“Hannah Archives" Project Records

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Donor
Denison, James Henry, 1907-1975
"Hannah Archives" Project records
Date [inclusive]
0.66 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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Historical Note

In 1969, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees appointed James H. Denison, Special Assistant to the President in Charge of University Relations from 1947 to 1969, to organize the office files of President John A. Hannah. In the process of completing this task, Denison noted an absence of material documenting a number of significant developments during the early years (circa 1947 to 1954) of Hannah's tenure as president. In order to fill this gap in the official record and provide a "fair and honest picture of the Hannah Administration," Denison solicited testimony from faculty, administrative staff, and members of the Board of Trustees, and others who had been closely associated with Hannah during those early years. Potential contributors were asked not to eulogize Hannah or evaluate him as an administrator, but to explain how he was able to accomplish so very much as president. They were also given the option of placing restrictions on their contributions, although few did. Some responded with formal statements, others with personal letters. A few submitted documents from their files. In several instances, Denison also recorded interviews.

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Scope and Contents note

The "Hannah Archives" Project records consist of the written recollections, as well as transcripts of the oral history interviews and the tape recordings from which they were made. The written statements focus almost entirely on the accomplishments of the Hannah administration, while the transcripts tend to stress the interviewees' career-related experiences. Most are prefaced with a short biographical statement prepared by Denison. Also included in the records is Denison's correspondence with both those who contributed to the project and those who declined to participate.

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Materials are arranged by record type (written responses, transcripts, tape recordings, or correspondence) and thereunder alphabetically by contributor.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections May 1981

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

Revision Description

  June 2016

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


  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Sound recordings

Personal Name(s)

  • Hannah, John A., 1902-1991


  • Agricultural colleges -- Michigan
  • Agricultural experiment stations
  • Agriculture -- International cooperation
  • College students
  • Education -- Administration
  • Education, Higher
  • Government aid to higher education -- Michigan
  • International education

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Collection Inventory

Written Responses 1943-1973 

Box Folder

Baccus, Ira. (Head, Department of Electrical Engineering, 1947-1958). Discussion of Hannah's innovative and progressive administration as well as his personal attributes. 

34 1

Bachman, Charles W. (Head Football Coach, 1933-1946). Discussion of the development of the Football program at MSU, including comments on Hannah's early interest, recruiting, the Jenison Scholarships, University of Michigan-M.S.C. rivalry, and entrance into the Big Ten Conference. Brief mention of the Labor Holiday in 1937. 

34 2

Baker, William E. (Member of the Board of Trustees, 1956-1957). Discussion of the accomplishments of the Hannah Administration including the establishment of the Medical School, and the creation of a branch university (Oakland University) to counter the University of Michigan's expansion at Flint. Comments on Hannah's ability to capitalize on available Federal, State, and private grants. 

34 3

Berman, Louis J. (General Manager of the State News, 1961-1972). Discussion of the operation of the State News. 

34 4

Brandstatter, Arthur F. (Head, Department of Police Administration/School of Criminal Justice, 1948-1977, and Director of Public Safety). Discussion of his initial contacts with Hannah in the 1930s and Hannah's commitment to the Criminal Justice program. 

34 5

Coleman, Robert J. (Head, Department of Broadcasting Services (WKAR), 1935-1959). Discussion of the establishment and growth of WKAR and the question of whether or not WJIM should be awarded exclusive rights to broadcast University sporting events at the expense of WKAR. 

34 6

Combs, William H. (Administration Assistant to the President, 1947-1956, and Head, All-College Division 1947-67, Secretary of the Faculties, 1959-1967, Chairman of the All-University Curriculum Committee, 1948-1967). Discussion of Hannah's success in improving the quality of academic programs and the faculty, including the results of the Alumni Survey developed by Dean Combs to determine the effectiveness of teaching on campus, and the North Central Association Survey concerning Accreditation. Discussion of Library construction and funding. 

34 7

Denison, James H. (Special Assistant to the President, in charge of University relations, 1947-1969). Description of initial contact with Hannah in 1940. Discussion of Hannah's leadership in acquiring large appropriations for MSU through the Victory Building Program in 1946, and his ability as a public speaker. Brief mention of the Spartan Roundtable, a monthly dinner meeting of administration officials and selected student leaders. Also reports relating to campus building programs. 

34 8-9

Dye, Marie. (Dean of College of Home Economics, 1930-1955). Brief history of President Hannah's accomplishments. 

34 10

Falcone, Leonard B. (Director, M.S.C. Band, 1927-1966). Discussion of controversy surrounding the new band uniforms in 1952, band scholarships, and funding needs. 

34 11

Farrall, Arthur W. (Head, Agricultural Engineering Department, 1945-1964). Discussion of initial meeting with Hannah in 1945, and Hannah's commitment to the Agricultural Engineering program. Mention of the overseas aid program, the one hundredth anniversary of M.S.C., and research programs. List of Hannah's personal and professional qualities. 

34 12

Fennell, Richard A. (Instructor of Zoology, 1936-1940; Assistant Professor, 1940-1944; Associate Professor, 1944-1947; Professor,1947-1970). Discussion of teaching conditions and courses offered in the 1930s. 

34 13

Frimodig, Lyman L. (MSU athlete, 1913-1917; Athletic Instructor, 1919-1960). Discussion of Hannah's commitment to athletics. Also lists of appointments to Athletics Department from 1938-1966, and improvements in the athletic facilities from 1936 to 1968. 

34 14

Foster, Emery G. (Manager, MSU Union Building, 1941-1946; Manager, Dormitories and Food Service, 1946-1970; Assistant Vice President for Business Operations in the office of the Vice President for Business and Finance, 1970-1973). Discussion of initial contacts with Hannah in the 1940s, the development of the Dormitories and Food Service Department, married student housing, and dorm construction. Brief mention of Spartan Roundtable. Also letter from John Hannah to Foster. 

34 15

Gardner, Victor R. (Head, Department of Horticulture, 1922-1945; Director of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, 1928-1945). Letter criticizing Hannah's hiring criteria and the priority given to liberal arts programs over Agricultural Engineering. 

34 16

Geil, Lloyd H. (Head, Publication Department, 1943-1956). Discusses the pocket-sized publication, printed at President Hannah's request and specifically designed for State Legislators, summarizing the University's building needs. 

34 17

Hacker, Edward G. (Head, Edward G. Hacker Company Realtor). Discussion of land acquisition for campus expansion from 1944 to 1966. 

34 18

Harper, Ernest B. (Director of School of Social Work, 1945-1960). Discussion of development of School of Social Work. 

34 19

Heppinstall, Jack. (Trainer, M.S.C. Athletic Team, 1920-1959). Description of Hannah's devotion to athletics and the athletes themselves. 

34 20

Herbert, Paul A. (Head, Department of Forestry, 1941-1956). Discussion of Hannah's contributions to MSU, including the development of a Forestry School. 

34 21

Hoffer, Charles R. (Associate Professor, M.S.C., 1925-1950; Professor, MSU, 1950-1961). Comments on Hannah's abilities as an administrator and his commitment to the social sciences. 

34 22

Hunt, Harrison R. (Instructor, Zoology Department, 1923-1940; Head, Department of Zoology, 1941-1952). Comments on his personal experiences as an instructor and department head and on Hannah's administrative abilities and personal and professional qualities. Also discussion of the medical profession. 

34 23

Kimber, Harry. (Head, Religious Studies Department, 1964-1969). Impressions of Dr. Hannah as President of MSU as published in Format 1969, an MSU publication. 

34 24

King,Thomas. (Assistant Football Coach, 1933-1940). Discussion of Hannah's loyalty to the football program and his ability as an administrator. 

34 25

Kinney, Edward. (Superintendent of Building and Grounds, 1944-1958). Discussion of Hannah's foresight and leadership ability. 

34 26

Kuhn, Madison. (University Historian, 1943-1980). Biographical sketch documenting Hannah's early college years, his career and accomplishments. Discussion of University College, campus construction, Hannah's loyalty to the sports program, MSU admission into the Western Conference, ethics in athletic competition, extension service work, and international as Hannah's accomplishments as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Personnel, and his activities as Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Mention of Student Education Core, Spartan Roundtable, Honors College, Justin Morrill College, and his service in the State Constitutional Convention of 1961-1962. 

34 27

Lautner, Harold W. (Head, Department of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, 1946-1960; Campus Landscape Architect; Director of Division for Physical Plant Planning and Development, 1961-1965; Director of Campus Planning and Maintenance, 1965-1970. Copies of letters written by Hannah to Lautner illustrating Hannah's active interest in the planning of the campus and in the preservation of campus fauna and flora. 

34 28

Lee, Shao Chang. (Director, International Center, 1950-1960). Discussion of his own contributions to Michigan State University's International Program. 

34 29

McDonel, Karl H. (Secretary to the State Board of Agriculture, 1941-1960). Discussion of post World War II building program at M.S.C. 

34 30

Mallmann, Walter Leroy. (Professor of Microbiology, 1918-1941). Impressions of Hannah as an administrator. 

34 31

Mercier, Marie. (John Hannah's secretary, 1935-1941). Discussion of her early impressions of John Hannah, and his accomplishments as Secretary to the State Board of Agriculture, 1935-1941. Mention of building construction and retirement program. 

34 32

Miller, Lorin G. (Head, Mechanical Engineering, 1935-1948; Dean of Engineering, 1949-1954). Discussion of curriculum and instruction in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

34 33

Mueller, Frederick H. (Member of the State Board of Agriculture, 1945-1957). Discussion of post World War II building construction, faculty recruitment, admission to Big Ten, name change from Michigan Agricultural College to Michigan State University, Kellogg Foundation Grant, and overseas University projects. Statement of Mueller's view of the role of the university trustee. 

34 34

Noll, Victor H. (Head, Department of Education, 1993-1943). Description of initial contacts with Hannah and his support for the teacher training program. 

34 35

Osgood, Thomas H. (Head, Department of Physics, 1941-1950, 1955-1956; Director of the Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, 1946-1959; Dean of the School of Advanced Graduate Studies, 1950-1959; Director of Abrams Planetarium 1964-1967). Discussion of Hannah's farsightedness and ability. 

34 36

Reeves, Floyd W. (Part-time consultant in Administrative Education; Special Consultant to the President, 1947-1950). Description of initial meeting with Hannah in 1943. Also discussion of Hannah's administrative abilities and contributions to MSU, as well as his philosophy of education. Mention of Basic College and MSU - University of Michigan rivalry. 

34 37

Sheedy, Joseph W. (Instructor of Mathematics and Assistant Professor, 1923-1945; Associate Professor of Physical Science, 1945-1956; Assistant to the Dean of Basic College). Academic Survey Reports of the first three Basic College class, 1944-1946; and a report on credit by examination, 1949-1953. 

34 38

Sheehan, Daniel F. (Instructor, 1937-1945; Assistant Professor in the Department of Written and Spoken English in Basic College, 1945-1959). Impressions of MSU during the 1930s and 1940s. Also discussion of his duties as English Instructor and his concern for students entering college. 

34 39

Tenny, Ralph W. (Director, Short Course Program in the College of Agriculture, 1924-1958, and Director of "Farmers' Week" Discussion of Hannah's early interest in poultry raising, and the growth of the University. 

34 40

Towne, Jackson E. (Librarian, 1932-1959). History of the MSU Library with discussion of library construction plans and funding. Comments on the controversy surrounding the decision to transfer responsibility for graduate programs from the Dean of the Graduate School to the department heads. 

34 41

Trout, Malcolm. (Professor, Dairy Husbandry and Food Science, 1928-1966). Impressions of Dr. Hannah as President of MSU as published in Format, 1969. 

34 42

Tukey, Harold. (Head, Department of Horticulture, 1945-1963; Chairman of Athletic Council). Discussion of his arrival on campus in 1945 and his impressions of John Hannah as an administrator. Also comments on Hannah's support for the horticulture program, and Tukey's connection with the Athletic Council and the Agricultural Conference. Mentions lack of ethics in sports. 

34 43

Underwood, Roy. (Director of the Fine Arts Division, 1944-1957). Discussion of Hannah's interests and commitment to fine arts, his responsibility for the construction of the Music Building, and his concern for students. Mention of Basic College and the Kresge Art Center. 

34 44

White, Elmer. (MSU student, 1937-1940; Secretary of the Michigan Press Association). Description of his early contacts with Hannah as a student at MSU, Press Association dinners on campus, and Hannah's relationship with news reporters. 

34 45

Wyngarden, Herman J. (Dean of School of Business and Public Service, 1949-1956). Discussion of Hannah's interest in the Business administration Program and his ability to recruit quality people for the Business Education Department. 

34 46

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Oral History Transcripts 1972-1973 

Box Folder

Brandstatter, Arthur F. (Head, Department of Police Administration/School of Criminal Justice, 1948-1977, and Director of Public Safety). Discussion of Brandstatter's military service during World War II, development of the Criminal Justice program, and the creation of a campus police force. Brief mention of the School of Criminal Justice's involvement in International programs, LeMoyne Snyder's interest in forensic medicine, and Brandstatter's own work with the United States Treasury Department. 

34 47

Carpenter, Louise. (MSU graduate in Home Economics, 1917; Assistant Professor of Continuing Education, 1950-1962; Director of Adventures in World Understanding). Description of her experiences here as a student in 1913, her later work with foreign students on campus and the "Christmas Adventure", which she directed. Discussion of religious prejudices within the Lansing community. 

34 48

Coleman, Robert J. (Head, Department of Broadcasting Services, 1935-1959). Discussion of the establishment of the radio station, the early years 1959). Discussion of the establishment of the radio station, the early years 

34 49

Farrall, Arthur W. (Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering, 1945-1964). Initial impressions of the Engineering Department at MSU in 1945. Discussion of the department's staff and students, research projects, and his philosophy of education. Brief mention of the accreditation of the department in 1950, electrification on the farm, solar energy, and his experimentation with electric cars. 

34 50

Fennell, Richard A. (Professor of Zoology, 1936-1940). Discussion of his reasons for coming to MSU, his academic career, and the establishment of the Pre-Med program. 

34 51

Loomis, Charles P. (Head, Department of Sociology). Includes correspondence with James H. Denison, and Dictaphone recordings. 1973 

34 59

MacLeod, Leona. (MSU student, 1920-1923, Assistant Director of Home Extension Service, 1955-1960). Reminiscences about her experiences as student at Michigan State in the early 1920s. Discussion of her work in the MSU Cooperative Extension Program and her role in the establishment of an extension program in South Korea. 

34 52

Schuler, Edgar A. (Professor of Sociology and Education at MSU, 1946- 1949, 1959-1971). Discussion of his background, career and accomplishments, particularly his work at the Academy for Village Development in Pakistan, 1959-1962). 

34 53

Toenjes, Walter. (MSU graduate student, 1926-1928; Superintendent of MSU's Graham Experiment Station, Grand Rapids, MI., 1930-1932) RESTRICTED until May 26, 1985). Discussion of his work at Experiment Station. 

34 54

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Oral History Tapes (Audiocassettes) 1972, undated 


Brandstatter, Arthur 1972 


Carpenter, Louise 1972 


Coleman, Robert J. 1972 


Farrall, Arthur W. 1972 


Fennell, Richard A. 1972 


MacLeod, Leona 1972 


Schuler, Edgar A. 1972 


Toenjes, Walter undated 


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Miscellaneous Materials 

Box Folder

Administrative Correspondence 1969-1973 

34 55-57


34 58

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