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Christopher Sower papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.223

Scope and Contents

The papers of Christopher Sower consist primarily of his professional writings and also includes notes, departmental memos, and reports. There are two main series: Publications, and Reports & Proposals.

The Publications series contains a group of loose papers which are listed by title, however the majority of the material was kept by Sower in chronological order by year. These groupings contain all his writings including, published articles, drafts, working papers, memos, and correspondence relating to his work with a small amount of personal items interspersed among the material, for each year. These groupings were kept in the original order that Sower arranged them. A list of some of his topics for each year's work is included in the folder descriptions. There is one separate folder of Sower family papers.


  • Creation: 1951 - 1991


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.


Christopher Sower was born June 1, 1912 in Manistee, Michigan. He completed high school in Spencer, Ohio in 1929. He received a Bachelor of Education at Ashland College in Ashland, Ohio and received graduate degrees from Ohio State University: M.A. in Social Administration (1936) and Ph.D. (1948).

In between completing his two graduate degrees, Sower worked as a rural sociologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and worked for the American Red Cross in Great Britain, Europe, and Washington, D.C. during the World War II years. His duties included working in employment services and directing youth programs. Sower was hired at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) as an Assistant Professor starting in 1946, while he was still working toward his doctorate. His major responsibility at that time was research and teaching sociology and anthropology classes. In 1949, he was appointed associate professor of sociology and anthropology and was appointed full professor in 1956.

Sower received a Fulbright Research Scholarship in 1955-1956 researching the development issues in the country of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1963 he continued this research by serving on a United Nations Technical Assistance Mission to Ceylon. In addition to his overseas research, he was prolific in publishing about national, state, local, and community organizations and their structure (private and public). He studied and published works concerning teen-age behavior and drinking, rural development, the structure and nature of Land-Grant Institutions, industrial, agricultural, and religious organizations, highway studies, urban development and blight, and centralized knowledge centers. He retired as professor emeritus in 1982 from Michigan State University. He remained active in his field of study after retirement and his last book was Formula for Change, published in 1994. Christopher Sower passed away on May 30, 2007.


6 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL|1dd72db8-73eb-417c-a142-099a8e14a692/

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Christopher Sower Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
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