Indispensable account of the college’s early years. Limited printing of only 3,000 copies includes an insert of Newman’s 1915 map (see below).
Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph. D., ed. Semi-Centennial Celebration of Michigan State Agricultural College. 1908. Available online from the MSU Library Digital Collection.
The complete program of the 1907 commemoration of the school’s first 50 years, including the full text of Theodore Roosevelt’s commencement address and many others.
Paul L. Dressel. College to University: The Hannah Years at Michigan State, 1935–1969. 1987. Available from Amazon.com.
A bit post-era for the purposes of this web site, but contains an interesting opening chapter about the college’s formative years.
A quality coffee table overview, albeit occasionally sketchy, written for the Bicentennial’s seemingly inexhaustible demand for American history, both national and local. Now hard to find, as the first edition printing was limited to only 1,000 copies. The M.S.U. Library’s copy has been vandalized and is missing several pages, but the Circulation department has a spare photocopy of the lacuna that it will duplicate by request.
Madison Kuhn. Michigan State: The First Hundred Years, 1855–1955. 1955. Available from Amazon.com.
The definitive work, published in commemoration of the school’s transition from College to University.
Harold Lautner (1902–1992, M.A.C. ’25) was appointed Professor of Landscape Architecture in 1946 and was Director of Campus Parks and Planning through 1959. As Professor and Director Emeritus he combed through his own records and the archived minutes of the governing Board to compile this excellent two-volume reference work. Written from the viewpoint of site use and landscape architecture, it provides a comprehensive overview of how the campus park developed to become, in the words of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr, “probably the best example of the type of landscape characteristic of the American University.”
A wealth of information, provided as required by statute to the Governor of Michigan by the officers of the College. The first report was issued in 1861, the year of reorganization under the Board of Agriculture.
The official record of the school’s administrative meetings, dating back to the very founding. The early years are handwritten and occasionally quite candid; later volumes are typewritten and more matter-of-fact.
Whitney Miller. East Lansing: Collegeville Revisited. 2002. Available from Amazon.com.
A slim paperback in the “Images of America” series, filled with a wealth of excellent black-and-white photos of the city, campus, and famous figures, 1855 to present day. (Ms. Miller, who works for University Archives and Historical Collections, has written to say that the handful of errors within are hoped to be corrected for the book’s second printing.)
This exquisitely rendered map includes every structure erected in the young city, a directory of some 65 buildings on the M.A.C. campus, and an explanation of Newman’s house numbering system devised in 1911 (but revised in 1920 to its present form). The East Lansing Public Library has an original printing. Given the wealth of information contained in the map, one only wishes that Newman had continued to issue updates in subsequent years.
Linda O. Stanford and C. Kurt Dewhurst. M.S.U. Campus—Buildings, Places, Spaces: Architecture and the Campus Park of Michigan State University. 2002. Available from Amazon.com.
A beautiful coffee table book of large black-and-white photos and interesting tidbits* about the University’s buildings and grounds. Though many of the buildings of the John Hannah era fall into a school of design appropriately called “Brutalist,” the authors do not shy away from including the more significant and interesting examples of the style on campus. Moreover, they do many of those buildings justice for their progressive ideals.
Towar’s comprehensive, if occasionally desultory, history was written at the behest of the East Lansing Public Library, and covers the years from the earliest pioneer days to 1933. The M.S.U. Library’s reference copy is a hard-bound 8½x11 mimeograph of the typewritten original.
Keith R. Widder. Michigan Agricultural College: The Evolution of a Land-Grant Philosophy, 1855–1925. 2005. Available from Amazon.com.
The first in a trilogy of large volumes to be published by the Michigan State University Press in celebration of the M.S.U. Sesquicentennial, this book combines a broad overview of the college’s development with an in-depth study of the intellectual forces that led to its creation and growth. Fascinating images from the M.S.U. Archives abound.
F. W. Beers and Company. County Atlas of Ingham, Michigan. 1874. <historicmapworks.com>
C. W. Chadwick. Farm Atlas of Ingham County, Michigan. 1914. <historicmapworks.com>
George W. Hilton and John F. Due. The Electric Interurban Railways in America. 1960. Stanford University Press. Available from Amazon.com.
Lawrence Kestenbaum. Political Graveyard. <politicalgraveyard.com>
J. Bruce McCristal. The Spirit of Michigan State. 2004. Available from Amazon.com.
David A. Thomas. Michigan State College: John Hannah and the Creation of a world University, 1926-1969. 2008. Available from Amazon.com.
M.S.U. Physical Plant. “Michigan State College Properties Survey - 1934.” <msu.edu>
“Gone but Not Forgotten: Campus buildings that no longer exist.” <no longer online>
“MSU President Peter McPherson: Historical Photo Gallery.” <no longer online>