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Abbott family collection

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-10.3.484

Content Description

The Abbott family collection includes general and personal correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, certificates, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and realia. This includes letters written and photographs taken by Ai and Elizabeth Abbott during their time in Peru, correspondence and journals from Inez Abbott and Ella Snyder during their time in Europe and Bulgaria, and photographs and realia relating to the Chicago Commons Settlement.


  • Creation: 1892 - 2016


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 / Historical

Ai Arthur Abbott was born in 1866 in Fairfield, Lenawee County, Michigan to parents Oramon Barnes Abbott and Maria Skinner Abbott, moving to Holt, Michigan in 1878. Ai attended Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) and graduated in 1887 with the intent of managing the family farm, however discovering he was not satisfied with this lifestyle, he enrolled in the Michigan Mining School (now Michigan Technological University) in Houghton, Michigan where he graduated in 1893 with a Mining Engineering degree and became an instructor at the school. Ai married Elizabeth Annetta (Nettie) Snyder, the daughter of Susannah Matthews and Jacob Snyder, otherwise known as Forrest J. Raymond in May 1897 in Salem, Ohio. The couple moved to Butte, Montana where their first child, Elan, was born in November 1898. Their second child, Ruth, was born in Lansing, Michigan in September 1902. Ai worked as a mining engineer in California, Montana, and South Dakota before accepting a position in Peru with the Cerro De Pasco Mining Company. Ai’s work included surveying, sampling, and mine examination, and resulted in his promotion to assistant superintendent, and then superintendent of the mines. Elizabeth, Elan, and Ruth lived with Ai in Peru from 1904 to 1906, returning to the United States in August 1906. Ai returned to Peru in late 1906 or early 1907, leaving his family in Lansing, Michigan, and becoming a Managing Agent and joint owner of McCune-Vannoni Property, while also serving as a mining superintendent for Peruvian Mining and Smelting Company owned by A. W. McCune. Ai died in 1908 from a fever while surveying for the new mining venture in Callao, Peru. Following Ai's death, Elizabeth continued to raise her children in Lansing, and later became involved at the Chicago Commons Settlement with her sister Ella Mary Snyder. Elizabeth died in Lansing in 1954.

Elan Oramon Abbott attended Culver Military School in Culver, Indiana during the summer of 1916, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1918. Elan attended one year of college at Michigan Agricultural College in 1919, and one year at the University of Michigan in 1920. In 1927 Elan married Marion Hope Dear of Ironwood, Michigan after she graduated in 1923 from Michigan Normal School in Marquette, Michigan and worked at the school for several years. From 1938-1967 Marion worked as the assistant director of the finance division for the State of Michigan. Elan and Marion's only child was Marjorie Ruth Abbott who was born in Indiana in 1928, and later moved to Lansing. Marjorie attended and graduated from JW Sexton High School in 1946, and briefly attended classes at Michigan State University. In 1947 she married Donald Smith, and by 1952 they had three children together. Marjorie returned to Michigan State and graduated in 1959 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, and divorced Don in 1960. In 1962 Marjorie married Jude Swalley, having three more children together, and starting two veterinary practices, one in Flint, Michigan, and the other in Clio, Michigan. Marjorie and Jude lived on an 80-acre farm in Clio until her passing in 2002.

Ruth Susan Abbott graduated from Michigan Agricultural College in 1924 and married Donald (Don) Raymond Haskin, captain of the Michigan State College football team. Together they had one child, Susan (Sue) Myrnette Haskin, who was born in 1929. Ruth lived until 1992, and Donald passed in 1965. Susan Myrnette Haskin graduated from East Lansing High School in 1947, and attended Northwestern University. Following a break from college, Susan earned her Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 1961 and a Master of Arts in 1964. Susan worked as a librarian, and eventually served as interim Head Librarian for the State of Michigan in 1983. Following her time as Head Librarian, Susan retired and moved to San Diego, California where she lived until her passing in 2014.

Inez Louise Abbott, the sister of Ai Arthur Abbott, was born in 1869 in Lenawee County, Michigan. Inez graduated from Lansing Central High School in 1887, and attended the University of Michigan from 1891 to 1898 earning a Bachelor and Master of Arts. In 1907, Inez became the principal at the American School in Samokov, Bulgaria, where she worked with Ella Mary Snyder. Inez died of influenza/pneumonia in 1926.

Ella Mary Snyder, the daughter of Susannah Matthews and Jacob Snyder, otherwise known as Forrest J. Raymond, was born in 1861. Following 46 years of work in the Salem, Ohio schools, Ella began teaching at the American School in Samokov, Bulgaria, where she stayed until the death of principal Inez Louise Abbott. Following her time in Bulgaria, Ella returned to the United States where she worked at the Chicago Commons Settlement with her sister Elizabeth Annetta Snyder Abbott. Ella was especially close to her nephew Arthur Charles Dodge, who lived in Chicago during this time. Ella lived until her passing in 1957.

(Sourced from the genealogical research of Kathryn Robey.)


4 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


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.

Abbott Family Collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Rebecca Yeomans-Stephenson
June 2024
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