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Michigan Pesticides Council records

Identifier: 00154

Scope and Contents

The records consist of research data covering a variety of conservation and environment-related subjects, information concerning various Michigan conservation/environmentalist groups, and the administrative records of the MPC itself. Some articles found in the collection date as far back as 1948, but the bulk of material is dated between 1960 and 1975.

All files are organized according to subject matter. MPC administrative records include the original organizational materials, minutes and agendas from trustees meetings, records of officers, trustees, and advisors of the MPC, and financial records. The records also contain copies of nearly all the MPC newsletters, from 1968 to 1977. Contents of files concerning other Michigan environmentalist organizations vary from incomplete to fairly extensive depending on how closely the particular organization worked with MPC on environmental concerns.

Other subject files also vary on the amount of information contained within. The most extensive of these series is the Pesticides files, which comprise a full 21 folders of the 153-folder collection. Contained in these files is correspondence concerning legislation, copies of legislation and statements made at hearings, pamphlets and usage manuals of pesticides, and 16 folders of information, containing newspaper and magazine articles and reports collected between 1963 and 1979.


  • 1962 - 1979

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.

Historical Note

Michigan Pesticides Council (MPC) records were donated by Dr. Paul Barrett, a professor in Michigan State University's department of Natural Science, who served as the Council's chairman from approximately 1973 until its demise in 1979. The MPC grew out of the efforts of a small group of Michigan environmentalists originally concerned with the problem of the increasing amounts of persistent pesticides found in Michigan soils and waters. These individuals, representing a wide range of interest groups, met on an informal basis in August 1967 at the Holland, Michigan home of Mrs. Ann Van Lente and agreed to form an ad hoc committee to "... consider the possibility and desirability of eliminating the use of persistent chlorinated hydro-carbon pesticides in Michigan..." and with the ultimate purpose of forming a permanent council which would do the same. A state-wide organizational meeting was held on October 14. At this meeting articles of organization were submitted and suggestions taken from the floor as to how to best go about dealing with environmental problems created by the use of pesticides in Michigan.

In January of 1968 the final draft of the Articles of Organization was drawn up. The organization was dubbed the "MPC" and membership was opened to community, regional, and state organizations as well as concerned individuals. An executive committee was selected with Mr. Norman Spring, then president of the Michigan Steelheaders Association as chairman and Dr. John H. Kitchel, then president of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, as vice-chairman.

According to its first newsletter, published in March 1968, the purposes of the MPC were twofold: (1) to carry out an educational program, informing citizens of the threats to their environment created by pesticides, and (2) to take any action necessary to "... protect, maintain, or restore the quality of our environment by controlling the use of pesticides..."

During the following ten years, through changes in leadership and in spite of growing financial pressures, the Council involved itself and often became the state wide leader in a variety of pesticide-related causes. Council members campaigned in favor of passage by the Michigan Legislature of numerous bills and regulations to ban the use of DDT, dieldrin, and other persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in Michigan. They also worked for the passage of a state-wide pesticides control act which, among other Council members campaigned against the state-wide spraying of dieldrin to eradicate the gypsy moth in Michigan and pressured Governor Milliken's office to hold public hearings on the subject. MPC members condemned the general use of 2, 4, S-T, 2A, 4, 5-TP, carbon, silvex, and other dioxin-containing compounds on Michigan lands and waters to control insects and objected to the use of chlordane to control the Japanese beetle population in Michigan. Their largest and most thorough campaign was aimed at preventing the passage of any MAD (Mosquito Abatement District) bills by the Michigan Legislature; these bills, as the council pointed out, would allow only 8% of the voters in districts of over 100 people to establish mosquito control programs in their areas.

Perhaps the most visible personality among the trustees of the MPC was Michigan State University Natural Science professor Paul Barrett, who assumed chairmanship of the Council in 1972 or 1973 and retained it until the Council disbanded in 1979. The majority of MPC correspondence found in these records is addressed to him; members of other Michigan environmentalist groups as well as the members of the Council who often went to him for advice and encouragement in pursuing their conservationist interests. One will often find in the MPC correspondences expressions of thanks to Dr. Barrett for his time and efforts in helping with this or that matter.

Following Dr. Barrett's lead, a few of the Council members turned their attention to other, non-pesticide conservation interests outside of Michigan, as indicated in the contents of several of the subject files. Popular causes included a campaign against the use of cyanide and other poisons in Wyoming and Colorado for the control of grazing animal predators such as wolves and coyotes, and a movement for the world-wide protection of marine mammals. In Michigan, Council members and others worked for the establishment in the state of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, as a unit of the United States National Park system.

The MPC published a newsletter three to six times a year to provide "...MPC members, legislators, school administrators, and other concerned individuals with the latest developments in the changing pesticides field..." Trustees meetings were held three to six times a year and an annual meeting was held that was open to all MPC members and any other interested individuals.

Due to the desires on the part of several Council trustees to step down from their positions and the lack of interested individuals to take their places, as well as a floundering treasury, the MPC disbanded in 1979.


2.66 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Paul H. Barrett, 1982-10-11.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Literary Rights: Donated to the Public.


Michigan Pesticides Council Records
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Eckhardt
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