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Department of Art records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-16.15

Scope and Contents

Administrative Subject Files. 1926-1970, Undated. Records dealing with the administration of the department. The bulk of the records date from the 1950s and 1960s. The files are particularly useful in documenting the outside activities of the department such as Continuing Education, Cooperative Extension, the Evening College and various overseas projects. The extensive materials dealing with the preparation of annual reports and budget records are also noteworthy in documenting the department's history. Also included are brochures about the program, newsletters, the booklet MSU Artists Celebrating Past and Present 1939 to 1989. The Old Art Building in Leland, course scheduling information, a Survey of Students in LFA Courses for 1955, and a drawing by Philip Kappel with the inscription “for my friend Scule.” Also included are a negative and a print of Scheele's work "The Restless Sea." Arranged alphabetically by subject.

All-University Grant Reports. 1964-1965. Final reports for All-University Grants awarded by MSU for faculty research. 'The reports document various projects of the Art Department faculty and include proposals for research as well as reports turned in upon the completion of each project. Arranged chronologically.

Arnold George Scheele Art Collection Inventories. 1942, 1946-1952. Inventories of the paintings by Arnold George Scheele, a faculty member of the Art Department from 1918 to 1941. Scheele's paintings were extensively exhibited in buildings on the MSU campus. The inventories list the title, size and location of each of Scheele's works. Arranged chronologically.

Artist Resumes. 1967-1989, Undated. Resumes of MSU professors and artists. Resumes vary from person to person but some list the person's education, exhibits, exhibit flyers, and photographs. Correspondence of the Chair. 1964-1969. Incoming and outgoing correspondence of the chairman of the Art Department. The bulk of the correspondence is Erling B. Brauner's, who served as chairman from 1963-1970, although a few letters of his predecessor, Howard Church, can be found in the series. The letters relate to such matters as exhibits, departmental meetings, curriculum and income from gifts and exhibition sales. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent and thereunder chronologically.

Enrollment Reports. 1958-1966. Statistical compilation for courses taught in the Art Department. They include such statistics as the enrollment for each course, distribution of enrollment by curriculum, grade distributions for each course and faculty teaching and credit loads. Arranged chronologically by item.

History of the Department. 1950, 1962. Two working drafts of the history of the MSU Art Department written by Howard Church. The first draft was written in 1950 for a feature articles in the Lansing Journal. The second draft is a shorter treatment of the years 1990-1961. Church discusses department heads, curriculum changes, administrative changes and professional activities. Arranged chronologically.

Newspaper clippings. 1939-1993, Undated. Newspaper clippings of MSU art professors. Clippings involve art exhibits, achievements, and death notices.

Personnel/CVs. 1933-1997, Undated. Personnel information about professors, including curricula vitae, board actions and personnel decisions, memos and correspondence, exhibition information, articles, biographical information sheets, reports, and professional development.

Photographs. Includes photographs of artists, faculty, and artwork.

Annual Reports. 1926-1969, Undated. This series includes published and published annual reports of the department.

Museum Studies Program. 2012-2016. Included herein are materials relating to the interdisciplinary Museum Studies Program, which is housed within the Department of Art, Art History, & Design. The materials include electronic newsletters and other notices sent electronically through the program's e-mail listserv from 2012 to 2016.

Restricted Items. 1943-1993, Undated. Student records including data on scholarships, test scores and personnel evaluations which must be restricted by University policy. Personnel/CV materials from professors that includes tenure evaluations and report cards.


  • Creation: 1923-2016, 2018


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research except where noted. Box 622 Folders 40-44 contain restricted material.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Historical Note

The Department of Art grew from courses in drawing offered at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). As early as 1861-62, drawing courses were offered in the basic curriculum as an aid to students in engineering and laboratory coursework. By 1901, the department had been placed under the Engineering Department with the name of "Drawing and Design". The growth of enrollment in freehand drawing and painting courses after World War I led to the separation of the art courses from the more practical engineering drawing. In 1931, the art curriculum was separated from the Engineering Department and placed under the new division of Liberal Arts. Further increases in enrollment resulted in the scattering of departmental activities in several different buildings. In 1956, the Kresge Foundation made a gift of $1,500,000 to MSU for the construction of a building solely for the Department of Art. In 1959, the new building was dedicated as the Kresge Art Center. In 1964, the Department of Art was once more placed under a new college as the School of Science and Arts was divided into several separate colleges. The Art Department was then placed under the new college of Arts and Letters.

Arnold George Scheele (1931-1941), Albert Christ-Janer (1942-1945), Howard Church (1945-1961), Charles E. Meyer (1961-1962), and Erling B. Brauner (1963-1970) served as department heads for the years listed, respectively.


7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


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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.



Department of Art Records
4 Published And Cataloged
J. Bennett
February 1981
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