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John Brattin family papers

Identifier: UA-10.3.429

Scope and Content

The John Brattin family papers consist of mainly John Brattin’s papers and correspondence, but it does contain materials and correspondence from his first wife, Alice Jane, and his mother-in-law, Kate Baker Knight. This collection covers John’s life from high school graduation until his death. Included in the collection are correspondence, work documents, photographs related to the Bowlby, Baker, and Knight families, certificates, family newsletters, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, a postcard collection, small tokens from John’s travels, and stamps.

There are many loose stamps found throughout the collection in various folders. Also, letters that are addressed to “Chetty” were referring to John Brattin. His family nickname was “Chetty.”


  • Creation: 1849 - 1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Box 6351, folders 16-17 are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

John Bowlby Brattin was born on June 7, 1915 to Elizabeth Hope and Claude Lamar Brattin. Since the age of four, John was a life-long resident of East Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from high school in 1932, John and a friend hitch-hiked across the United States, unable to attend the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles which was the original goal. After returning home, John attended Michigan State College (MSC, now Michigan State University) and graduated in 1936 with his Bachelor’s degree. During his time at MSC, John met his first wife, Alice Jane Knight (MSC graduate 1935), whom he married in 1939. A few months later, John graduated from the University of Michigan with his law degree. Together, John and Alice Jane had seven children. His children affectionately called him “Chetty.” John had his own law practice in East Lansing, worked to help end racism, and protested against the United States involvement in wars. He volunteered his time to several local community organizations, such as the Edgewood United Church, the Lansing Mental Health Center, the East Lansing School Board, the American Friends Service Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He was awarded the Greater Lansing Human Relation award in 1962. An avid traveler, John traveled around the world. He visited all fifty states, all the provinces in Canada, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and more. He was also a collector of stamps and loved playing tennis. John’s first wife, Alice Jane, died in 1983. Three years later in 1986, John married his second wife, Margaret Peisner. John passed away on May 6, 1995.


8.5 Cubic Feet (8 boxes, 1 scrapbook box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Processing Information

Record group changed from 00254 to UA 10.3.429 to reflect John and Alice Brattin's connection to Michigan State University. -M. Badgley-Malone, January 2023.

John Brattin Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Jennie Russell
June 28, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US