Kenyon L. Butterfield (b. 1868 d. 1936)

Kenyon L. Butterfield President
Michigan State College
of Agriculture and Applied Science
1924–1928

Kenyon Leech Butterfield was born on June 11, 1868 in the small farming community of Lapeer, Michigan. There he became interested in the sociological problems of the farmer and as a result, devoted much of his work to assisting rural residents in adjusting to the social, economic and religious trends of the day.

Dr. Butterfield received his BS degree from the Michigan Agricultural College in 1891. From 1891 to 1900 he served successively as secretary of the college, editor of the grange department of the Michigan Farmer, superintendent of the Michigan Farmer's Institute and field agent for the Michigan Agricultural College.

In 1900 he began advanced degree work at the University of Michigan in economics and rural sociology. He received his M.A. degree in 1902 from U. of M. In 1903 Butterfield was elected president of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. He remained there until 1906 when he resigned to become president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, where he received his LL.D. in 1910. He resigned this position in 1924 in order to assume the presidency of Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Arts. However, in 1927 he came under fire from the members of the State Board of Agriculture who were disturbed by his appointing two friends from Massachusetts to executive positions at M.S.C. with salaries above those of other college officials. A conflict also developed over the question of who had control of the College, the president or the secretary of the State Board of Agriculture. As a result, Butterfield was asked to resign.

In addition to his education career, Dr. Butterfield organized and acted as the president of the American County Life Association for many years. During World War I he was chairman of the Massachusetts Committee on Food Production and Conservation and was also commissioner in charge of Agricultural education in the American Expeditionary Forces. He was a member of the Educational Commission in China in 1921 and was a special delegate to the International Missionary Council in Jerusalem.

On November 25, 1936, Dr. Butterfield died at his home in Amherst, Massachusetts. Butterfield was the son of Ira Howard Butterfield (b. December 22, 1849; d. March 24, 1928) and Olive F. Butterfield, nee Davision (b. August 8, 1842; d. January 5, 1928). He married Harriet Millard (b. May 24, 1869; d. 1944) on November 25, 1895. They had two sons; Howard Millard Butterfield, (b. May 24, 1901), and Victor Lloyd Butterfield, (b. February 7, 1904).

Finding aid to Kenyon L. Butterfield papers (UA 2.1.10)


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