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Coats and Davenport families collection

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-28.47

Scope and Contents

The Coats and Davenport families collection contains correspondence between Emma Coats Davenport, her parents, and her husband describing day to day family life and life on the farm. The collection also contains letters from other friends and relatives. During the time Eugene and Emma lived at Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.) (now Michigan State University), the letters contain descriptions of campus life, people, and Eugene’s activities. Later after they moved away, there are the occasional letters from people at M.A.C. including several from Hannah Beal, wife of William Beal. In addition, there are letters from Emma’s sisters, Ethel and Alice, that describe their lives as students. Later letters from Eugene describe his work at the University of Illinois.

Some interesting points in the letters are Professor Davenport's correspondence with a former student who served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War.

Family trips to Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C., southern states and out west are described within the letters.

Transcriptions of the letters can also be found in the collection along with a note from the transcriber, a genealogy chart, list of correspondents, and copies of some family photographs.


  • Creation: 1880-1900, 2023


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

Eugene Davenport was born in 1846 on a farm in Michigan. He attended Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) and graduated in 1878 and later earned his master's degree in 1884. He returned to campus for further study in 1888 and because the farm superintendent in 1889.

In January 1895, Davenport became the dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois. In 1896, he became director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and then university vice president in 1920.

George W. Coats and Abbey Jane Richardson Coats had five children one of whom was Emma Jane. Emma Jane Coats married Eugene Davenport on November 2, 1881. They had two children but only Margaret survived to adulthood. Margaret eventually married Harold Tukey, a horticulture professor at Michigan State University.


3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Preservica Public URL|d6cb2fb3-093a-4d3a-8927-14a75f9545dc/

Legal Status

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

Coats and Davenport Families Collection
4 Published And Cataloged
J. Baars, S. Roberts
February 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

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