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

One of the most recognizable landmarks at Michigan State University is the Spartan statue. Professor Leonard Jungwirth sculpted the original awe-inspiring Spartan from terra cotta starting in 1943.  Bronze was considered preferable but was not obtainable due to the war.  Over the years, harsh Michigan winters and vandalism caused the formation of cracks in the statue and other damage.  By 1987 it was apparent that the Spartan required significant restoration.  In 1988 a S.O.S. went out to Spartans everywhere – Save Our Sparty!

The Save Our Sparty campaign’s goal was to raise $75,000 for restoration spearheaded by Robert W. Pingle, a sculpture conservator.  The project included repairing the cracks and damaged joints, reversing the discoloration (a greenish hue caused by vandalism in the form of maize and blue paint), modification of the sculpture’s core to allow for expansion, new coating of paint (for easier cleaning), and a mold and plaster cast of the Spartan. Additionally, money was budgeted for site improvements, such as shrubbery, lighting, plaques, and renovating the statue’s base.

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Restoration and site beautification took approximately one year to complete.  A rededication ceremony was held on September 30, 1989.  Honored at the ceremony were Irene Gayas Jungwirth (the widow of the Spartan sculptor Leonard Jungwirth), George Alderton (Lansing State Journal sports writer who selected the Spartans nickname), and Walter Adams (former MSU president and economics professor).

George Alderton and Irene Gayas Jungwirth at the rededication of the Spartan statue, 1989 [A005901]

A new collection of papers and photographs documenting the Save Our Sparty (S.O.S) campaign is now available to researchers at the MSU Archives.  MSU Physical Plant (now IPF) employee Vince Vandenburg, who was a member of the S.O.S. committee, collected the materials.  The collection was originally kept in five binders, labeled “Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1988,” “Sparty,” “Spartan Warrior Casting 1989,” “Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1989,” and “Sparty Newsclippings 1989-1990.”

Robert Pringle inspects the Spartan, 1988

Robert Pringle, sculpture conservator, inspecting the Spartan statue for the first time, 1988. [A006561]

“Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1988” includes dozens of color photos of Pringle’s initial inspection of the Spartan, close ups of the damage, fundraising efforts, the restoration process during August-October 1988, vandalism to the statue in October 1988, and an August press conference featuring MSU President John DiBiaggio, Robert Pringle, Irene Gayas Jungwirth, and George Alderton.  Newspaper clippings about the launching of the S.O.S. campaign are also included.

The Spartan vandalized with yellow paint during the restoration in October 1988 [box 5803, folder 9]

“Sparty” consists of S.O.S. committee working papers, such as work orders, correspondence regarding the project’s development and progress, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings about project progress and fundraising efforts, information about Robert Pringle, and a letter from Irene Gayas Jungwirth with information about the Spartan’s creation and her husband’s career.

Irene Gayas Jungwirth letter

Letter written by Irene Gayas Jungwirth to Vince Vandenburg, September 28, 1988 [box 5803, folder 12]

As the name implies, “Spartan Warrior Casting 1989” contains photographs and information about the casting of a plaster replica of the statue by Robert Pringle.  There is also a copy of the “Sparty Statue Conservation Final Report” from Pringle, dated November 20, 1988.

“Photographs of Sparty Restoration 1989” contains photographs of the rededication ceremony, and of the renovations to the area around the statue.  Also included are newspaper clippings about the rededication ceremony, and correspondence from Irene Gayas Jungwirth.

Finally, “Sparty Newsclippings 1989-1990” has newspaper clippings documenting the success of the S.O.S. project, information about the layer of protective paint that added to enable easier cleaning, and several articles about vandalism in 1990 and the efforts to prevent future incidents.

Cast of the Spartan’s head wearing a fashionable hat [box 5803, folder 15]

Those who would like to view the Save Our Sparty collection are welcome to visit the MSU Archives’ Reading Room during our research hours: The inventory for the Physical Plant Records is available online:

For more information on the history of the Spartan statue see: “The Spartan Statue and his Creator,” written by Jennie Russell


Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist


Alumni Memorial Chapel

26 05 2017

Outside of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; undated (A006549)

Located on Auditorium Rd, situated next to the Kresge Art Center and across the street from Baker Hall, is the Alumni Memorial Chapel. A small chapel, most people walk by paying it no attention, but it is a stop all MSU students and alumni should make. Construction on the chapel began in 1950 and was dedicated on Alumni Day, June 7, 1952. The alumni of MSU paid for the chapel to memorialize all Spartan men and women that served in the United States military forces and died while serving their country during World War II. Inside the chapel’s narthex, above the entrance to the nave, is a sign that reads, “These names represent those who died in the armed forces” and the walls are engraved with 589 names and dates of the men and women that died. Even though the chapel was dedicated to the fallen during World War II, all MSU affiliated men and women that died during military service have been included in the memorial. The earliest dates go back to 1861 when the first graduating class of MSU and students associated with the class of 1861 left to go fight in the Civil War and the latest names from 2005.

The chapel is an interdenominational spiritual center for all faiths and religions. The beauty of the chapel lies in the thirty-eight stained glass windows. The window designs were selected so any person of any faith can enter the chapel and not feel offended by symbols of any religion and most are arranged into groups of three, also called a triptych. The windows on the left side represent education experiences as they relate to modern life. The windows on the right side tell the history of Michigan State University, and the windows at the front represent, “Religion, Brotherhood, and Patriotism.”


Dedication of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; June 7, 1952 (A006547)

Throughout the chapel are thirty-one stones taken from various European bombed cathedrals that have been set into the walls of the narthex, nave, chancel, and basement. Four stones are from England, two from France, twenty-four from Germany, and one from the Netherlands. Examples of some of the stones originate from St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Cathedral of Regensburg in Germany, and more.  There is also a stone from the White House and a stone from the grave of Henry F. Lyte, composer of “Abide with Me” for a total of thirty-three stones.  Along with the stones, in a wooden display case in the narthex, is a collection of old Bibles. Sixty-nine bibles are in different languages, including Swahili and Burmese. Also included is a King James Bible from 1759.

The Alumni Chapel is open year round and holds over 160 weddings annually. A wide assortment of ceremonies take place at the chapel and can only be reserved by only MSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and their parents/grandparents.


Procession during the dedication of the Alumni Memorial Chapel; June 7, 1952 (A006548)

The next time you visit campus, make a detour to the Alumni Chapel if you have never visited it before. It is a beautiful chapel that is open and welcoming to all faiths and a memorial to all the Spartan men and women that died in the line of service to our country.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

Update: If you want to learn more about the history of the Alumni Memorial Chapel and see related documents/photographs, please visit:

Spring Cleaning of Your Office

4 05 2017

As another semester comes to an end with campus being less crowded and bit quieter, it is a good idea to think about cleaning out your office. Make some time this summer to review your file cabinets to decide what materials should be kept in your office or can be transferred over to the University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC).


Accounting Office – New Wing of the Administration Building, 1947 (A006401)


The Records Management program that is part of UAHC is happy to accept your office’s temporary paper records and permanent paper records. We also accept electronic permanent digital records. Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot accept temporary digital records. To learn more about the transfer process for both paper and digital materials, please refer to our website’s Records Transfer, Retrieval, and Destruction page.

The types of materials that should be kept permanently and transferred over to the Archives are:

  • Official correspondence, annual reports, policy and procedure statements
  • Speeches, presentations, and records of university performances/events
  • Minutes and agendas for official university meetings
  • Course syllabi
  • University publications, including newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, newsletters, brochures, posters, and pamphlets
  • Films, tapes, and photographs
  • Student organization records, including minutes, publications, and photographs
  • Faculty papers

All of these materials help tell the history and story of Michigan State University. Once the materials are transferred over to the Archives, they will be processed, arranged, and made publicly available to researchers. If materials need to be kept permanently but not made available to the public, there is a check box on the transmittal form where you can indicate that the materials be made “restricted.”

If you have any questions about which materials need to be kept permanently or only temporary, please review the Archives website. You can also contact the Archives at or by calling 517-355-2330.


Duck swimming on the Red Cedar River, 1971 (A006390)


Enjoy summer break and a quieter campus!

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist

Closed May 8-12, 2017 for Spring Cleaning

20 04 2017

Janitor smoking a pipe places chairs on the tables in the library, 1964

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections will be closed to the public May 8-12 for our annual Spring Cleaning Week. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  Please contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns.  Our contact information can be found here: