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Towar family papers

Identifier: UA-10.3.418

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials from both Jennie and James Towar. The correspondence of Jennie Towar Woodard is addressed to family members as well as correspondence from those family members. The bulk of this correspondence prior to the second World War came from her brother, James. The letters of the latter half of the collection are from nieces and nephews. In general, the letters are chatty and relate some of the social or economic condition of the times. One exception to this are the letters from James during World War II while he lived in Los Angeles, California. These letters provide some insight into the war economy as well as the war society in Southern California.

Also included is the 167-page unpublished manuscript James Towar wrote for the East Lansing Public Library in 1933 which details a history of East Lansing, Michigan. Reference is made to pre-Revolutionary times, however, the bulk of the manuscript deals with the period 1850-1930.


  • Creation: 1882 - 1956


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

Jennie Towar was born on December 5, 1865 in Meridian township, Ingham County, Michigan. She was the youngest child of George and Elvira Towar, who settled in Bath township in 1849 and developed a large parcel of land north of East Lansing which is called Towar Gardens. In 1886, Jennie Towar graduated from Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C., now Michigan State University) with a Bachelor of Science degree. She married Charles S. Whitmore, a farmer, in 1889. They had one son, Maurice Towar Whitmore. Following Whitmore's death in 1899, Towar married James A. Woodard. Jennie Towar Whitmore Woodard died in 1957.

James DeLoss Towar, son of George and Elvira Towar and Jennie's brother, was born September 26, 1863. He was an early graduate of M.A.C. and a member of the first football team in 1884. James Towar taught agriculture courses at Rhode Island State College, was the agriculturalist of the Experiment Station for his alma mater, served as principal of Roseworthy Agricultural School in Australia, and was the president of the University of Wyoming for two months in 1908. In 1933, he wrote the book History of the City of East Lansing for the East Lansing Public Library. According to the introduction in his book, he was responsible for the creation of a bike path on Michigan Avenue, stretching from Lansing to the college. He began the movement to establish a district school for the community and he helped organize the city and suggested the name "East Lansing." James Towar died in 1947.


1 Cubic Feet (1 banker box, 12 volumes (inside banker box), 2 oversize items)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Madison Kuhn, 1973-02-07.

Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Processing Information

Changed record group from 00129 to UA 10.3.418 to reflect the Towar family connection to Michigan State University. J. Russell, January 2020

Towar Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

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