Scrapbook History: Leon L. Budd

21 01 2015

The Michigan State University Archives hold materials that are decades and even hundreds of years old. Recently, pulled from the shelf was a scrapbook from a student that graduated from this university in 1915, exactly one hundred years ago.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Leon L. Budd’s memory book has specific pages for events to record throughout his college career. He records the scores of various sporting games and writes “Yell – Rah! Rah! Rah! Uzz! Uzz! Uzz! M-A-C!”. There is even a section for interactions with professors, where Budd notes that one of the most valuable lessons he learned was to “study chemistry”.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

The next section lists his dear friends, along with their happiest memories at Michigan Agricultural College. “It’s never late till 12 pm and it’s early after that” wrote John S. Hancock of Hart, Michigan. Budd’s friends proved to have some fun with the advice “If you can’t be good be careful”. A couple students bonded over their hall placement with the saying “To Hell with Wells and Abbot its Williams Hall for us” and the rivalry continued “To H—L with Williams – Wells is The Gentlemen’s Dorm”.
The happy thoughts did not disappoint, below are a few favorites:
“Of what shall man be proud of if he is not proud of his friends”
“MAC did it”
“RAH! RAH! For M.S.C.”
“Eat, drink, and be merry”
And of courses they remind us that Michigan’s cold hit this generation as well; “It’s so cold in here that the thermometer is froze”

The chants and songs during the football games shows just how much tension there was (and continues to be) between State and Michigan. Here are just a few of the “College Yells”:

We’ll rub it into Michigan, Michigan, Michigan;
Rub it into Michigan, M.A.C. can.
On to old Michigan.
Rub it into Michigan, M.A.C. can.

Hi-le, hi-lo, hilo,
Michigan’ chances grow slimmer and slimmer
Hi-le, hi-lo, hilo
Michigan’s chances must go.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

School dances were also recorded, with marks next to the name of the dances done at a party. Budd attended quite a few dance parties during his time at Michigan State.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Mr. Budd also has some memorabilia from days as an engineering student. One poster depicts a skeleton at a desk with an open book to “MAC valves”. The bottom of the poster reads “=Ye=Faithful=Engineer=”.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

The following pages are filled with pictures from Leon Budd’s time at MSC. They include the “Fresh-Soph Rush. 1912. ’16 vs ‘15”, places on campus, his friends, his love interest, and himself. Following those are pages of classic scrapbook findings, the football program, class schedules, and newspaper clippings from the games.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

We really get a glimpse into life at Michigan State during Leon Budd’s time here. The buildings have changed, the style is different, and the course options have diversified, but the smiles and comradely seen between Budd and his classmates seem to be an everlasting effect of time at Michigan State.

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 UA 10.3.124

Scrapbook #320 – UA 10.3.124

Written by Laura Williams

Answers to the American Archives Month 2013 Trivia Contest

5 11 2013


Our 2013 Trivia Contest featured questions about athletics at Michigan State University.  Twenty-eight people entered and two people answered all eight questions correctly.  We will be contacting the winners soon.

The staff at the University Archives & Historical Collections would like to thank everyone for playing and we hope that you will participate in our contest again next year!


1. What was the first year the Michigan State football team played in the Big Ten Conference?

b. 1953

Michigan State was officially admitted into the Big Ten Conference in 1949.  Since the football schedules are set years in advance, the Spartans had to wait until 1953 to play their first Big Ten football game.

2. Which Michigan State boxer was undefeated in every college bout he fought?

d. Chuck Davey

Chuck Davey (center)

Chuck Davey (center)

Boxer Chuck Davey went undefeated in every college bout he fought, was 3 times voted the NCAA’s outstanding boxer, and fought at the 1948 Olympics.

The other three boxers listed as choices in the contest also had notable accomplishments. John Horne won three consecutive NCAA titles between 1958 and 1960, was a two-time All-American, and competed without a regular coach, program or sparring partner.  Herb Odom (1952-1955) was back-to-back NCAA Champion at 147 pounds (1954-1955), led MSU to a 1955 team National Championship, was a two-time All-American (1954-1955), and compiled a 29-5-2 career record.  Choken Maekawa of Hawaii won the 1956 NCAA individual title and was awarded the John S. LaRowe Trophy (outstanding boxer of the tournament).  He was chosen for the 1956 U.S. Olympic team, but did not make weight at the official weigh-in and was disqualified from competition.

Note: According to the U.S. Social Security Death Index, his last name was spelled Maekawa.  In some sources, his last name is spelled Mackawa, hence the misspelling in the trivia contest.

Women's Basketball article from February 1, 1898 issue of the MAC Record

Women’s Basketball article from February 1, 1898 issue of the MAC Record

3. What year did women form their first basketball team at Michigan State?

b. 1898

The first women’s basketball team at Michigan State played against teams such as Lansing High School, the teachers from the Flint School for the Deaf, and the Michigan State Normal School (now known as Eastern Michigan University).

4. Prior to being “The Spartans,” what was Michigan State’s nickname?

d. Aggies

Being an agricultural school, Michigan State’s original nickname was the Aggies. After the 1925 name change from Michigan Agricultural College to Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, a contest was held to pick a new nickname.  Dissatisfied with the winning choice of “Staters,” LSJ sports writer George S. Alderton looked through the other entries and picked “Spartans.”  Unfortunately, it is unknown who submitted the entry.

Gideon Smith

Gideon Smith

5. What year did Michigan State’s first African American athlete, Gideon Smith, begin playing?

c. 1913

Gideon “Charlie” Smith helped the Michigan State football team score their first win against the University of Michigan in 1913.  He played until 1915, leaving with a 17-3 record.  For more about Gideon Smith, please read Steve Grinczel’s article on 

6. In 1895 Shoichi Yabina was the first Michigan State student to participate in which sport?

Shoichi Yebina (front, right side)

Shoichi Yebina (front, right side)

a. Fencing

Shoichi Yabina (class of 1895) participated in the first fencing match at the 1895 MIAA field day.  He defeated his opponent, Mr. Swift, from the Michigan State Normal School (EMU).  The sport was revived in 1924 by French professor Omar M. Lebel, and Joseph Waffa, an Egyptian student.

Note: His last name may have been spelled Yebina.

7. In May 1910 Michigan State faculty approved regulations for student athletes.  Which of these were included?

d. All of the above

The faculty regulations stated that students must compete under their own names, could not be compensated for playing and freshmen were not allowed to play intercollegiate sports.  Additionally, student’s eligibility was limited to three years, the football team could not practice until the school year started, they could only play teams from other colleges, and the number of games played was limited (9 for football, 16 for baseball and basketball).

8. What was the name of the first baseball club formed at Michigan State in 1865?

c. Stars

The Stars baseball club played against teams in the surrounding community.

Sparty the Beloved Spartan

25 07 2012

Professor Jungwirth and President Hannah discuss the logistics of the Sparty statue with a model.

President John A. Hannah is almost without question responsible for more widespread and influential changes to Michigan State University’s administration and student

affairs than any other president in the college’s history.   It follows then, that one of the most recognizable and loved landmarks to come out of the last half century was a product of his time in office: the Spartan Statue.   After Beaumont Tower, Sparty is the second most photographed object on campus, and, knowing the Wolverines, he’s probably the most vandalized.  The Spartan mascot has even been recognized throughout the country—voted the No. 1 mascot in the nation by two different associations, and also dubbed the “buffest mascot” by another group.

The statue itself was erected almost twenty years after the MSU community agreed to be nicknamed the Spartans.  Originally, the students of Michigan Agricultural College went by the name of the Aggies, but when the college changed names to the Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, both faculty and students felt it was also due time for a change in the college’s representative.  The local newspaper held a vote, and the nickname that was actually decided on was the “Michigan Staters.”  Obviously acting under the correct assumption that this nickname was not nearly epic enough for our college, journalist George Alderton from the Lansing State Journal hunted and discovered the runner-up idea for a name: the Spartans.  The name came from a former MSU athlete, Perry Fremont, and shortly thereafter Alderton published his piece referring to the MSU Baseball players as the Spartans.  The name stuck, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sparty resides on campus near Demonstration Hall, at the intersection of Kalamazoo Street, Red Cedar Road, and Chestnut Road.  The statue was created by a professor from the Department of Art and Art History, Leonard D. Jungwirth, and dedicated on June 9, 1945.  The basics of Jungwirth’s process are explained by one of the many books the Archives holds about MSU’s history, “The [terra cotta] clay figure was cast in three sections and fired in industrial kilns at the Grand Ledge Clay Products Company in Grand Ledge, MI.  The hollow cast sections were fused on site, and then concrete cement was poured into the ceramic sections.  Sparty is approximately ten feet tall, and he weighs several thousand pounds.”

President Hannah felt that Sparty was an, “exemplification of the youth and spirit of Michigan State College.”  To Hannah, the Spartan statue was a symbol of the strength, honor, and courageousness which represents the spirit of MSU’s students.

President John Hannah presents his speech “The Spartan” at Sparty’s unveiling ceremony.

MSU’s Basketball Beginnings

21 11 2011

MSU has always taken pride in the men’s and women’s basketball programs and we have every reason to do so. With the women in the spotlight as last season’s Big Ten Champions, and the men this season with their once in a lifetime game played on the USS Carl Vinson, what is there not to talk about? Naturally, I got to wondering the other day as I was watching some Spartan hoops about the beginnings of the program at MSU. So I did a little digging…

When the University first started, sports were not a main priority set forth by the college; actually the odd three term academic year running from February to November prevented sports from being played. When the academic calendar was changed in 1896, athletics were able to be integrated into the university. Baseball was actually the first organized sport at MAC, followed by boxing, football, and finally basketball in 1899.

No one is quite sure who actually brought the sport to MSU. Nonetheless, the first basketball game at MAC  took place on February 27, 1899. The match up was between the MAC Aggies and Olivet College; unfortunately the Aggies lost 6-7. The team at the time had no official coach, but Walter Brainard, the captain of the 1897 football team, served as their manager. This first game was played at the Armory on the site of the current Music Building. The Armory held about 1,200 people and the baskets and backboards were attached flush to brick walls. The overhead girders were so low that some Aggie players would actually loft long shots over them.  Layups were made easier too as it was possible to spring up on a wooden ledge that encircled the Armory just above the heat pipes.

The games were played at the Armory until 1918 when IM Circle, formally known as the women’s gymnasium was built. This facility could accommodate about 3,500 people on bleachers installed on both the floor level and on a balcony level.  In 1930, the location of the basketball games changed again, as the match-ups were now played in the Demonstration Hall Arena. The new facility could hold about 5,500 people and featured a portable floor so that the ROTC could use the area for drills; both programs shared the space in the building. However, because of the fact that this space was shared by ROTC, the Basketball team, and the indoor polo team, the university often faced scheduling conflicts. Dem Hall would serve as the home court of the team until 1940 when it moved to Jenison Gymnasium.  Jenison would prove to be a great space for the games. With a capacity of 12,5000 the games could be attended by a great majority of the student population. Jenison was home to the basketball games for nearly 50 years until the games were played at the current location of the Breslin Center.

Charles Bemies was the first coach of the team, leading the Aggies to a season record of 5-2 during the one season he coached. The first great era of Aggie Basketball, however, came under the leadership of coach Chester Brewer. In the earlier days of athletics of MSU, there was just one coach who handled all the teams, so not only was Brewer in charge of the basketball team, but he was also head coach for the great Aggie football team as well! The MSU men’s basketball program would go on to have a total of 16 coaches, with two that are in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Pete Newell (1950-1954) and Jud Heathcote (1976-1995). Current coach Tom Izzo currently leads the program in all time number of wins.

Believe it or not, the first organized women’s basketball team was actually formed before the men’s. In late January 1898, the Lansing High School women’s team defeated the MAC Women’s basketball team 16-2. A week later, the two teams played again, and much to the Aggies despair, they lost again 26-6. The women played four 10 minute quarters. The team started out in rough shape but eventually improved over time. After these first few inaugural years, intercollegiate women’s basketball at MAC faded away but the competitive athletic spirit lived on as they continued to participate in intramural sports.  In 1899 two teams were organized by the freshmen and one by the sophomores to play against each other. Two years later the top players from six intramural teams made up the varsity women’s squad who would stand as the team ready to accept a game offer from another institution. In 1913, the seniors’ team would ask Norman “Baldy” Spencer, a member of the men’s varsity basketball team to coach them in preparation to play against another ladies team. Eventually, the team would go on to become a part of the women’s intercollegiate league and grow into the program it has become today.


Frimodig, Lyman L., and Fred W. Stabley. Spartan Saga; a History of Michigan State Athletics,. East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1971. Print.

Widder, Keith R. Michigan Agricultural College: the Evolution of a Land Grant Philosophy, 1855-1925. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State UP, 2005. Print.