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Frank Stewart Kedzie papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.8

Scope and Contents

The collection has been maintained in its original order; alphabetically within a chronological framework. The overall arrangement has been divided into three main series: Correspondence, Subject Files, and Alumni Catalogue (1927). There are also miscellaneous materials, oversize, scrapbooks, and photographs.

The Correspondence series consists of personal and professional correspondence between Frank S. Kedzie and colleagues, circa 1901-1933. Significant among the early papers are documents concerning the settlement of his father's estate. Professionally related correspondence includes exchange with: John Beaumont on the establishment and dedication of Beaumont Tower in 1929; with Charles W. Garfield, member of the State Board of Agriculture (1887-1899), on the establishment of a bronze memorial tablet commemorating Dr. Manly Miles, first Professor of Practical Agriculture; with Henry A. Haigh, class of 1878, on Kedzie's involvement in the establishment of the sugar-beet industry in Michigan; and with President Robert Shaw regarding Kedzie's dismissal in 1932. The correspondence from John Beaumont from 1928 includes a list of the items placed in the cornerstone of Beaumont Tower.

The Subject Files series covers a broad array of topics. There are documents concerning matters of college administration such as: handwritten minutes of faculty meetings; party request slips by various organizations for permission to use campus buildings; student medical excuses from class attendance; and papers relating to college expenditures. There are also materials pertaining to Kedzie's career as college historian, that include: essays written by Kedzie on the history of M.A.C.; rosters of students and faculty involved in the military service; and information on the first Patriarch’s Dinner (1929), which Kedzie initiated. Also found in this series are papers regarding Kedzie's personal life, including: information on Kedzie's dogs and horses; two photograph albums of the Kedzie-Marvin family, and; two volumes of the Marvin family bible, one of which includes a family record.

The Alumni Catalogue series (1927) consists of letters from Kedzie to alumni of M.A.C.(now Michigan State University) requesting personal information for inclusion in an updated Alumni Catalogue.


  • Creation: 1855 - 1995


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

Frank Stewart Kedzie (1857-1935) was born May 12, 1857, in Vermontville, Michigan. Over the course of his long career at the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State Univeristy), Professor Kedzie acquired an intimate knowledge of the institution's history. As the son of Dr. Robert Clark Kedzie, a professor of Chemistry at M.A.C, Frank was raised on Faculty Row. He attended M.A.C. and graduated in 1877 with a B.S. in Agriculture. Subsequently, he studied medicine with a Lansing physician. In 1880, when Frank's brother, Robert, resigned as assistant in Chemistry, Frank returned to M.A.C. and assumed the position under his father. Soon he began lecturing, and to his students became affectionately known as "Uncle Frank.” Furthering his education, Frank gained a Masters degree and studied at the Friedreich Wilhelm University in Berlin, Germany, circa 1889-1890. In 1902, following his father's retirement, Frank Kedzie was appointed head of the Chemistry department. In 1912, the College conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science upon him.

In 1916, Professor Kedzie was appointed president of M.A.C. During his term, Kedzie continued to teach albeit on an abbreviated schedule. He also began to promote numerous alumni activities. Significant among these was the development of private financial support for the construction of new campus buildings. His initiation of these activities was to culminate in the construction of three buildings: the Ransom E. Olds Hall of Engineering (1916), the Union Building (1924), and Beaumont Tower (1929).

In 1921, Kedzie resigned as president. The College had not witnessed the anticipated post-war growth in enrollment. It was believed that a new curriculum developed to suit changing educational needs and demands (and new leadership to implement it) was needed. In that same year, 1921, the Division of Applied Science was created, to which Dr. Kedzie was appointed dean. From 1925-1927, Kedzie concurrently served as dean and chairman of the Committee on Historical Materials. Upon Kedzie's resignation as dean in 1927, he was offered the newly funded position of College Historian. Correspondence with President Kenyon L. Butterfield documents Kedzie's changing relationship with M.S.U.

Professor Kedzie was dissatisfied with Dr. Beal's "History of the Michigan Agricultural College" (1915) and had plans to rewrite it. President Butterfield was also anxious for a history of the College to be written for the upcoming 75th anniversary of M.A.C. Accordingly, Kedzie put forth a great deal of effort collecting historical information from alumni about their college experiences, and had written, over the years, various short essays to friends on matters related to College history and traditions.

Frank Kedzie's history was not to be completed. Due to a conflict of opinion with President Robert Shaw, he was dismissed from the position of College Historian and the post was dissolved by the State Board of Agriculture in 1932. He died three years later, on January 5, 1935, leaving a $50,000 bequest to the college for the purchase of chemistry books.

Aside from his college affairs, Frank Kedzie played an active role in the development of the Michigan sugar-beet industry, as did his father. He published in many magazines on both historical and agricultural related topics; including the Michigan Historical Magazine, the Michigan Farmer and the M.A.C. Record. Frank Kedzie married Kate Marvin of Lansing, an accomplished music teacher, in 1885. Though the couple had no children, they raised many animals being especially fond of thoroughbred horses and pedigreed dogs.


7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gifts of Madison Kuhn, Ralph W. Lewis, Frederic B. Dutton, and Margaret Plant Thorp.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of the President. Frank Stewart Kedzie Papers
3 Ready For Cataloging
L. Pierce
April 1991
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