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Oscar Clute papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.5

Scope and Content

The Oscar Clute papers consist primarily of correspondence (1889-1893) during Clute's presidency at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). Also included are several articles on education and M.A.C., and information about the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The period of Clute's presidency was characterized by student unrest, political crises, and faculty turnover.


  • Creation: 1889 - 1893


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

Oscar Clute was born near Albany, New York, March 1, 1837 of Dutch descent, and died in a Soldiers Home near Los Angeles, California, January 27, 1902. Clute taught high school from 1855 to 1859, at which time he entered the sophomore class at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). He graduated in 1862. He served briefly in Howlett's Engineers during the Civil War. In 1864 he married Mary Merrylees (sister of Mrs. T.C. Abbot). They had six children: William Merrylees, Oscar Clark, Lucy Merrylees, Katherine Spencer, Edward Hale and Marie Morrill.

Following graduation Clute taught mathematics at M.A.C. for four years, excepting the period of brief military service. He received an M.S. degree in 1864. In 1866 he entered Meadville Theological Seminary, graduating in 1867. From 1868-1889 Clute served as a minister in Unitarian Church of New Jersey, Iowa and California. He was selected president of M.A.C. in 1889 and remained for four years. In 1893 M.A.C. Board conferred upon him an LL.D. Also in 1893 he left for the presidency of Florida Agricultural College, retiring from there in ill health in 1897.

The presidency at M.A.C. was a trying experience for the reserved and determined scholar. The college faced numerous crises from within as well as without. Student unrest, large scale faculty turnover and the populist revolt all seem to have taken a toll on Clute's health.

Following his retirement from M.A.C., Clute moved to Pomona, California. He returned to the ministry for one year before being forced by ill-health into the Soldier's Home.


0.75 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of the President. Oscar Clute Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Harms
January 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