Skip to main content

W.K. Kellogg Biological Station records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-16.68

Scope and Contents

Nearly all of the records in series 1–5 of this collection dating through 1955 originated in the offices of Colin M. McCrary (1884-1956), the first farm manager, from 1930 until 1948, when he became station superintendent. In the Administrative series, the first three folders contain letters from and carbon responses to W. K. Kellogg, as McCrary reported monthly to the farm benefactor at his Arabian horse Farm in California and later kept up contact with Kellogg on a more personal level. There are gaps in this series. At his death in 1956 McCrary was succeeded as superintendent by Ronald Dillingham. By this time the Kellogg Biological Station was established and in operation. Other materials include administrative proposals, course offerings, information relating to various faculty, two oversize blueprints, several brochures, and a folder relating to the dedication ceremony in 1954.

With each level of development in the organization of the Kellogg properties, historical material (series 2) was gathered for news background. Four such folders and two special reports on research comprise the second series. One folder is subtitled "Joseph Stack material," referring to the Stations first director (1929-1939).

Newspaper Clippings series consists of twelve folders spanning the dates 1931 to 1977, including the "Hoefer File," referring to the Kellogg Biological Station director, 1977-1982. The bulk of the material was collected during the 1930s and 1940s, apparently by McCrary, and reflects seasonal operations on the farm in particular, as well as a healthy relationship with the local press.

The Publications series, includes a complete set of Summer Session brochures (1954-1977), several descriptive pamphlets; the volume W.K. Kellogg and his Gull Lake Home, by Linda Oliphant Stanford; two volumes of scientific studies; and loose leaf binder containing "Departmental Review - Gull Lake Laboratories, Kellogg Biological Station" (circa 1976).

The Audio-Visual Materials series includes three scrapbooks, photographs, mounted oversize photographs, postcards, and slides. Scrapbook 308 is of particular significance for pictorial information but is in poor condition. The photographs were arranged chronologically by year when received by the archives, and that order was maintained. Not all of the photographs are dated, however. The oversized photographs are mounted duplicated of images contained in the photograph files. The slides are 35mm slides and contain views of the grounds of the Kellogg Biological Station. Many of them are aerial views.

Kellogg Bird Sanctuary series includes additional materials received in 2007 and are comprised of the records of the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, the original program of what is now the Kellogg Biological Station, extending from 1928 until 2000. The bulk of the materials fall between 1931 and 1980. Of notable interest are the papers of Miles D. Pirnie, the first director of the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, especially his correspondence, found in both this collection and in his personal papers (UA 17.102) These papers are divided into seven subseries: Bird Information and Reports; Correspondence, Educational Projects and Seminars; Lecture Notes and Examinations; Miscellaneous; Miscellaneous Reports and Projects; and Wintergreen Lake. Note that Box 2156, Folder 22A is restricted access.


  • Creation: 1908 - 2001


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Box 2156, Folder 22A is restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Historical Note

In 1927, W. K. Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan, purchased a tract of one hundred and twenty-five acres just east of Gull Lake near Augusta, Michigan. After equipping the property with the necessary buildings and stocking it with a large variety of birds, he presented it in 1928 to Michigan State College (MSC,now Michigan State University), along with an endowment. Part of the purpose of the college's acceptance of the Kellogg Sanctuary was to provide field education in the biological sciences to both the public and, with directed research opportunities, to graduate students of the college.

At about the same time additional acreage was provided by the Kellogg Foundation (established in 1930) for the Kellogg Demonstration Farm, to be run by the Michigan Agriculture Experiment Station as part of its mission to conduct research into farm practices and to disseminate the information in both scientific journals and practical bulletins.

Still additional acreage designated for land reclamation and reforestation was established as the Kellogg Reforestation Tract, also circa 1930. The experimental and demonstration activity was conducted by the Department of Forestry at MSC.

The three projects were administered separately until 1948, when the Kellogg properties were collectively called the W.K. Kellogg Station of Michigan State College, and placed under the supervision of one superintendent. By then they had come to include the Demonstration Farm, a Research Farm, a Nutrition Farm (these two were later called "Feed Research"), the Bird Sanctuary, and the Forest. In the 1950s the last two were administered by the Division of Conservation while the others were held as agricultural substations, all within the College of Agriculture.

Planning began in 1952 for a modern biological station, uniting the previous facilities and embellishing the complex with the addition of the Kellogg summer estate, including a Tudor-style mansion which was converted into a conference center. Regular Summer Session courses, which had begun in 1929 and were suspended during World War II, were reinstituted in 1954. Since that time the complex has been variously known as Kellogg Gull Lake Biological Station, Kellogg Biological Station Gull Lake Laboratories, and Gull Lake Conference Center of Continuing Education. It was administered by the Biological Sciences Division of the College of Science and Agriculture.

In 1962, the Station was administratively reorganized under the College of Natural Science, and in 1969 the Kellogg Biological Station acquired separate status in which the complex, consisting of Extension Office, Laboratories, Conference Center, Farm, Forest, and Bird Sanctuary formed a unit allied with the College of Natural Science. As of 1976, still a separate administrative unit, the Kellogg Biological Science has been allied with both the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Natural Science.


12.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The records of the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station are arranged into six series which are further arranged alphabetically by subject: (1) Administrative. (2) Historical Materials. (3) Newspaper Clippings. (4) Publications. (5) Audio-Visual Materials. (6) Kellogg Bird Sanctuary.

Related Archival Materials

See also Miles D. Pirnie papers (UA 17.102)

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.



Kellogg Biological Station Records
4 Published And Cataloged
J. A. Jager
July 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