Richard H. Harms Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Donor
Harms, Richard H.
Richard Henry Harms papers
Date [inclusive]
0.1 Cubic feet , 2 folders

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Biographical Note

Richard Henry Harms was born in Blija, Friesland, The Netherlands in 1951. At birth he was named Dirk Harms. In December 1958 the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Five year later, upon obtaining his U.S. citizenship, he legally changed his name from Dirk to Richard Henry. He married Joan Freehouse in 1975. They have two children, Christopher Jacob and Kate Elizabeth. Harms graduated from Calvin College in 1973, with a B.A., from Western Michigan University in 1976 with a M.A., and from Michigan State University in 1984 with his Ph.D. He has spoken and published articles on a variety of topics in the fields of history and archives.

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Scope and Contents note

The first item is a sixteen page paper entitled “Farmers Versus Scientist: The Samuel Johnson Episode,” which was written by the donor in 1983. It was subsequently published in Michigan History ( vol. 67, no. 4 (July/August 1983): 26-32.) It examines the controversy surrounding Samuel Johnson, who was Professor of Practical Agriculture at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) 1879-1889. At issue was Johnson’s competency to teach the subject. Farmers believed that his practical background in farming was ideal for teaching, while students felt his lack of scientific knowledge precluded him from teaching. As a result of the controversy, Johnson resigned in 1889.

The second document is a copy of Harms’ dissertation, “Life after Lumbering: Charles Henry Hackley and the Emergence of Muskegon, Michigan,” written in 1984. It describes the life of one of Michigan’s premier lumbermen, the community in which he lived, and the industry in which he worked. It traces the various firms Hackley formed and their relative successes. It also notes his expansion into lumbering operations in Minnesota, Ohio and South Carolina, as well as extensive timberland purchases in the South. The work concludes with a description of the efforts by Muskegon businessmen (primarily lumbermen, with Hackley in the lead) to bring industry to the community to replace the closing mills. Lastly, the work described Hackley’s personal life and his philanthropy.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections April 1983

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

  Janaury 2006

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status note

Copyright: Donor holds copyright of "Farmers versus Scientists" until 2015. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan State University. -- General subdivision--History.;


  • Manuscripts

Geographic Name(s)

  • Muskegon (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Hackley, Charles Henry
  • Hume, Thomas, 1848-1920
  • Johnson, Samuel, 1839-1916


  • Agricultural education
  • Logging -- Michigan
  • Lumbering -- Michigan

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Collection Inventory

Drawer Folder

“Farmers versus Scientists: The Samuel Johnson Episode” 1983 

F.D. 1

“Life after Lumbering: Charles Henry Hackley and the Emergence of Muskegon, Michigan” 1984 

F.D. 2