Rising to the Challenge: M. A. C. and Food Rationing During World War I

12 03 2018

Potato Crop Photo

There seems to be nothing more patriotic than sacrifice, especially when your country needs you. The sacrifice that most people think of are the lives of the servicemen and women who choose to fight for their country, but what about the sacrifices made at home? How do the people who stay home contribute to the war effort? By rationing food, particularly wheat and sugar. Food rationing is a common enough practice during war, and Michigan Agricultural College was no different during World War I.

“War bread” was the name for the replacement of wheat bread. In an effort to spread the idea of rationing, the M.A.C. women “placed in the corridor of the library building a table on which folders, circulars and literature on food conservation subjects, including recipes for war bread” were made available to the general public. Wheat was supplemented with other ingredients such as “barley, corn flour, cornmeal, bran flour, oat flour, rolled oats, boiled rice, rice flour, buckwheat” and even potatoes. While we are not at war ourselves, there is a familiarity in the dietary habits of the war restricted people of the past and our diet obsessed modern day culture. Some of these ingredients are still in use for gluten-free products.

Flour Ration Poster


The home economics course also stressed the need to cut back on wheat flour in their August 1918 edition of the extension course notes. In the introduction of the section titled “Breads for War Time,” it is stated that “…Allied countries have agreed that their wheat bread shall contain 20 per cent [sic] of other grains than wheat….no patriotic American housewife will use less than that amount until the necessity of helping our allies and those others dependent on us for food is passed.” It is made perfectly clear that this was not a request or a guideline. Not only is the standard clearly set on how much wheat was to be used, but a disregard for said standard would call into question the loyalty of the woman who dared to bake bread with more than 20% wheat flour.

Sugar had similar standards to bread, although some of the substitution options would have been more palatable than the bread options. Once again, it is the home economics course notes was the source providing alternative options when rationing sugar in cooking. Foods such as cereal, cakes and desserts were the main focuses in decreasing sugar, and many of the suggestions for substitution would have been dried fruits, corn syrup, or leaving out sugar altogether if possible: “Eat fruits for the fruit flavor–they contain their own sugar….Use plain cakes….Use corn syrup, cane syrup…apple or other fruit syrups, molasses, honey, jelly or jam made from syrup, in place of sugar.” There are also several alternative recipes listed to help students cope with the new war time diet they were facing. One such recipe was for apple pie. The ingredients listed were “2 C sliced apples/ ½ C corn syrup/ 1 T corn starch [sic]/ ½ t cinnamon,” and the directions were as minimal as the ingredients used: “Arrange apples in tin lined with plain pastry.  Combine corn syrup, corn starch and cinnamon and pour over the apples.” The replacement ingredient for sugar would have been the corn syrup, which would have allowed for meals to continue on with as few changes as possible.

Even traditional social events were subject to substituting their food. Every year, there was a barbecue held in front of Wells Hall. However, there had recently been a campus wide event to raise money for Liberty Bonds, so “ after…feeling a wee bit poverty stricken…the class of 1920 decided that it would be more in keeping with the wishes of Mr. Hoover to have a barbecue without the roast ox. As a substitute…was that stable luncheon delicacy, the Club C doughnut.” It was noted that the change in protein choice “was purely a wartime function,” so this wouldn’t be a new tradition, but rather, a show of support for the country and soldiers at war.

It was apparent that everyone was doing their part to ration what they could on campus, from student events to the departments to the students themselves. While it is apparent that most of the substitutes were meant to keep life going as similarly to before the war as possible, the differences are still there. Therefore, the resolve to help with the war from student and faculty alike is impressive, and the act of sacrificing such staples from a diet such as wheat, sugar and meat shows a commitment that is to be admired.

By Catharine Neely

“M. A. C. Women Push Food Campaign.” MAC Record, 9 Nov. 1917, vol. 23, no. 8.

“Breads for War Time,” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“How Can I Use Less Sugar?” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“How Can I Use Less Sugar?” Cooperative Extension Course Notes in Serial 00035, folder 35.

“Meatless Barbecue Big Success.” MAC Record, 9 Nov. 1917, vol. 23, no. 8.

Scrapbook History: Walter G. Knickerbocker

31 03 2016



It has been awhile since we have written a Scrapbook History feature.  I recently visited the stacks and grabbed a scrapbook at random: #54.  This one was created by Walter G. Knickerbocker, an engineering student in the class of 1916.  It seemed apropos since earlier this month marked the 100th anniversary of the Engineering Building fire, and the near death of engineering as a major at Michigan State.


Walter G. Knickerbocker, of Clio, Michigan, studied Engineering at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) from 1912 to 1916.  He was active in a number of clubs, including the Engineering Society, Phylean Literary Society (now Beta Kappa Fraternity), and the engineering honorary society Tau Beta Pi.  Following graduation, Knickerbocker moved to Detroit and became a meter superintendent for Detroit Edison.

The scrapbook itself was a mass produced item in college green with the white intertwined MAC logo and Knickerbocker’s name embossed in gold on the front.  The inside is a reflection of college life in the 1910s.  The first few pages are devoted to autographs.  Friends and acquaintances wrote their names, hometowns, birth dates, and “happy thoughts,” which consisted of favorite phrases and reminiscences.

The rest of the scrapbook contains programs and tickets from campus activities, receipts, report cards, news clippings, photographs of family and friends, and postcards from various Michigan cities such as Flint, Pontiac, Mt. Pleasant, Alma, St. Charles, and Port Huron, as well as El Paso, Texas, and Mexico.

One of the more interesting items is a note regarding a Tau Beta Pi meeting.  It has a list of items that he must bring to the meeting that requires some mathematical aptitude to decipher.  The note contains the warning “Do not fail in a single item.”


Tau Beta Pi meeting invitation

Also included are newspaper clippings and a photo of the Engineering Building fire that occurred on March 5, 1916.  Sadly missing from the scrapbook is his reaction to the Engineering Building fire.  As an engineering senior it must have been an important event in his academic career.  Since he left no record, it is impossible to know if Knickerbocker lost any equipment or schoolwork in the fire.  The fire was a traumatic event for the college.  It destroyed the entire building and the neighboring Engineering Shops.  Thankfully, no one was injured, but it left the Engineering department without classrooms, offices, shops, and equipment.  Tau Beta Pi also lost their meeting space and everything in it.  The engineering program would have been scrapped completely if not for a generous donation from local automobile industrialist Ransom E. Olds, and the dedication of the college’s administration, staff, students, and alumni.  The engineering honorary also contributed by raising money for the reconstruction of the building and engineering program.

Walter G. Knickerbocker’s scrapbook is open to researchers during the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections’ normal hours of operation (http://archives.msu.edu/about/contact.php?about_contact).  The finding aid for the collection is available online: http://archives.msu.edu/findaid/ua10-3-19.html.

Written by Megan Badgley Malone, collections & outreach archivist


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

Greek Life at MSU

17 03 2014

Student groups and organizations have always been a part of the MSU’s history. Literary societies, activism groups and even squirrel watching clubs have shaped student life at the University since its beginning. MSU has also been home to one of the most iconic collegiate groups that has spurred on movies, books and television series, Greek Life.

Greek Life started at M.A.C in 1872 with the establishment of Delta Tau Delta. They were followed by Phi Delta Theta in 1873. However in 1896 the faculty banned national Greek organizations from forming at the College. Phi Delta Theta chose to be recognized as a local organization by changing their name to the Phi Delta Society. Due to the ban, many non-Greek societies began to form. The Union Literary Society, the Hesperian Literary Society and the Excelsior Society were among them.  In 1891 the first all-women’s group, the Feronian Society, was established. They were founded just five years before the creation of the Women’s Program in 1896. Academic and literary societies sought not only to have a forum for intelligent conversations, but also to plan and attend extravagant events and balls.

Members of the Phi Delta Society in the 1920 Wolverine Yearbook

Literary Societies also sought off campus housing, at the exclusivity of their members. However President Snyder was great proponent of the collegiate dormitory system and found this idea to be elitist and unnecessary. In 1905 the College did not have enough living spaces to accommodate all of its students. The faculty relented and allowed the Hesperian Society and the Colombian Society to buy its own meeting houses off campus.


The Trimoira Literary Society established at M.S.C in 1913

The 1920s gave way to an increase in students attending M.A.C and the lack of housing led faculty to allow off campus housing for more society members. In 1921 the ban on national Greek organizations was lifted and the first organizations to be established were the Alpha Gamma Delta and Alpha Phi Sororities. Alpha Phi was created by members of the Feronian Society.  Following them were the Forensic Society, who became Lambda Chi Alpha and the agriculturally based fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho.

Members of Alpha Phi in 1925

Throughout the 1920s more and more literary societies became affiliated with national Greek organizations. The Aurorean Literary Society became Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity in 1923. Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity was forged from the Dorian Literary Society in 1924. In 1925 the Orphic Literary Society became Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. From then on Greek life grew and became an integral part of MSU student life.

Competition has always been an important aspect of Greek Life. Chapters held Tug of War across the Red Cedar River, Chess Tournaments in local houses, as well as academic achievement contests throughout the school year. In 1930 Sigma Kappa Sorority won an exciting victory for overall best GPA on campus. They narrowly defeated the previous year’s winner, Alpha Chi Omega.

During the 1940s, World War II led to an overall decline in male enrollment at M.S.C. Fraternity houses were used to lodge coeds, due to a lack of women’s housing. Houses were also used by the Army and local R.O.T.C chapters. After the War, the G.I Bill allowed more and more students to attend college and Greek Life at M.S.C once again became a popular student activity.

In 1948 the first African American fraternity at the college was established by the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. They were committed to philanthropic service to all mankind and to the advancement of interracial groups at the college. The first African American sorority at M.S.C. was Alpha Kappa Alpha. They were established in 1954 and engaged in such as activities as reading to the blind and giving campus tours. Today MSU proudly hosts all nine historically African American Greek organizations on its campus.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in the 1950s

In the 1950s Greek life continued to expand. In 1959 the count was up to 20 nationally recognized sororities and 34 fraternities. All of these organizations participated in campus wide events such as Spartacade, Greek Sing, Water Carnival, Greek Week and Homecoming festivities. One fall, the Kappa Sigma fraternity bought a World War II era plane from a local bar owner for $40. They set it up outside of their house so that it appeared to have crashed into the side of their house. They placed a dummy inside and splattered the whole thing in ketchup for dramatic effect. A sign beside it read “He rushed Kappa Sigma but didn’t quite make it!”

1957 photo of Winter Carnival Float created by Alpha Omicron Pi and Theta Chi

1951 outdoor homecoming display of William and Mary’s execution on the lawn of Phi Delta Theta.

Greek Life saw its decline in the 1970s. Campus dorm life became less restrictive and the traditions of fraternity and sorority members seemed to be out of date. Many chapters closed due to lack of membership; including Alpha Omicron Pi in 1972 (the chapter was re-established in 1989).

In more recent years Greek life at MSU has seen a steady increase with recruitment and rush numbers moving well into the thousands. In November of 2013, 141 years after the first fraternity established at MSU, the Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council became recognized by the University.

Photo courtesy of MSU GreekLife: Representatives from Panhellenic Council and Interfraterity Council pose with President Simon and others at the recognizing of Greek Life by the University.


Michigan State University Archives, “African American Presence at MSU; Historic Firsts.” Accessed March 12, 2014. http://archives.msu.edu/collections/african_presence_firsts.php.

Michigan State University Greek Life, “MSU Greek Life: History and Future.” Last modified January 01, 2014. Accessed March 14, 2014. http://www.msugreeklife.org/history-and-future.

The 1959 Wolverine Yearbook, Michigan State University.

Thomas, David A. Michigan State College: John Hannah and the Creation of a World University. 1926-1969. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2008.

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

Written By Caroline Voisine

A.W.S Handbooks and other MSU guides

25 02 2011

“HELLO! — — —

This handy little book is for YOU. Of course it won’t answer all your questions – but it will give you an idea of what goes on around campus. You know, it may even be a life-saver more times than you suspect … so how ‘bout getting acquainted?”

That was the greeting in the beginning of the 1949-50 A.W.S (Associated Women Students) Handbook “Who’s Who and What’s What”. This guide, given to female residents at the beginning of each school year included everything from dormitory regulations such as shower, typing, and radio/phonograph hours, smoking rules, and overnight guests in college residences to traditions at MSC that were the students’ responsibility to uphold. They began distribution in the late 1930s and continued until the early 1970s.

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Each issue (which came out annually) contained generally the same information: a list of board members, greetings from advisers, traditions, the AWS constitution and their bylaws. Every year however, there were special highlighted sections.  For example, the 1940-41 handbook had a “Dear Diary” section which would highlight events going on in a coed’s daily life such as how “the handsomest sophomore walked [her] home” and how she attended sorority tea, the Michigan State vs. Michigan football game, a Coke date at the Union Grill, and the Coed Carnival. The 1941-42 handbook highlights a “Letters Home” section where Joyce sends letters home to Sally Jean. She raves about the activities taking place on campus as well as her dorm, her “super swell” dorm-mates, and her “roomy”.

Campus activities and pieces of advice are also highlighted in these handbooks. For example, the 1946-1947 AWS Handbook warns female students of the so-called “male territories”:

“There is one place in East Lansing that is strictly for members of the opposite sex. Don’t let anyone send you into the Smoke Shop, for it is male territory with no exceptions. The lower lounge of Union building is also a place which men call their own”.

There were even guides of how to dress located on the back of the 1960s handbooks! – Check out the picture below!

The fight song was also included in the booklet for the new students.  It was encouraged that students should “learn them quick like a bunny”! Notice the changes in lyrics over the years:

“On the banks of the Red Cedar – is a college known to all. Their specialty is winning, and those Spartans play football. Spartan teams are never beaten – all through the game they fight. Fight for the only colors, Green and White. Smash right through that line of blue, watch the points keep growing. Spartan teams are bound to win, they’re fighting with a vim. RAH RAH RAH! See their line is weakening; we’re going to win this game! FIGHT FIGHT RAH TEAM FIGHT! Victory for M.S.C!”

The Spartan Women’s League also created etiquette handbooks for female and male students. This book is a definite favorite of mine for it outlines, in great detail, things young women and men should know about the college life. Here are some brief examples of the topics discussed…


“Having chaperons and guests at your parties and dances gives you another chance to know your faculty outside of class situations”

Teas and Receptions:

“At a tea, you are required to remain only long enough to finish your drink, about fifteen to thirty minutes. When leaving, say a few words of appreciation to your hostess and then depart.”


“If you are introduced to someone who holds out his hand, shake the hand, but not too firmly or limply. A good firm hand-clasp is customary among men, but it is an uncommon practice with girls.”

Table Etiquette:

A long list of advice is listed for the table etiquette section. There is everything you need to know from techniques for the use of silverware, to how to eat certain foods, to accessory techniques. My favorite piece of advice is in regards to eating a cherry or grapes with seeds,

“…remove the pit or seeds from your mouth between your thumb and first finger.” (so specific!)

Dating Courtesies:

“Don’t be a public liability by displaying affection which creates distasteful impressions on our visitors…As for petting…do what you feel is according to your moral standards.”

Classroom Etiquette:

“Pity the poor instructor who gets out of bed to come to his eight o’clock class of nodding heads with half-shut eyes…If the lecture is particularly boring, read a book, draw pictures, do the crossword puzzle, that is — do anything but SLEEP or TALK.”

The handbook contains many other tips, but those are just a few of my favorites! These books became very helpful for first year female students on campus and still are a gem today. They are extremely fun to pan through and make me think…if they were to hand out a guidebook to first year females today – what kind of information would be in it?

High Hopes for a Snow Day

1 02 2011

“They Said Six to Eight Inches: 24-inch snowfall brings freedom, wild weekend”

“Snow forces 2nd MSU shutdown ever”

Those were the titles on the front pages of the January 30, 1967, and April 4, 1975, State News (Note: another snow storm occurred in 1978). Will tonight be a repeat??

Forecasters are stating that East Lansing will be hit with anywhere from 10-14 inches of snow and receive gusts of wind measuring up to 40 miles an hour. I don’t think many students care exactly what kind of weather or how much snow we will  get, I think that we are all concerned about whether or not we’ll have classes tomorrow. It is every student’s never ending dream to have a snow day. We’ve loved them since pre-school and we love them even more now.

Did you know that MSU has only been shut down 3 times due to snow storms in its 156 year history?

January 27, 1967

Within 24 hours, 20.4 inches of snow fell throughout the University. All classes and university operations were suspended for two full days.  The forecast only stated that snow accumulation would be between 6-8 inches…boy were they wrong!  This snow storm created lines of 75-100 people, carrying suitcases, sleds, toboggans, and crates all for lugging home their Friday night drinks.  Tackle football games were played around campus and Grand River restaurants were full of hungry students. Olin had to address 18 injured students as a result of the snow and the police were working anywhere from 24-36 hour shifts.  The sheet of white fluffy stuff truly left the campus in a state of freedom…for the students at least.

* The University was completely closed. Classes were canceled and non-academic staff were told not to report. This was the first time the university was closed due to weather. No one was allowed to drive on campus except faculty and necessary services personnel*

April 3, 1975

“April storm brings flakes not flowers”. One wouldn’t necessarily expect a huge snow fall in April, but in 1975 it happened. Nearly 13 inches of snow fell on the campus within 15 hours. MSU shut itself down for the second time and students took it to their advantage. Dorm food trays were used as “mini toboggans” for sliding down the sloped roof of Munn Arena and snowball fights were breaking out everywhere on campus. And of course, the bars all filled up. Students were stated saying that they had too much work to catch up on so they instead decided to go to the bars to relax and enjoy their day off.

*The University was completely closed. This was considered the 2nd University shutdown ever due to weather*

January 26-27, 1978

This snow storm is perhaps the most remembered out of the three, not only because of its (kind of) recent occurrence, but because of the activities that resulted from it. The high winds along with the 18-inch blanket of snow that fell on the University prompted President Harden to close down MSU.  Michigan was declared to be in a state of emergency and it took work crews and emergency vehicles nearly 80 hours to clear the roads. MSU crews were also trying to clear the [then] 131 miles of campus pavement. Students took advantage of their time off and many went out to frolic in the snow. Others chose to go stock up on beer and alcohol to celebrate their time off. The 1978 Red Cedar Log Yearbook quotes one student stating, after a trip to Goodrich’s ShopRite, “The store was mobbed…Their supply of beer was gone in a day”.  Campus Corners II also sold out on their entire inventory of beer! Even the bar Dooley’s created a “Blizzard Special” where beer and mixed drinks were sold for half off.  Needless to say, I believe this snow storm didn’t disappoint the student body.

*Classes were canceled for 2 consecutive days however the university was closed only on January 25th. This was the first time that classes were canceled for two consecutive days*

So the question remains…will history repeat itself? Will MSU students and faculty be graced with a snow day tomorrow?  I personally don’t think the University will shut down again, however I do have faith that some classes might be cancelled.  It looks like we’ll have to find out tonight…


Merrell, Jeff. “Snow Forces 2nd MSU Shutdown Ever.” State News [East Lansing] 4 Apr. 1975. Print.

Mollison, Andrew. “They Said Six to Eight Inches.” State News [East Lansing] 30 Jan. 1967. Print.

The Spirit of Michigan State, J. Bruce McCristal

1978 Red Cedar Log Yearbook

Student Life Then and Now

25 01 2011

The beginning of the spring semester two weeks ago breathed life back into MSU. Sidewalks on campus were occupied by bustling students, bookstores had lines out the door, and residence halls were once again full. The beginning of a semester also brings on the anxiety of having to dig into one’s pockets and bank accounts to fund their time at MSU; tuition, books, bus passes, sporting event tickets, and other expenses are a few examples. As a new student intern at the University Archives and Historical Collections, I began looking through books to not only familiarize myself with the history of MSU, but also to look for information for the On the Banks timeline. While going through a series of timelines in different books I began to wonder, did students in the earliest days of MSU history have to endure as much stress as I am going through with these new classes and paying for books and other expenses?  What did their average day look like compared to mine?

MSU currently has about 47,200 students with a little over half of them being female. There are numerous courses and majors to choose from which provides students with the ultimate freedom regarding their education. Students attend class beginning as early as 8:00am and can finish as late as 10:00pm. After classes, students flee back to their dorm rooms or off campus (where most students live), do their homework, go to work, and get ready for the next day. The weekends are full of fun as students attend on campus and off campus events.

Earlier life at MSU was a little different…

ca. 1900

In the first few decades of the university, from the 1850s to the 1870s students would occupy the boarding halls on campus, Saint’s Rest or College Hall. Remember, when the university was founded, only men attended. As many as four young men would occupy a room and two students shared a bed. A small wooden stove heated their room and each student would rent furniture. In their new homes students would study, argue with roommates, sleep, plot pranks, keep diaries, and write to friends back home. Eventually, when Williams hall was built in 1870, the university allowed for the admittance of women.

The students’ curriculum was planned out for them already. There was no stress of choosing a major or scheduling class. There were set courses of instruction to take for each year at the university, and it wasn’t until 1883 when students could choose three out of five studies. The set courses of instruction would range from arithmetic, English grammar, natural philosophy, vegetable physiology, inductive logic, political economy, and technology. Students would begin their day by attending chapel exercises at 5:30am which would be followed by breakfast at 6am. Students were divided up into three sections, and at this time the first section of students would engage in manual labor around campus which would last from 6:30-9:30am.

Meanwhile, classes for the other two sections would begin at 7am. Each class was about an hour long and would differ in length depending on the course. For example, praxis was only a three week course while botany was ten weeks. (Note: Courses would change from year to year).  At 12:30pm all classes would be finished, food would be provided and all students engaged in manual labor from 1:30-4:30pm. Women were to follow a little different course load. They would take classes such as cooking, sewing, calisthenics, and domestic art.

A lot has changed from the earlier days of MSU. I couldn’t even image having to wake up to attend church service as 5:30am or engage in manual labor after a long day of class! Not only that, but to have to share a bed with someone or not have any choice in what courses to take would not be fun. Needless to say, MSU students today shouldn’t take for granted their 10:20am classes!



History of Michigan Agricultural College, W.J. Beal