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Ralph H. Young papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.114

Scope and Contents

The Ralph Young papers are divided into four series. Series 1, Correspondence, is arranged alphabetically by subject. The correspondence covers Young's last years as Athletic Director (1951-1952) and consists mainly of letters to directors at other institutions and agencies such as the N.C.A.A. Series 2, Individual Sports, is composed of materials dealing with individual varsity sports. This series not only contains materials related directly to the varsity sport but also an extensive amount of materials used in teaching physical education courses for the various sports. The sports in the series are baseball, basketball, boxing, cross country (which also includes some track materials), fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, swimming, tennis, track, and wrestling. The amount of material for each sport varies in size. The cross-country and track are the most extensive and contain materials from Young's entire tenure as Athletic Director. Football and basketball are also extensive but only cover the years 1920-1929 and 1950-1952. The remaining sports only contain small amounts of material, usually only from 1951-1953. This series arranged by sport and then roughly chronologically there under. Series 3, Subject Files, encompasses major subject categories unrelated to varsity sports. These include correspondence and financial records from Young's chairmanship of the 1952 Olympic Fund Raising Committee, Physical Education Department material and papers on training and nutrition. These are arranged by subject and then roughly chronologically there under. Series 4, Office Files, is composed of miscellaneous materials from Young's office files (1951-1953) and is arranged alphabetically by subject. The collection also contains photographs of athletics, Jenison Field House, as well as people. They are listed alphabetically by folder title.


  • Creation: 1902 - 1958
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910 - 1958

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Box 911, folder 29 is restricted access until 2025.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

Ralph Hayward Young (born 1889; died January 23, 1962) was the Athletic Director at Michigan Agricultural College/Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) from 1923 to 1954.

Young was born in Crown Point, Indiana and graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in 1915 with a B.S. in Physical Education. Following graduation, he coached football, basketball, and track at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. From 1919 to 1923 Young served as Athletic Director, Professor of Physical Education, and Head Coach of all sports at Kalamazoo College. He arrived at M.A.C. in 1923 where he assumed the title of Athletic Director, a position he would hold for the next thirty years. His tenure in East Lansing saw the Athletic Department grown into one of the nation’s finest. Perhaps Young’s most important accomplishment was MSC entrance into the Big Ten in 1949. From 1923 to 1940 his varsity track teams produced twenty-seven All-Americans, four U.S. Olympians, and three world record-holders. As football coach from 1923 to 1928 Young was considerably less adept, producing 18-22-1 over all record. Another of his major accomplishments was the formation of the Central Collegiate Conference together with Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and Conrad Jennings of Marquette in 1926. This organization served a key role in the promotion of track and field among Midwestern universities. After his retirement from MSC in 1954 Young was elected to the state legislature for three consecutive two-year terms. He died holding that office on January 23, 1962.


8.2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Ralph H. Young Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Wm. McDaid and A. Miller
February 1980
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