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John A. King papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.206

Scope and Contents

The papers of John A. King contain correspondence, diaries, and typescripts of his diaries. One diary is from his freshman year at the University of Michigan (1939). The other diaries describe his experiences in World War II, his travels abroad, and King’s daily life in Michigan.

The majority of the diaries contain information about King and his wife Joan’s life in Webberville and Okemos, Michigan. He writes about daily happenings and social activities that the two engaged in. He also makes note of the weather, relative humidity, and temperature for each day. In addition, he notes native animals such as fox, squirrels, raccoons, deer, mink and muskrat that frequent his backyard and pond. Several of the diaries contain notes about raccoons caught in traps. The diaries also list books and movies that King read and viewed and his comments on each.

The correspondence files contain conversations on politics, social functions and discussions about issues of nature and scientific discoveries, as well as talk about families and happenings in each other's lives.

Also included in the collection are King’s early research notes and field work on prairie dogs.

The electronic resources series contains digital versions of King's autobiographical sketches, diaries, and correspondence from the years 1937-2013. The autobiographical short essays cover King's own life, genealogies of family members and himself, and his observations and philosophy. His curriuculum vitae and other career documentation, as well as short biographies of some of his friends, are also included with the autobiographical material. Correspondence includes letters to business associates, politicians, colleagues, students, friends (including Army friends), and relatives. Some of his wife Joan's letters to politicians during her tenure as AARP State Legislative Chairman (1990-1991) are also included. The digital transcripts of King's diaries cover the years 1937-2002, from his time as a student at the University of Michigan through his careers in the Army and academia, and his family life. Four manuscripts of short stories and essays written under the pseudonym Rexford Strathroy are also included, as well as manuscripts for two scientific papers and a biographical sketch of his mentor and colleague J. Paul Scott.


  • Creation: 1937 - 2013


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

John Arthur King was born in Detroit, Michigan, on June 22, 1921. He married Joan McGinty on June 25, 1949. He graduated from the University of Michigan, with a B.S. in 1943, an M.S. in 1948, and a Ph.D. in 1952.

Entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in April 1943. Traianing first at Camp Custer and then to Florida. He became a pilot and flew B-17. King was the Associate Editor of Ecology from 1959-1962 and a professor of Zoology at Michigan State University from 1961 until his retirement in 1986. He was concerned with the effects of the interaction between hereditary and environmental factors on animal behavior. His research centered on the way in which the behavior of animals is affected by the experiences that they have early in life. John and Joan have a daughter Andrea who was born on November 10, 1953 who is married to Jon, and a son Kit (Christopher,) who was born on December 25, 1951 who is divorced from Wendy, and remarried to Christine. Kit has two daughters, Isabella and Natalie.

Joan King served as a docent at the Kresge Art Museum. In 1999 she was elected as the Acting Regional Vice President of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP.)


1.3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Preservica Public URL|3a8f7f75-81a3-413a-90cb-549d00be6f20/

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

John A. King Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Newman
April 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

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