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Edwin Willits papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.4

Scope and Content

The Edwin Willits papers consist of correspondence, financial records, Willits' inaugural address at Michigan Agricultural College, and various education-related materials, primarily concerning natural science.


  • Creation: 1884 - 1889


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

Following the resignation of T. C. Abbot in 1885, a noted educator, politician and lawyer, Edwin Willits, was selected as the president of Michigan Agricultural College. During his four year tenure, Willits obtained $60,000 from the State Legislature for the construction of nine new buildings including a much needed mechanical arts building.

Willits' career had well prepared him for the presidency. Born on April 24, 1830 in Otto, Cattaragus County, New York, his family moved to Michigan. Willits received an A.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1855. Later he also received an A.M. degree from the same university. In 1857 he was admitted to the Michigan Bar. Living in Adrian, Michigan, Mr. Willits practiced law and taught school. He was the prosecutor of Monroe County from 1860-1868. From 1861 to 1873 he served on the State Board of Education. He also served as Postmaster of Monroe County from 1863-1866. In 1873 he was selected as a member of the State Constitutional Convention and was a Representative to the U.S. Congress from Southeastern Michigan from 1877 to 1883. In 1882 he became the principal of the State Normal School. Following his four year tenure at M.A.C., he was the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in the Grover Cleveland Administration.

Willits was married to Jane Ingersoll and they had one son, George S. Willits. Edwin Willits died on October 24, 1896 in Washington, D.C.


0.33 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of the President. Edwin Willits Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Harms
February 1979
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