Arno J. Erdman Collection

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator -
Erdman, Arno J.
Arno J. Erdman collection
0.6 Cubic feet

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

Sergeant Arno J. Erdman (1894-1971) was an army instructor of auto mechanics for the Student Army Training Corps at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in 1918. The other instructors included Ed L. Harris, E. L. Schultz, G. W. Swarts, Charles Reeves, O. C. Hammond, and F. F. Hacker.

Erdman was born in 1894 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On May 20, 1920, he married Esther Peters.

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Scope and Contents note

The majority of Erdman’s photographs are images he took while on campus as an instructor. Many of the images bear the name “Kodak Shop Photo.” The Action Shots folder contains images Erdman took of activities during his time at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). Some examples of campus action shots are the field testing of vehicles, servicemen, and portable barracks. Other notable photos include an early tank, caterpillar vehicles, trucks carrying portable barracks, photos of a truck convoy that delivered vehicles from coast to coast, the St. Johns Portable Building Co., and shots of vehicle testing at the REO Manufacturing Company. The People group contains images where the subjects are predominately people, often posed. They contain group shots of sergeants, men in the field, as well as shots of individuals. The Campus Shots series contain images that Erdman took of buildings on campus as well as picture postcards that he bought. There also are aerial shots taken from the water tower. The collection also includes photo albums. There is a pencil mark by some photos indicating which person is Erdman. Some of the photos in the album are duplicates of the loose photos. Also included is the booklet “The Land of Our Dreams” which contains a poem and pictures of the campus.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections December 2003

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

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status note

Copyright: Michigan State University. 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 Agricultural College. Buildings.
  • Reo Motor Car Company.
  • St. Johns Portable Building Co. (Saint Johns, Mich.).
  • United States. Army. Barracks and quarters.


  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Lansing (Mich.)
  • Saint Johns (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Erdman, Robert W.
  • Hacker, F. F.
  • Hammond, O. C.
  • Harris, Ed L.
  • Reeves, Charles
  • Schultz, E. L.
  • Swarts, G. W.


  • Armored vehicles, Military
  • Cable cars (Streetcars)
  • Military education -- Michigan -- East Lansing
  • Military trucks -- Maintenance and repair
  • Motorcycles
  • Tractors
  • Vehicles, Military
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Transportation

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Photo album pages 

1845h 1

Oversized photos 

1845h 2

“The Land of Our Dreams” booklet 

1845h 3

Photocopies of photo albums 

1845h 4

Campus Shots 

1846h 1


1846h 2

Action Shots 

1846h 3


1846h 4

Photo album 

1846h 5