Skip to main content

Clapp family papers

Identifier: 00086

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of various materials concerning stock breeding and related interests of the Clapp family in southeastern Michigan. Materials in the collection relating to the stock breeding activities of Nathan A. Clapp on his farm near Wixom in Oakland County reflect the early development in Michigan of an interest in purebred stock during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Of particular interest is a handwritten draft of a speech delivered by Mr. Clapp in 1886 or 1888 to the Michigan Shorthorn Cattle Breeders' Association, in which he traces the history of stock breeding and makes certain conjectures about its development in the future. Nathan Clapp's papers also include published catalogs listing his stock of cattle and hogs for sale in 1883 and 1888, along with a few pieces of correspondence for the years 1878 and 1887.

The remainder of the collection consists of the papers of James W. Clapp, including correspondence with stockbreeders around the world. Materials relating directly to stock breeding include catalogs and advertising brochures from different farms around the country; pedigree certificates; newspaper and magazine articles; and correspondence for the years 1897-1953. The bulk of the remaining material in the collection consists of catalogs and newsclippings relating to farming, horse racing, fairs exhibitions, live stock shows and expositions, Michigan Agricultural College, 4-H Junior livestock shows, and the Michigan State Fair. One interesting group of publications in the collection are lessons from farmer's correspondence schools. The folder titled "Farms of Famous People" includes a series of articles published in The Breeder's Gazette in 1927-1928 which feature the agricultural activities of well-known persons including George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Sen. William A. Harris (Kansas), and Major-General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

The collection also includes photographs of E. J. Barker farm in Indiana and the Brooks Stock Farm in Wixom, Michigan. There are also postcards of drawings of the Jamestown Exhibition from 1907.


  • Creation: 1857 - 1955

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Nathan A. Clapp was born in Chautauqua County, New York in 1847 and moved to Michigan with his parents in 1865. For several years he worked on the family farm, then became a traveling correspondent for the Michigan Farmer. In 1872 he purchased acreage in Lyon Township near his parents, and two years later he married Hattie E. Johnson of Chautauqua, New York.

By 1890 Nathan Clapp was well known in Michigan as a stockbreeder of thoroughbred shorthorn cattle and Berkshire hogs. Active in politics, he served as delegate to county and state Republican conventions. He also served as Justice of the Peace and was Director of the Lincoln Club of Oakland County.

James W. Clapp followed in his father's vocation as a stockbreeder, becoming nationally known as an expert on Berkshire hogs. He worked as herd manager at several large stock breeding farms including Fairlawn Farm in Howell, Michigan; Hamilton Farms in Gladstone, New Jersey; and White Horse Farm in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He was also an exhibitor of Berkshires at major fairs and expositions throughout his career. By the 1920s, Clapp had returned to Michigan, making his residence in Pontiac, but he remained active as an exhibitor. In the late 1930s he became increasingly interested in the operation and development of the Michigan State Fair.


1.65 Cubic Feet (, 2 volumes on shelf.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Sally Wilson.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University

Property Rights: Michigan State University

Clapp Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
C. Schweigert
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US