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Jonathan LeMoyne Snyder papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.7

Scope and Contents

This collection contains eight series: correspondence, personal correspondence, speeches, reports, promotional literature, calendars, programs and tickets. All series represent the basic divisions of the collection prior to processing.

The largest single series is correspondence, 1896-1915 (18.5 cubic feet). Contained in this series are many requests for college catalogues, many questions regarding admissions, as well as admissions requirements. Comments relative to such campus conditions as student morale, student activities, the discipline of students and related material can be found in this collection. Comments concerning current events at the state, national, or international level are infrequent. There is some material each year that deals with Snyder's attempts to procure funding from the State Legislature. Another area of the series deals with the college faculty, from hiring to termination including policy and salaries.

A note on the processing of this correspondence: It was evident that the original order of large sections of the collection (some material was scattered throughout UA 345, the collection of the University Historian) had been an alphabetical/chronological scheme. The chronological aspect of the scheme, however, varied from progressive to retrogressive and at times a confusing combination of the two. For instance, months were filed separately at times, interfiled progressively at times and at other times interfiled retrogressively. Consequently, for the sake of uniformity, an alphabetical-progressive system was adopted for the processed collection.

The personal correspondence (0.3 cubic feet) contains more of Snyder's personal views on various topics at the College, but in particular material relating to his resignation. This series also contains numerous letters of recommendation, as well as other correspondence written to Snyder by friends and former students.

The speeches in the third series deal with three broad topics: Agricultural Education, Women's Education and Industrial Education all at the College level.

The reports in the following series include official reports that Snyder made to the State Board of Agriculture in his capacity as President, as well as reports made to Snyder by various faculty committees dealing with specific issues and problems at the college.

The newspaper clippings cover a broad spectrum of topics relating to the college.

The sixth and seventh series contain the various promotional devices that Snyder used to increase attendance at the college. Both the literature and the calendars were easily mailed to anyone who showed an interest in attending the college. Many of the calendars contain photographs of various campus scenes so that some visual depth and understanding can be found when reading the collection.

The programs in the eighth series are from social events that Snyder was invited to and/or attended.

The 1903 diary contains notes on events and appointments and meetings that occurred in Snyder's presidency. The 1910, 1918-1919 diary is a personal diary in which he recounted events in his life as a farm owner. The 1893 report was one that Snyder made prior to his coming to M.A.C.


  • Creation: 1887 - 1918


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

Jonathan LeMoyne Snyder (born November 29, 1859; died November 23, 1918) was the seventh president of Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C., now Michigan State University). He directed the growth of the college from 1896 to 1915, during which period, regular enrollment increased from 300 to 2,000 students.

Snyder, eldest son of a Centerville (Slippery Rock, Butler County), Pennsylvania farm family, graduated from Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania in 1886 with a BA in pedagogy. He taught at Fairview School (near Centerville) until 1889 when he was selected to become the principal of the 5th ward School in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1891, he received his PhD from Westminster College in psychology and pedagogy. His farming background, his staunch disciplinarianism, his innovative educational concepts, as well as he relative youth led to his election as president of M.A.C. on February 11, 1896.

His tenure at M.A.C. was one that saw growth and innovation. Direct mail correspondence between Snyder and potential students, promotional literature and promotional calendars all led to an increase in the previously declining student enrollment. He further advocated training women at the college, though the women's curriculum was primarily limited to the domestic sciences. Snyder also promoted the "Short Course" programs whereby anyone could receive eight weeks of intensive training in topics related to agriculture, taught by the college faculty. Limited experimentation with summer classes, railroad institutes (where M.A.C. faculty members traveled by train throughout the rural areas of the state lecturing and presenting demonstrations to the state's farmers) and county extension service were also initiated during his presidency.

Snyder was a member of the National Council of Education, and served as chairman of the National Conservation Congress Committee on Agriculture and Lands. He was the one time president of the Michigan School-Masters' Club and president of the National Association of Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations. In 1908 the University of Michigan conferred upon Snyder the degree of Doctor of Laws. Snyder resigned as president in 1914 but the State Board of Agriculture did not accept the resignation until the end of the school year in 1915. Three years later Snyder died on his farm following a series of heat strokes and heart attacks.

Snyder married Clara Maude Mifflin (of North Washington, Pennsylvania) on June 15, 1892. They had three sons: Robert (born 1893), LeMoyne (born 1898), and Plummer (born 1900).


21 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Related Archival Materials

The papers of LeMoyne Snyder (UA 10.3.97) contain family genealogy materials and audio recordings which feature stories about life at M.A.C. (Michigan Agricultural College, now Michigan State University) during his father, Jonathan Snyder's presidency.

See also: Plummer Snyder Papers (c.00515) - Michigan State Senate Memorial (Oversized)

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.

Office of the President. Jonathan L. Snyder Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Richard Harms, William McDaid, Robert Viol, Stephen Chabala, and Debra Raley
March 1979
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