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Michigan State University

Genealogy Collections at MSU Archives & Historical Collections: Oral Histories

Oral Histories

Horace A. Cardinell papers                                                                                     

  • UA 17.10
  • 1 folder, 1 audio cassette
  • The collection consists of an oral history interview of Horace Cardinell conducted by Frank Dennis in 1972. In the interview Cardinell comments on his colleagues at MSU's Horticulture Department, especially F. C. Bradford and V. R. Gardner. Also discussed is field work performed by Cardinell in relation to department research projects. Cardinell contributes anecdotes and details to the interview. A biographical sketch of Cardinell, released by the Brazilian government prior to his second appointment in that country, is also included.
  • Horace A. Cardinell, a 1915 graduate of Oregon State College, was employed during World War I by Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture. After returning to the United States in 1919, he worked for the Agricultural Extension Service at the University of Missouri. In 1923 he joined MSU's Horticulture Department. From 1943 to 1945 Cardinell served the U.S. government as a Senior Extension Specialist with the Food Supply Division of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. He was instrumental in establishing Brazil's Agricultural Extension Service System. He returned to MSU in 1945 and retired in 1960.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Victor R. Gardner papers                                                                       

  • UA 17.18
  • 4 folders, 2 audio cassettes
  • In 1972 and 1973 Professor Frank Dennis interviewed Victor Gardner as part of an oral history project. Gardner's papers include tape recordings and transcripts of these interviews as well as his own written reminiscences. In these Gardner discusses his experience while a student at M.A.C. from 1901 to 1905, the development of the Horticulture Department and his colleagues in the department (1923-1945), and achievements throughout his career. Other items include Gardner's letter to the Alumni Association Office listing his professional degrees and accomplishments, and a letter written after Gardner's death by one of his former students. It provides a brief but detailed account of his life for publication in a horticultural magazine.
  • Victor R. Gardner received a B.S. in Agriculture from Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in 1905. Upon completion of graduate work at Iowa State College, he accepted faculty positions at McDonald College, the University of Maine, Oregon Agricultural College, and the University of Missouri. Gardner returned to MSU in 1923 as head of the Horticulture Department, a position he held until 1945. He was also appointed Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1929. He retired in 1949 with the rank of Assistant Dean.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

"Hannah Archives" Project records                                                

  • UA
  • 0.67 cubic feet
  • This collection includes recollections, oral history interviews, and a tape recording on the accomplishments of John A. Hannah as president of Michigan State University (1941-1969).
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Richard O. Niehoff papers                                                                                   

  • UA 17.110
  • 2.6 cubic feet
  • The autobiography of Richard Niehoff entitled “Some Memories of my Life and Work 1910-1980”, along with the transcript of an oral history interview with Mr. Niehoff regarding his days with the Tennessee Valley Authority are11 included in the collection.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

William and Edith Overlease collection                                                             

  • 00100
  • 0.66 cubic feet, 29 tapes
  • This collection includes transcripts of oral history interviews, together with original tape recordings and supplementary photos, collected by William and Edith Overlease, documenting the history of hardwood logging, and lumbering in Benzie County, Michigan, including the communities of Benzonia, Frankfort, and Honor.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Voice of American Homemakers Oral History Project collection             

  •  00161
  • 1 cubic foot, 172 cassette tapes, 7 volumes
  • The collection consists of 7 volumes and 172 cassette tapes. The tapes contain over 200 oral histories from individuals in 37 states. The volumes contain the transcripts of the interviews. Also included are a published book that organizes the collection around key themes and findings from the interviews and the proceedings of the Seminar of Humanists and Homemakers.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Waldo family papers and the Waldo Travel Agency records                                

  • 00042
  • 7 cubic feet, 3 volumes
  • Waldo’s papers mainly include correspondence, telegrams, records, reports, and journals relating to Waldo's time in Russia with the Young Men's Christian Association and his service as vice-consul from America in Helsinki, Finland, during World War II. These papers paint a vivid picture of the Soviet people and their country and lifestyle. Waldo describes his work and his attitudes toward it, and he gives his own feelings about the World War, and how it affected him and his acquaintances. He discusses the diplomatic circle in Russia and Finland. He discusses the Russian Revolution of 1917 only vaguely, possibly due to censorship (some letters stamped "censored"), but he goes into more detail about the Finnish Revolution of the same period. Financial records of the Y.M.C.A., loans given, and personal expenses are included. A number of letters and most of the records are in German or Russian. Post-war materials include correspondence, some in German, speech materials which he presented to the Lansing, Michigan, Rotary Club about his service, and, later, visit to Russia, news clippings and a concert program about Michael Press, a Soviet violinist who was at Michigan State University, a transcript of an oral interview with his wife, Eleanor Boyer Waldo, done after Waldo's death, and some tourist information about Japan. Also, a childhood report card of Waldo's, some Sunday-school books belonging to his father, Alva, and calling cards for them both. A post-war greeting card holds a picture of Waldo's two daughters in their middle childhood. One report from Finland was used by historian Samuel Morison in his report to the United States Department of State on the Peace Settlement. It recommended that the Allies recognize an independent Finland.
  • Mortimer Waldo (1891-1963), the son of a Methodist minister, grew up in the Charlotte, Michigan, area and graduated from Adrian College. He then studied law at Yale University, but left in 1916, before completing his degree, to work with the Red Cross and the Young Men's Christian Association's Prisoners' Aid Society in Omsk, Russia, until the Russian Revolution. From March to October of 1918, he was American Vice-Consul in Helsingfors (Helsinki) Finland, during their Revolution. After World War I, Waldo returned to Lansing, where he worked as an export agent for the Novo Engine Company and REO Motors. He married Eleanor Boyer in 1925, and in 1931, he founded the Waldo Travel Agency.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Jay Walker interviews                                                                                          

  •  c.00133
  • 1 folder
  • This collection consists of Jay Walker's 1940 interviews with old-time residents of Oceana County, Michigan, compiling an oral history of lumbering operations and fish and game laws in the area (1863-1926).
  • Finding aid to the collection:
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