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Agricultural equipment catalogs collection

Identifier: MSS 495 large

Scope and Contents

The Agricultural Equipment Catalogs collection consists of approximately 3,500 agricultural machinery sales catalogs, promotional brochures, price lists, owner’s manuals, and illustrated parts lists dating from the late 19th century through the 1940s. The major emphasis lies in tractors and threshers, but the entire range of farm equipment can be found in these catalogs, representing some 150 different manufacturers and suppliers—primarily Midwestern firms, with a limited representation of Canadian companies other international companies. Substantial materials come from cities in which the foremost farm equipment companies (Caterpillar, John Deere, Case, International Harvester and Minneapolis Moline) were located—Peoria and Moline, Illinois; Racine, Wisconsin; Chicago and Minneapolis. Also represented are important companies at La Porte, Indiana (Advance-Rumely) and Battle Creek, Michigan (Nichols and Shepherd) that ultimately evolved into Allis Chalmers and Oliver, respectively. The most generously represented firms are John Deere (296 pieces), International Harvester (160), Avery Ross Machinery Co. (103), J. I. Case (121), Caterpillar (138), Nichols and Shepherd/Oliver (103), and Huber Manufacturing of Marion, Ohio (85).


  • Creation: 1902-2014
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900 - 1950

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored offsite in Remote Storage. Please contact Special Collections 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

The collection provides a fascinating illustrated panorama of the history of agricultural machinery from the heyday of the steam engine through the development of the gasoline-powered tractor. It supplies primary data for the scholar exploring aspects of the history of agricultural technology and invaluable illustrations and parts lists for the restorer of antique equipment.


14.3 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged alphabetically by company name.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Immediate source of acquisition unknown. Collection was originally acquired by Chris Nyberg, of the Tractor and Implement Division of the Ford Motor Company, and transferred to MSU Special Collection circa 1960 with additional purchases and donations ongoing.

Processing Information

The original processing information is unknown. In 2016, the collection was inventoried at the folder-level with the assistance of circulation and copy center student assistants, with the finding aid updated by Sarina Cords.

Finding Aid for the Agricultural Equipment Catalogs collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Sarina Cords
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA