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Michigan Bean Company records

Identifier: 00110

Scope and Contents of the Records

Efforts covering a sixty-year span to improve farm markets through the pooling of farm commodities, the organization of growers and shippers, promotional marketing and advertising, and bean research are documented in letters, newspaper clippings, articles and legal documents in the collection. In these records are correspondence, memoranda and articles on state and federal agricultural subsidy programs and restrictions. There also is the Wickes Corporation merger, documented through notes, memoranda, meeting minutes, resolutions, legal documents, and correspondence. A large part of the correspondence throughout this collection consists of letters to and from A. L. Riedel, the donor.

Michigan Bean Company, under A. L. Riedel, was instrumental in the formation of the Michigan Bean Council of Growers and Shippers, Michigan Agricultural Export Association, Michigan Bean Growers Mutual Co-op, National Dried Bean Council, Saginaw Grain Elevator Project, and Bean Pool Marketing programs. Correspondence, financial papers, legal papers, ledgers and notes for these organizations are contained within these records.

During World War II, Riedel was a consultant for the Beans, Peas, and Rice Purchasing Division for the United States Department of Agriculture in connection with the Department of Defense Quartermasters Corps. He was instrumental in the development of a waterproof bag used for shipping grain during the war. Correspondence concerning this work is included.


  • Creation: 1906 - 1980

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.

Administrative History of the Michigan Bean Company

The Michigan Bean Company of Saginaw, Michigan was organized December 1, 1915 by seven men: William J. Orr, Frank W. Merrick, Alfred R. Chamberlain, Gustav Hill, Albert L. Riedel, William J. Dufty and Norman L. Wales. With $100,000, these men purchased the assets of Owendale Grain and Lumber Company, Vestaburg Elevator Company, Boslo Grain Company (of Croswell), and Port Huron Producers Elevator. They united these companies under the name Michigan Bean Company, then of Port Huron, Michigan. William J. Orr was appointed the first president, a position which he held until his death in 1921. Frank W. Merrick followed Orr as president, and kept that title until he died in 1937. In 1938 with newly appointed president Albert L. Riedel, Michigan Bean Company leased the Saginaw Milling Company's building in Saginaw and moved its headquarters there. Michigan Bean Company bought these buildings in 1943, making Saginaw its permanent home.

Under A. L. Riedel's leadership, Michigan Bean Company became the largest exporter of grains in Michigan. At the time of its dissolution, December 30, 1955, to merge with Wickes Corporation, it owned nineteen elevators in Genesee, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Montcalm, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, and Tuscola counties of Michigan.


5 Cubic Feet (, 11 volumes on shelf.)

Language of Materials


Organization of the Records

These records are organized into 5 series

Missing Title

  1. Series 1: Company Records. 1906-1960, n.d.
  2. Series 2: Wickes Corporation Merger. 1947-1963, n.d.
  3. Series 3: General Subject Files. 1914-1967, n.d.
  4. Series 4: A.L. Riedel. 1925-1973, n.d.
  5. Series 5: Volumes. 1914-1955. (on shelf)

Custodial History

Gift of Albert L. Riedel.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Michigan Bean Company Records
4 Published And Cataloged
E. Pasek
March 1986
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