James H. Denison Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Donor
Denison, James Henry, 1907-1975
James Henry Denison papers
Date [inclusive]
1.6 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

James H. Denison (born January 8, 1907, Mount Sterling, Ohio; died March 6, 1975) graduated in 1928 from Defiance College, Defiance, Ohio with a major in english. Following graduation Denison began a journalism career that lasted about thirteen years. Denison began his career with the Toledo Times in Toledo, Ohio. The major portion of Denison’s career as a journalist, however, was spent with the  Detroit Free Press. Denison later became the news editor of this prominent Detroit paper. After being laid off the  Detroit Free Press in 1940, Denison continued his career by working as a correspondent for  Business Week ; this job lasted only a few months.

In June, 1941 Denison was appointed Director of Information for the Michigan War Council. This position signaled the end of his journalism career and the beginning of a life-long involvement in the field of public relations. The Michigan War Council remains Denison’s employer until he entered active duty with the United State Army in September 1943. After completing officer training, he was assigned to the European Theater as an information and public relations officer. Following the war, Denison continued to perform public relations functions in his new position as an administrative assistant to Harry F. Kelly, Governor of Michigan. He not only prepared speeches for Kelly but he also directed a public relations and information program that led the adoption of a post war building program at Michigan universities and hospitals. He was also responsible for the planning and directing of a program inaugurating the post-war Michigan National Guard. The public relations career of Denison took yet another turn in 1947 when he accepted an appointment as an administrative assistant to the president of Michigan State College. As an administrative assistant, he advised the president and the Board of Agriculture (later the Board of Trustees) on policy statements. The Public Relations Department at Michigan State was also directed by Denison. This department was in charge of the Agriculture Extension Information Services and was responsible for the publicizing of all college events. In addition, Denison directed the operation of the Michigan State College press and the college-owned radio station, WKAR. After his retirement in 1969, he served as a consultant to the MSU Archives, a position he held until his death in 1975. Denison was married to Mary Kendrew and they had a daughter, Jane.

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Scope and Contents note

The James Denison papers include materials that were accumulated throughout Denison’s life. Denison’s personal papers consist primarily of correspondence, diaries, and newspaper clippings about himself. Also included are articles, stories, and poems written by Denison. Among the articles are several drafts of a piece he wrote about Mackinac Island, Michigan. The bulk of the papers center around Denison’s professional career and in particular his career with the Michigan Office of Civilian Defense, the United States Army, the Office of the Governor of Michigan, and Michigan State University. The materials collected while working for the Michigan Office of Civilian Defense contain correspondence, reports, and publications including the Operational Plan for a Local Control Center.

The papers relating to Denison’s military service consist of correspondence, materials from the Provost Marshal General’s Officer School, Fort Custer, Michigan and Denison’s order books. Materials on the Army Reserves and Denison’s appointment to the Michigan National Coast Guard Reserves are contained in the papers. Numerous publications dealing with World War II, including French and German newspapers, make up part of these papers. A number of United States Army publications are also present. The papers concerning Denison’s career with the governor’s office in Lansing, Michigan contain a reorganization plan for the National Guard and some copies of speeches made by Governors Harry Kelly and Kim Sigler.

The Subcommittee On Migratory Labor contains materials related to Land Grant Universities, hearing witnesses and statements made at hearings. The Michigan State University materials consist of primarily of papers dealing with MSU’s participation in the Rose Bowl football games of 1954, 1956, and 1966. There are also programs of the football games and the Tournament of Roses Parades along with newspaper clippings on the games. Also included are publications dealing with Michigan State University’s centennial in 1955 and other aspects of the university as well. The final section of the collection contains a program from the National Conference of International Economic and Social Development (1952), general publications, and some personal papers of Denison’s daughter, Jane.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections

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

Revision Description

 March 2014 February 2006

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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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials

See also Vice President for University Relations records (UA 8.0) which contain papers related to Denison’s time in that department.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan State Spartans (Football team).
  • Michigan. Office of Civilian Defense.
  • Rose Bowl (Football game). (1954 : Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Rose Bowl (Football game). (1956 : Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Rose Bowl (Football game). (1966 : Pasadena, Calif.)
  • Tournament of Roses Parade.
  • United States. Army.
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Subcommittee on Migratory Labor.


  • Amateur films
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Diaries
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Publications
  • Reports
  • Scrapbooks
  • Speeches, addresses, etc.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Mackinac Island (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Denison, James Henry, 1907-1975


  • Civil defense
  • College sports
  • Government publicity
  • World War, 1939-1945

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Collection Inventory


Box Folder

Subpoena in a criminal case March 22, 1927 

777H 4

Defiance College Transcript June 13, 1928 

777H 5

The American Newspaper Guild 1935 

777H 6

Personal History Statement by Denison Undated 

777H 7

Diary, Address and Phone Book belonging 1944-1945 

777H 8

Diary January 1945- June 1945 

777H 9

Address book Undated 

777H 10

Programs of Speeches given by Denison 1942, 1946 

777H 11

Hotel Receipts 1945-1947 

777H 12

Notes Undated 

777H 13

Newspaper clippings on Denison Undated 

777H 14

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Mackinac Island Article 

Box Folder

Correspondence April 30- May 28, 1941 

777H 15

Drafts Undated 

777H 16-19

Final Draft Undated 

777H 20

Notes for Article Undated 

777H 21

Related Publications Undated 

777H 22
Box Folder

"1 is for First" 1936 

777H 23

"Civil Defense- Here Today and Here Tomorrow" Undated 

777H 24

"That Seven May Know" Undated 

777H 25

"Dealt Out" Undated 

777H 26

"Character of Newspaper"- Notes Undated 

777H 27

Not titled Undated 

777H 28-30

Poetry Undated 

777H 31

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Box Folder

Correspondence 1941-1943, Undated 

777H 32

Report to Governor Van Wagoner January 1942 

777H 33

Industrial Protection Institute May 26-28, 1942 

777H 34

Bolivian Tour, Detroit, Michigan May 10, 1943 

777H 35

Dinner for the Paraguayan Presidential Party June 14, 1943 

777H 36


Box Folder

Year 1 of the War: Annual Report 1942 

777H 37

Michigan OCD Bulletin October 2, 1943 

777H 38

Operational Plan for a Local Control Center Undated 

778H 1

C.D.C. Armband Undated 

778H 2

Assorted Materials Undated 

778H 3

Newspaper Clippings Undated 

778H 4

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National Guard 

Box Folder

Reorganization of National Guard 1949 

779H 20

Application for an Officer in the Guard Undated 

779H 21
Box Folder

Travel Expense Vouchers April-November 1946, Undated 

779H 22

Civil Service Forms and Announcements Undated 

779H 23


Box Folder

Message to the Sixty Third Michigan Legislature by Harry Kelly, Governor February 4, 1946 

779H 24

Exaugural Message to the Michigan Legislature by Harry Kelly, Governor January 2, 1947 

779H 25

Inaugural Message of Kim Sigler, Governor January 2, 1947 

779H 26

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Box Folder

A Summary of "Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times: The Failure of the Land Grant College Complex" by Jim Hightower 1972 

780H 30

Hearings Witness List 

780H 31

Highlights of Migratory Labor Subcommittee Hearings June 19, 1972 

780H 32

Land Grant Colleges, Agricultural Structure and Related Legislation June 20, 1972 

780H 33

Statement by Dr. E. T. York, Jr., Vice President of Agricultural Affairs at the University of Florida June 20, 1972 

780H 34

Statement by Earl L. Butz, Secretary of Agriculture June 20, 1972 

780H 35

Statement by Robert Rodale, Editor of Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine June 19, 1972 

780H 36

Statement by Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III of Illinois June 19, 1972 

780H 37

Statement by the Agribusiness Accountability Project June 19, 1972 

780H 38

Statement by the National Farmers Union 

780H 39

Statement by the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare June 20, 1972 

780H 40

Testimony by James A. McHale, Secretary of Agriculture of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania June 19, 1972 

780H 41

Testimony of the National Consumers League June 19, 1972 

780H 42

The 1890 Land Grant Colleges - Past, Present, and Future by President Alvin I. Thomas of Prairie View A & M College June 20, 1972 

780H 43

"What's Gone Wrong with the Tomato?" by Nadine Brozan, The New York Times May 31, 1972 

780H 44

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Box Folder

Michigan State Stadium Dedication- Michigan vs. Michigan State Football Program 1948 

779H 27

Rose Bowl Games 

Box Folder

Correspondence 1955-1966 

779H 28

1954 Tournament of Roses Parade Programs 1954 

779H 29

Scrapbook 199: 1954 Rose Bowl Game 

SB 199
Box Folder

1956 Bowl- Official Program of the Game 1956 

779H 30

1956 Bowl- Tournament of Roses Parade Programs 1956 

779H 31

1956 Bowl- Time Article on the MSU Football Team 1956 

779H 32

1956 Bowl- Assorted Materials 1956 

779H 33-34

1956 Bowl- Newspaper Clippings 1955-1956 

779H 35-36

1966 Bowl- Official Program of the Game 1966 

779H 37

1966 Bowl- Tournament of Roses Parade Program 1966 

779H 38

1966 Bowl- Ribbon to Gain Entrance to the Game 1966 

779H 39

1966 Bowl- Assorted Material 1966 

780H 1-2

1966 Bowl- Newspaper Clippings 1966 

780H 3-5


Box Folder

The MSU Centennial: Its Planning and Execution 1955 

780H 6

Convocation Commemorating the One Hundredth Anniversary of MSC 1955 

780H 7

Michigan State College 1955 

780H 8

Assorted Materials Undated 

780H 9
Drawer Folder

Assorted Materials 1953-1954 

F.D. 1

Assorted Materials 1955 

F.D. 2

Photographs - Medallion, Auto Owners Insurance sign 

F.D. 3


Box Folder

Harvester World November 1952 

780H 10

The Michigan State College Press 1950 

780H 11

The Record: Spartan Alumni Magazine January 1955 

780H 12

The Record: Spartan Alumni Magazine March 1955 

780H 13

MSU Report of Progress 1955-1956 

780H 14

Newsweek Article on MSU February 28, 1956 

780H 15

Pride- The American College Public Relations Association October 1960 

780H 16

Newspaper Clippings on MSU October 5 & November 5, 1952 

780H 17
Drawer Folder

John Hannah materials 1956-1970 

F.D. 4

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Box Folder

National Conference of International Economics and Social Development April 7-9, 1952 

780H 18


Box Folder

From Gutenberg to the Cunea Press 1933 

780H 19

Clock Almanack 1936 

780H 20

Play Programs February-May 1944, Undated 

780H 21

The Tatler and Bystander October 11, 1944 

780H 22

Remember the "War Babies" 1963 

780H 23

Beautiful British Columbia- Land of Horizons Winter 1965 

780H 24

MGM's Knights of the Round Table Undated 

780H 25

Assorted Materials 1938, 1944, Undated 

780H 26-27

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Box Folder

Savings Plan January 9, 1950 

780H 28

7th Grade Papers September 1951-June 1952 

780H 29

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Oversized Items 

Oversize Drawer

Diplomas of Mary Kendrew (Mrs. James H. Denison) 1927, 1930, 1932 

German Post Showing Nazi Concentration Camps as Discovered by U.S. Army's Fourth Division 

Michigan State Senate Memorial for James H. Denison 1975 

World War II War Bond Posters- Norman Rockewell 1943, Undated 




California. Pasadena. 

California. Pasadena. Tournament of Roses Parade 

England. London 

England. Shrivenham 


France. Paris. 

Germany. Bad Godesberg 

Michigan. Mackinac Island 

New York. New York City. 

People. Nude women. 

World Events. Meeting of Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain at Bad Godesberg, Germany 1938 



Grave marker of Captain George Denison. 


Michigan. Mackinac Island. (3 folders) 

Michigan State University. Centennial. Medallion, Auto Owners Insurance sign undated 

New Hampshire. White Mountains. 

Office Equipment. 

People. Carillo, Leo. 

People. Denison Family. 

People. Unidentified. 

Ships. Lake freighters. "William A. Irvin" 

United States Army. Personnel. 

World War II. Scenes. Europe. 



Great Britain Trip Movies 



Box Folder


778H 5


778H 6

Extension Courses February 26, 1938 

778H 7

War Rationing and Part Played by Denison June 24, 1942, Undated 

778H 8

Reimbursement Voucher Forms 1942-1945 

778H 9

Fort Custer, Michigan Provost Marshal General's Office School 

Box Folder

Course Notebooks 1943 

778H 10

Course Handouts 1943 

778H 11

Assorted Materials Undated 

778H 12
Box Folder

Headquarters 3651st Service Unite ASTP, 1943 ROTC, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

778H 13

Order Books 

778H 14

Order Books 

778H 15


778H 16


778H 17

Pay and Allowance Records 1943-1944, Undated 

778H 18

Army Receipts 1943-1945, Undated 

778H 19

Special Event, Holiday Services, Menus, etc. 1944-1945 

778H 20

Press Conference given by Denison 1945 

778H 21

Bronze Star, Commendations awarded Denison May-November 1945 

778H 22

Separation Papers from Active Duty November 20, 1945 

778H 23

Army Officer Reserves 1934-1950, Undated 

778H 24

Michigan National Coast Guard Reserves 1945, Undated 

778H 25


Box Folder

New Testament- Protestant Version 1942 

778H 26

First Army G-5 News August 19, 1944 

778H 27

"Paris 1000 Hours, 26 August 1944" 

778H 28

Entente- The Americans and the French Forces of the Interior in the Battle of France November 1944 

778H 29

Going Back to Civilian Life 1945 

779H 1

Since 1918…A Patch of Pride- A History of the First Army 1918- 1946 1946 

779H 2

Report of Activities- Army Ground Forces- World War II 1946 

779H 3

Army Information Digest July 1953 

779H 4

"Shoulder Insignia- U.S. Army Units are Marked by Colorful Patches" Undated 

779H 5

French Newspapers 

Box Folder

La Guerre Au Jour Le Jour 1944 

779H 6

Votre France March 21, 1945 

779H 7
Box Folder

Paris- 100 Photographies et un plan 1941 

779H 8

Article written by Henri Phillippe Petain August 11, 1944 

779H 9

Voir- Images du Mande d'aujourdnui No. 4 Undated 

779H 10

German leaflets Undated 

779H 11

German Propaganda leaflets Undated 

779H 12

Ich Kempfe January 1943 

779H 13

One million mark note- German Currency May 2, 1945 

779H 14

R.F. Police Armband Undated 

779H 15

American Prisoner of War Tag Undated 

779H 16

Assorted materials Undated 

779H 17

Notes by Denison dealing with WWII Undated 

779H 18

Newspaper clippings dealing with WWII Undated 

779H 19

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