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Lewis Ransom Fiske papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.2

Scope and Content

The Lewis Ransom Fiske papers include presidential reports to the State Board of Agriculture, two published speeches, an address, correspondence, financial papers, a student petition, and biographical information on Fiske. One item of interest is the two articles in the Michigan Farmer Newspaper (Fl. 10) which describe in detail the expense, effort,and process of clearing land for the original campus area.


  • Creation: 1855 - 1862


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

Lewis Ransom Fiske, second president of Michigan Agricultural College (1859-1863), was born on December 22, 1825 in Penfield, New York, the sixth child of ten born to James and Eleanor Fiske. On September 19, 1852 Fiske married Elizabeth Ross Spencer (d. February 25, 1879). In the summer of 1880 Fiske married Helen M. Davis. Fiske had one daughter and one son with his first wife and three sons with the second. Fiske died on February 14, 1901 following a lingering bout with pneumonia.

Fiske graduated from the University of Michigan in 1850 with an A.D. degree; he also received an A.M. degree from the U. of M. in 1853, a D.D. in 1873 from Albion College and a LL.D. in 1879 from the U. of M.

During his life Fiske had a two faceted career, one as an educator and the other as a minister. He was a professor at Wesleyan Seminary and Female Collegiate Institute, 1850-1853; Professor at Ypsilanti State Normal School, 1853-1856; Professor at the M.A.C., 1856-1859; President of M.A.C., 1859-1863; and finally President of Albion College, 1877-1898. As a Methodist minister Fiske served at the First Methodist Church in Jackson, Michigan, 1863-1866; Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1866-1869; First Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, 1869-1873; Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1876-1877. Fiske was also the editor of the Michigan Christian Advocate from 1875 to 1877. And finally in 1889 was elected head of the State Teachers Association in Michigan.

Fiske's tenure as president of M.A.C. was primarily in the role of a caretaker and as a result he never had the full support of the State Board of Agriculture in policy making. A note on the spelling of Fiske's name: The correct spelling is Fiske. For one period of his life which includes his tenure at M.A.C. he spelled the name as Fisk apparently to avoid confusion by some who thought Fiske was a misspelling of Fisher. Later in life Fiske returned to using the correct spelling of his name.


0.33 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of the President. Lewis Ransom Fiske Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Harms
December 1978
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