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Richard Henry Harms papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.159

Scope and Contents

The first item is a sixteen page paper entitled “Farmers Versus Scientist: The Samuel Johnson Episode,” which was written by the donor in 1983. It was subsequently published in Michigan History ( vol. 67, no. 4 (July/August 1983): 26-32.) It examines the controversy surrounding Samuel Johnson, who was Professor of Practical Agriculture at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) 1879-1889. At issue was Johnson’s competency to teach the subject. Farmers believed that his practical background in farming was ideal for teaching, while students felt his lack of scientific knowledge precluded him from teaching. As a result of the controversy, Johnson resigned in 1889.

The second document is a copy of Harms’ dissertation, “Life after Lumbering: Charles Henry Hackley and the Emergence of Muskegon, Michigan,” written in 1984. It describes the life of one of Michigan’s premier lumbermen, the community in which he lived, and the industry in which he worked. It traces the various firms Hackley formed and their relative successes. It also notes his expansion into lumbering operations in Minnesota, Ohio and South Carolina, as well as extensive timberland purchases in the South. The work concludes with a description of the efforts by Muskegon businessmen (primarily lumbermen, with Hackley in the lead) to bring industry to the community to replace the closing mills. Lastly, the work described Hackley’s personal life and his philanthropy.


  • Creation: 1983 - 1984


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

Richard Henry Harms was born in Blija, Friesland, The Netherlands in 1951. At birth he was named Dirk Harms. In December 1958 the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Five year later, upon obtaining his U.S. citizenship, he legally changed his name from Dirk to Richard Henry. He married Joan Freehouse in 1975. They have two children, Christopher Jacob and Kate Elizabeth. Harms graduated from Calvin College in 1973, with a B.A., from Western Michigan University in 1976 with a M.A., and from Michigan State University in 1984 with his Ph.D. He has spoken and published articles on a variety of topics in the fields of history and archives.


0.1 Cubic Feet (, 2 folders)

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Donor holds copyright of "Farmers versus Scientists" until 2015.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Richard H. Harms Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
P. Hudson, R. Harms
April 1983
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