Collecting Policy

Mandate

The mandate of University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC) is founded on a resolution of the Board of Trustees, as recorded in the minutes of November 21, 1969. This resolution claims all records of the official activities of university officers and offices are the property of Michigan State University, and that such property cannot be destroyed without the approval of the director of Archives. The full name “University Archives & Historical Collections” was established during a meeting of the Board of Trustees on September 17, 1970, to reflect the Archives’ identity as a repository for historically significant collections as well as university records.

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Audience

As the official repository of MSU’s permanent records, UAHC serves the entire university community including its administration, faculty, staff, and students. It supports and encourages new research by scholars from MSU and from other institutions. The Archives also provides guidance and services in records management to the university’s academic and administrative units.

The staff welcomes inquiries from public and local historians, publishers and producers, K-12 students, teachers, genealogists, and the general public.

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University archives

Michigan State University is the nation’s pioneer land-grant college and is a leader in scholarship and research in fields as diverse as agriculture, medicine, law enforcement, and nuclear science.

The university established an international presence in the course of the 20th century and has brought its land-grant heritage and mission to Japan, Rwanda, Vietnam, and other locations around the globe.

Closer to home, the university partners with state and local agencies, farmers, and scholars for the benefit of social, scientific, and agricultural concerns throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes region.
UAHC is the official and foremost repository for records pertaining to the history of Michigan State University.

The university collections are particularly strong in records pertaining to:

  • Board of Trustees
  • Presidents and Provosts
  • Physical campus and grounds
  • Student life
  • Publications by and about students and faculty

Highlights of the collections include:

  • The nation-building “Vietnam Project” of 1954-1961
  • Records of MSU’s state cooperative extension offices
  • Film and video recordings of university sports from the 1950s to the 70s
  • Papers of university president John Hannah, botanist William J. Beal, chemist and politician Robert C. Kedzie, and forensic scientist Ralph Turner

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Records management

UAHC is responsible for the management of the university’s inactive records, including administrative records, publications, and the papers of university faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Archives assists university units in the efficient administration and management of official paper and active and inactive electronic records of the university. The staff also provides ongoing support and training to the university community in the areas of records management, storage, and retrieval in order to ensure compliance with all relevant state and federal laws and regulations.

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Historical collections

UAHC houses collections about history, culture, nature, and life in the state of Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

These historical collections are administrative and photographic records of:

  • The 4–H club in Michigan
  • Papers of Ransom E. Olds and the REO Motor Car Company
  • More than 100 Civil War collections about natives of Michigan
  • Records of several prominent Michigan lumber companies

The Archives’ maintains a strong set of materials about the community of East Lansing, including a large photograph collection, scrapbooks, diaries, and records of local organizations, such as the East Lansing Planning Commission.

The Archives has an active interest in records pertaining to the state of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, with particular emphasis on materials that complement existing collections or have a relation of some kind to the university and its research specialties.

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Opportunities

In addition to the topics mentioned above, the MSU Archives is intent on building its collections regarding the research, preservation, and use of Michigan’s environment and the development of alternative energy sources throughout the state. Areas of interest related to this focus include climate change; environmental stewardship (including operations and packaging on campus); bio-energy and alternative fuels; aquaculture; and water and land resource management. The Archives has a particular interest in research conducted by MSU faculty in fields such as economics, nuclear physics, bio-technologies, food sciences, human medicine, and genome-based studies for health and agriculture.

The MSU Archives also seeks faculty papers and research that would expand the representation of female and minority faculty in the collections and which document significant research and pedagogical achievements. University athletics, both intercollegiate and intramural, is another priority for the Archives, as is the student experience at MSU during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. A valuable component of this focus includes records of student organizations, such as service groups; professional societies; special interest clubs; fraternities and sororities; and cultural and religious groups.

In the future, the Archives will strive to identify and collect material related to areas of interest to Michigan State University and its student and faculty communities.

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