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Jackson Edmund Towne papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.46

Scope and Contents

This collection consists mainly of Towne’s correspondence, articles, and speeches. Also included in the collection are documents and correspondence concerning the estate of Annie L. Towne, his mother, and the papers of his wife, Katherine Doyle Towne. The collection also includes papers on the World’s Columbian Exposition donated by Towne, consisting of committee reports, a contract for water services at the exposition, and two letters, one requesting exhibit space and the other expressing concern over the number of entrances to the exposition.


  • Creation: 1892 - 1971


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

Jackson Edmund Towne (1894-1971) grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and went to college at Harvard where he graduated in 1917, and where he also obtained his Master’s degree in 1919. He then attended the University of Illinois Library School, where he obtained a Master’s of Library Science in 1922. From 1922-1924, Towne was a night librarian at Yale University and from 1924-1926, he worked in the library of the University of Iowa. In 1926, Towne was employed in the New York University library where he worked until 1928 when he left to become head librarian of the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1932, Towne came to Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) as head librarian, a position he held until his retirement in 1959. From 1960-1964, Towne was a professor of bibliography, serving concurrently as engineering librarian in 1963-1964. Towne’s published articles include many related to the disposition of books and library administration, and also include bibliographies, biographies and subjects in other areas. He worked on two large projects, one which dealt with Charles Kendall Adams who was responsible for the library buildings and programs at the University of Michigan, Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin in the late 1800s. The other project was the Douglass C. McMurtrie Collection of the MSU Library which deals with early printing in the United States, a collection which Towne processed. Towne belonged to many clubs and organizations, including library, fraternal and bibliographical groups, various MSU clubs, and others. Notable among the organizations are the Sons of the American Revolution of which he was president of the Michigan Chapter, 1947-1948, and the American Library Association, which he was active in from the 1920s to the 1960s.


5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



In general, the collection is arranged according to normal archival procedure with two exceptions:

1. Due to the Towne's involvement with many library groups, a separate series has been made for those organizations.

2. While working on the Adams and McMurtrie projects, Towne wrote numerous articles concerning those subjects, and the articles will be found under the appropriate project heading instead of under the heading “Articles.”

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Jackson E. Towne Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
June 2005
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