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Richard Adams Fennell papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.125

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, university-related materials, and laboratory notebooks and manuscripts. The correspondence ranges in dates from 1936 to 1970, with the greatest concentration being in the forties and fifties. The correspondence is business-related, and written to colleagues and associates.

Several manuscripts written by Fennell are also in the collection, written between the mid-forties and mid-sixties. There are also numerous published articles, some written by Fennell, but most written (in German) by others. There are also several class syllabi and laboratory schedules from classes taught by Fennell in the late sixties as well as examinations from those classes. Lecture notes from 1968 are also present, as are laboratory equipment lists and inventories, and other university-related materials. There are also drafts of several speeches and addresses Fennell gave, mostly in the 1930s and 1940s, over WKAR radio. Finally, there are two laboratory notebooks, probably compiled by Fennell during his collegiate career.


  • Creation: 1936 - 1983


Language of Materials

Some of the materials are in German.

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

Richard Adams Fennell was born April 19, 1903, in Decatur, Alabama. He completed high school there in 1923 and then went on to Birmingham Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. From 1922 to 1923, Fennell worked as a part-time laboratory technician in the Tennessee Valley branch of the Alabama State Health Laboratory. Fennell received his bachelor's degree in Zoology from Birmingham Southern in 1927. Subsequent to graduation from Birmingham Southern, Fennell worked as a graduate assistant there until 1928.

In the fall of 1928, Fennell entered Duke University to do graduate work. He also served as a graduate assistant there. After leaving Duke, Fennell spent the summer of 1930 at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland. That fall, Fennell returned to Birmingham Southern as an instructor in Biology. In 1933, Fennell entered Johns Hopkins University for doctoral study in Zoology. He also worked as a graduate assistant at Johns Hopkins.

In 1936, after receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology from Johns Hopkins, Fennell was appointed as an instructor at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University). He taught several courses, including Comparative Anatomy, Histology, Histological Technique, Invertebrate Zoology, General Zoology, and Morphology. He also assisted with General Biology. From 1944-1946, Fennell also worked as an agent at the U.S. Regional Poultry Laboratory in East Lansing, and in 1947 he was promoted to a full professorship. By 1957, Fennell was offering courses in Comparative Anatomy, Histology, Histological Technique, and Embryology.

Dr. Fennell was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award from the MSC College of Science and Arts in 1954. He was also involved with numerous civic and collegiate organizations and honoraries. These societies include the American Society of Zoologists, the American Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Protozoologists, Delta Xi (National Science Honorary), Delta Phi Alpha (German Honorary) Tri-Beta (Biology Honorary), Kappa Phi Kappa (Education Honorary), Gamma Alpha, Delta Sigma Phi, and the Kiwanis Club of East Lansing.

During his career as a zoologist, Dr. Fennell was a very prolific writer. His first paper was published in 1926, and he published numerous other articles, primarily during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Fennell retired in June 1970 at the age of 67, retaining the title Professor Emeritus and serving as a consultant to the university until his death, on September 17, 1982, at the age of 79.


2 Cubic Feet

Legal Status

Copyright: Dedicated to the public and Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Richard Adams Fennell Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
M. Roy
May 1986
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