Skip to main content
Michigan State University

Michigan State University: History of MSU

A guide to locating information about MSU and its history

General Histories of MSU

There is a web based guide, On the Banks of the Red Cedar, which provides online access to documents, images, film, and audio materials related to the history of Michigan State University. For more complete information consult the Libraries' collection of histories.

Links to records for histories available in the MSU Libraries:

At the campus gate : a history of East Lansing / Justin L. Kestenbaum, editor ; Edna M. Anderson, Cynthia A. McCarty,  editorial associates.
East Lansing, Mich. : East Lansing Bicentennial Committee, 1976.  This book contains a large number of photographs as well as narrative.
Call Number:  F574.E15 A7
Location: Main Library Reference (1 East) and Oversize Collection (Basement Center)

A century of service : an historical analysis of the service function of the state university / Lowell R. Eklund.   Thesis (Ph.D.)--Syracuse University, 1956. Eklund's thesis is a case study of MSU leadership in service, especially to agriculture.
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 E37
Location: Main Library (4 East)

College to university : the Hannah years at Michigan State, 1935-1969 / Paul L. Dressel.  East Lansing, Mich. : Michigan State University, University Publications, c1987.
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 D7 1987
Location: Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

East Lansing : Collegeville revisited /  Whitney Miller.  Chicago : Arcadia, 2002.
Call Number:   LD3248.M5 M5 2002
Location: Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Faculty Book Collection (1 West)   

From an oak opening : a record of the development of the campus  park of Michigan State University, 1855-1969 / Harold W.  Lautner. [East Lansing] : Michigan State University, 1978.  and Ann Arbor, MI. : Michigan State University 1984.
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 L385
Location: Mail Library Reference (1 East) and Special Collections (Main Library, Basement Center)

The great experiment [videorecording] : Michigan State University : the pioneer land-grant university / a production of WKAR.  [East Lansing, Mich.] : WKAR : Michigan State University, c2008.
Call Number:  LD3248.M5 A565 2008 VideoDVD
Location: Main Library Digital/Multimedia Center (4 West)

History of the Michigan agricultural college and biographical sketches of trustees and professors, by W. J. Beal. East Lansing, Agricultural college, 1915.
Call Number: LD3245.M28 B4
Location: Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

Michigan Agricultural College : the evolution of a land-grant philosophy, 1855-1925 /  Keith R. Widder.  East Lansing, Mich. : Michigan State University Press, c2005.
Call Number: LD3248.M5 W53 2005
Location: Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

Michigan State College, 1855-1955 / [Burton Gerber, editor.]  [East Lansing, Mich. : The College, 1955?]
Call Number:  LD3245.M47 W6 1955
Location: Main Library Oversize Collection (Basement Center)

Michigan State College:  John Hannah and the creation of a world university 1926-1969 / David A. Thomas.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, 2008.
Call Number:  LD3248.M5 T466 2008
Location:  Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

Michigan State: the first hundred years, 1855-1955 / Madison Kuhn.  [East Lansing] : Michigan State University Press, [1955].
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 K8
Location: Main Library (4 East)

The Michigan State University experience / written and compiled by Robert Bao ; artwork by Carolyn Scott Risk. Indianapolis : College Days Press, c2001.
Call Number:  LD3248.M5 B36 2001
Location:  Special Collections (Main Library, Basement Center)

Michigan State University: on the banks of the Red Cedar / edited by Larry Bielat. Philadelphia : Courage Books, 1998. Chiefly photographs, including aerial shots from near the date of publication.  There are a few historic photos.
Call Number:  LD3248.M5 B53 1998
Location: Main Library (4 East)

Michigan State University : the rise of a research university and the new millennium, 1970-2005 / Douglas A. Noverr. East Lansing, Michigan : Michigan State University Press, [2015].
Call Number:  LD3245.M3 N68 2015 
Location: Main Library Faculty Book Collection (1 West) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

Michigan State's first one hundred : a series of paintings depicting significant events.  [East Lansing? : s.n., 1955].
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 M5 1955
Location:  Special Collections (Main Library, Basement Center)

The pioneer land-grant college; the formative years of Michigan State University as revealed by excerpts from issues of The Michigan farmer, January 1, 1845-June 1864.    East Lansing, Mich., 1965.
Call Number: folio LD3245.M29 B391
Location:  Special Collections (Main Library, Basement Center) 

A short history of Michigan State / by Lyle Blair and Madison Kuhn.  East Lansing, Mich. : Michigan State University Press, 1990.
Reprint: Item was originally published: East Lansing : Michigan State College Press, 1955.
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 B5 1990
Location:  Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

The spirit of Michigan State / J. Bruce McCristal.  Bloomfield Hills, Mich. : J. Bruce McCristal, 2004. Written in honor of the sesquicentennial, this a chronological overview with emphasis on people and programs.
Call Number:  LD3245.M28 M34 2004 
Location: Main Library (4 East) and Main Library Reference (1 East)

Other Histories

The African-American presence at Michigan State University : pioneers, groundbreakers, and leaders, 1900-1970. East Lansing, MI : Michigan State University University Archives & Historical Collections. Online.

Athletic Traditions  Learn about Spartan nickname, green and white colors, Sparty as both statue and mascot, the Marching Band, the Fight Song and the Alma Mater.

Awe inspiring : the storied history of Spartan hockey / by Mike Prisuta ; foreword by Amo Bessone and Ron Mason.  East Lansing, Mich. : Visions Sports Management Group, c1997.  GV848.M5 P7 1997 Main Library.

The controversy over the location of Michigan Agricultural College / by John P. McGoff.  1956.   117 544 THS  Dissertations and Theses. 

From a single window : Michigan State University and its press, 1947-1997 / Maurice Hungiville. East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, c1998.   Z473.M598 H86 1998 Main Library and Faculty Book Collection and Online.

From seed to fruit : 150 years of horticulture at Michigan State, 1855-2005 / F.G. Dennis, Jr., G.M. Kessler and H. Davidson. E. Lansing, Mich. : Dept. of Horticulture, Michigan State University, c2007  SB52.M5 D43 2007   Main Library and Faculty Book Collection.

Fifty years of forestry at Michigan State College. [East Lansing] 1953.  SD254.M5 A4 Main Library and Online.

History and development highlights of the Michigan Cooperative Extension Service.  [East Lansing] 1964. S544.3.M5 M54 Main Library.

History of agricultural economics at Michigan State College, 1910 on / by W.O. Hedrick. 1945.  LD3245.M305 A33 H4 1945a   Main Library.

The history of the journalism program at Michigan State University / Jerry Lee Morton. 1991.  119 078 THS  MSU Dissertations and Theses.

A history of the School of Music at Michigan State University / by Jean H. Fickett  2003. 141 665 THS MSU Dissertations and Theses.

Home economics to human ecology : 100 years at Michigan State University / by Margaret M. Bubolz ; contributing authors--Dorothy Mitstifer, Stephanie Perentesis. East Lansing, Mich. : College of Human Ecology, Michigan State University, c1996.  TX285.M5 B8 1996 Main Library and Reference.

Images from Michigan Agricultural College.

The legacy of the leader : celebrating 75 years of leadership : the School of Hospitality Business, Michigan State University, 1927-2002/ by Dan Hager, editor/writer.  East Lansing, Mich. : School of Hospitality Business Alumni Association, Michigan State University, c2002  LD3245.M495 H66 2002 Main Library, Faculty Book Collection and Business Library Oversized.

Magic moments : a century of Spartan basketball / by Jack Ebling and John Farina.  Chelsea, MI : Sleeping Bear Press, c1998. GV885.43.M53 E35 1998 Main Library.

The Michigan State University Soil Science Department, 1909-1969: a historical narrative / by L.S. Robertson ...etal. [East Lansing, Mich. : s.n.], 1988.  S591.55.M5 M5 1988 Oversize Collection.

Michigan State University the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University 1935-1963 / Wilbur Lewis Rykert. 1985.  124 130 THS   MSU Dissertations and Theses.

MSU Campus Archeology: research publications  Includes site reports; books; theses and dissertations; and presentations and posters.

Nursing at Michigan State University / Isabelle Payne. [East Lansing, Mich.? : Michigan State University College of Nursing?], c1994. LD3245.M305 N8 P3 1994 Main Library  "On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class from the School of Nursing, Dr. Isabelle Payne, Dean Emeritus, shares some of her memories and insights into the rich history of Nursing at Michigan State University."

100 years of kinesiology : history. research, and reflections / John L. Haubenstricker, Deborah L. Feltz, editors. East Lansing, Mich. : Michigan State University, Dept. of Kinesiology, c1999. LD3245.M305 K5 O53 1999 Main Library and Faculty Book Collection.

A pictorial rendu of Michigan State, pioneer land grant university founded 1855 at East Lansing / [by] Carl D. Johnson. East Lansing, Mich. : Design Associates, c1955.   MSU Map Library Locked Cabinet  843-d M-1955  Map.

Pursuing what is best for the world : 150 years of teaching, research and extension-- stories of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources / Kenneth VerBurg and Raymond D. Vlasin. S537.M5 V43 2006 Main Library, Oversize collection.

Recollections of early microbiology at Michigan State University ; by W. L. Mallmann.  East Lansing, Dept. of Microbiology and Public Health, Michigan State University, 1974.  LD3245.M305 M5 M3 Main Library.

Spartan football : 100 seasons of gridiron glory / Ken Hoffman with Larry Bielat. Champaign, IL : Sagamore Publishing, c1996. GV958.M5 .H6 1996 Main Library.

The Spartans : a story of Michigan State football / by Fred W. Stabley.  Huntsville, Ala. : Strode Publishers, 1975. GV958.M5 S8 Main Library.

They came before us : a story of women at Michigan State University 1870-1895 / by Christy A. Weber. 2004 137 965 THS MSU Dissertations and Theses.

Years of achievement : a short history of the College of Education at Michigan State University / Victor Inzunza.  [East Lansing, Mich.] : Michigan State University, College of Education, 2002.  LD3245.M305 E3 I5 2002 Main Library and Faculty Book Collection

Michigan State University