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State Board of Agriculture / Board of Trustee records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-1

Scope and Contents

The State Board of Agriculture papers include correspondence, minutes, reports, financial records, legal records and newspaper clippings of the first governing body of the state agriculture college.

The College Lands series includes correspondence, reports, land descriptions, employment records, financial records, minutes, legal documents, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the management of state lands endowed to the college via the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862.

The Board of Trustees records include minutes of meetings, reference materials and supporting documentation for the Board meetings.

The collection includes information of significant campus events including its centennial and sesquiennial celebrations.

The CDs series includes digitized audio recordings.

The Electronic Resources series includes digitized audio recordings and text documents of meeting minutes.

Dates

  • 1850 - 2018

Creator

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.

Historical Note

In 1849, the Michigan State Agricultural Society was founded with the objective to "promote the improvement of agriculture and its kindred arts, through out the State of Michigan." Any person could become a member of the Michigan State Agricultural Society, as long as they paid the $1 per year dues, $10 for life membership. County agricultural societies became auxiliaries of the Michigan State Agricultural Society, and the counties annually submitted reports and abstracts of the transactions of the county societies, which were included in the Annual Report of the Legislature. These reports were used as a statement of the condition of state agricultural interests. One objective of the Society was to establish an agricultural college of the state. In doing so, Michigan Agricultural College came to be. In 1861, the Executive Committee of the Michigan State Agricultural Society asked the state legislature to create a state board of agriculture to administer the operations of the college. The original State Board of Agriculture was comprised of six members. Biennially thereafter the governor would appoint two members to six year terms. Their first meeting was in the spring of 1861. The membership of the State Board of Agriculture was increased to seven in 1905. The new member served the same length of term as the others, but had to be a resident of the state’s upper peninsula. The state’s third constitution, approved in 1908, changed the governing body of the college to a constitutional board elected by the people of the state. It also shifted the administrative authority of the college from the State Board of Agriculture to the president of the college.

The State Board of Agriculture became the Michigan State University Board of Trustees (BOT) in May, 1959. The Michigan Constitution of 1963, authorizes the MSU Board of Trustees to supervise and control the expenditure of funds. Currently, the Board of Trustees consists of eight members elected for eight year terms. Two members are selected every two years by the people of Michigan in a statewide general election.

State Board of Agriculture Lands papers

The State Board of Agriculture Lands papers contain the record of the Board which deal with the administration of lands endowed to the college under the provision of the Morrill Federal Land-Grant Act of 1862. This act provided for the apportionment to each state 30,000 acres of public lands per senator or representative in the United States Congress, for the "endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college." In 1863, the Michigan legislature accepted this grant and bestowed it upon Michigan Agricultural College which had opened in 1857. With the endowment of 240,000 acres of land, the officer of the college believed that the revenues produced from the lands would eventually enable M.A.C. to become self-sustaining.

The dream was not to be realized. By the turn of the century, only one fourth of the original grant remained. The pine land and better farming areas had all been sold and the land which remained was unsuitable either for agriculture or lumbering. The college agent, Fremont E. Skeels, had to be constantly alert to protect the scattered tracts from trespassers and the threat of fires. Though the Morrill fund eventually reached one million dollars, the 7% interest rate proved to be inadequate to allow the college to support itself. The state legislature was forced to provide funds for M.A.C. permanently.

Source: Kuhn, Madison. Michigan State, The First Hundred Years. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1955.

Extent

110.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series.

1. State Board of Agriculture papers, 1855-circa 1900, (35 cubic feet) Correspondence, minutes, reports, financial records, legal records, and newspaper clippings of the first governing body of the state agriculture college. These records primarily concern the establishment and operation of the college from 1855 until the early 1900s.

2. College Land papers, 1883-1922, (1 cubic feet) Correspondence, reports, land descriptions, employment records, financial records, minutes, legal documents, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the management of state lands endowed to the College via the Morrill Federal-Grant Act of 1862.

3. Board of Trustee Meeting records, May 1959-present, (73 cubic feet) Minutes, reference materials, and supporting documentation for the Board Of Trustees meetings.

Custodial History

Materials transferred by Madison Kuhn and the Office of the President.

Legal Status

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

Title
State Board of Agriculture / Board of Trustee Records
Status
2 Draft Or Revision In Progess
Date
2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Contact:
Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US
517-355-2330