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Kinney family papers

Identifier: UA-10.3.440

Scope and Contents

The Kinney family papers cover three generations, and family members were located in Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, and Ohio. Edward Porter Kinney's papers comprise a large portion of the collection. Since E. P. Kinney lived and worked in the Lansing area, much of the material in this collection pertains to East Lansing and Lansing, Michigan. Also, a majority of the material included in the family papers pertains to electricity and electrical engineering as many of the family members worked in this profession. The Kinney "family tree" is included in the genealogical files. The tree is extensive, dates back to the 1500s, and includes some narrative family history and three newspaper articles featuring Kinney family homes in East Lansing, Michigan.

Daniel Kinney's papers consist of a speech he delivered to the Lorian County Agricultural Society at Oberlin College in 1848, expounding on agricultural economics and the benefits of the use of technology in agriculture. The original, handwritten copy of the speech, and two typewritten copies with marginal notes are included.

Edward Cornelius Kinney's papers consist of a letter that he wrote in 1908 to his sisters, Rose and Sarah. The letter discusses a G.A.R. National Encampment that Kinney attended in Toledo that year and an old family home in Oberlin.

The E. P. Kinney business papers (1888-1930) include a history of the installation of electricity in the Capitol building; drafts of correspondence to the editor of the State Journal and to Senator H. G. Hittle discussing the introduction of electricity in Lansing; a pamphlet explaining the Edison System of incandescent lighting; and a letter written by E. Ewing & Son outlining a contract for painting the Farmer's Market in Lansing (1930). E. P. Kinney's personal papers (1890-1954) consist of items relating to the Kinney family history including newspaper articles, business cards, photographs, and the "Kinney Saga", written by E. P. Kinney. Also included are letters he wrote to a CBS-affiliated radio program in Renfro Valley, Kentucky describing life in Kansas in the late 19th Century; and magazine clippings which depict the type of ox-drawn covered wagon used by the Kinney family when they migrated to Kansas in 1869.

Harry Allen Kinney's papers consist of a patent (1915) for improvements in electric accumulators. His invention made it possible to clean or replace the electrolyte of a battery without disconnecting the connecting straps from the plates.

The Frank F. Kinney papers consist of a published interview (1948) in which he recalled an assignment he was given in 1907 to photograph ice formations at Niagara Falls. The article also includes biographical information on Frank Kinney and the Kinney family.

Ernest A. Kinney's papers include a resume and other records related to his professional career.

Sarah Moffett Graham's papers consist of several pages from her autograph book, 1861-1884.


  • Creation: 1848 - 1970


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

Daniel Bishop Kinney (1803-1879) moved from Cornwall, Vermont, to Oberlin, Ohio in 1834, purchasing forty acres of land. He married Betsy Mathews and they had four children, Rosetta (Rose), Sarah Elizabeth, Henry P., and Edward Cornelius.

Edward Cornelius Kinney (1844-1910) was a surveyor engineer for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Company in the 1860s, and he served as commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in Montana around the turn of the century.

Edward Porter Kinney (1867-1955), a son of Henry P. Kinney, was born in St. Clair, Michigan. In 1869, his family moved to White Cloud, Kansas by covered wagon. From White Cloud, they moved to Hamlin, and then to Manhattan, Kansas. In Manhattan, Kinney attended classes at Kansas State College and received his teacher's certificate in 1885. Two years later, at the age of 20, Kinney went west to do survey and electrical work on the railways. In 1893, Kinney moved to Detroit and worked for Detroit Motor Company and two years later, he and his family moved to Lansing where he organized the Capitol Electric Supply and National Coil Co. (the name was later changed to Capitol Electric Engineering Co.). As proprietor and president of this company, Kinney supervised many electrical engineering jobs throughout the Lansing area including work on the Capitol and on the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) campus. E. P. Kinney married Wilhelmina Sarah Graham and they had eight children, of which the eldest was Edward Everett Kinney, a professor of electrical engineering at Michigan State University (See UA 17.29 Edward E. Kinney Papers).

Harry Allen Kinney (1862-1939) was an older brother of Edward Porter Kinney.

Frank F. Kinney (1869-1952), younger brother of Edward P. Kinney, received his degree in Electrical Engineering from Lewis Institute of Technology in Chicago. He became head of the testing department of the Chicago Edison Co.

Ernest A. Kinney (1898-), a son of Edward P. Kinney, graduated from Michigan State College (now University) with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1932.

Sarah Moffett Graham (1863-1908) was the mother-in-law of Edward Porter Kinney.


0.25 Cubic Feet (, 9 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Edward E. Kinney.

Related Archival Materials

See also Edward E. Kinney papers (UA 17.29) at the University Archives & Historical Collection, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

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

Record group changed from c.00547 to UA 10.3.440 to reflect Kinney's connection to Michigan State University. -M. Badgley-Malone, August 2021.

Kinney Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Bjork
February 1989
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