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Michigan State University

MSU Sports Collections at MSU Archives & Historical Collections: General Collections

General Collections

Intercollegiate Athletics Records                                                   

  • UA 4.3
  • 2.33 cubic feet, volumes
  • Highlights of this collection are the early intercollegiate athletics records, including a brochure from the MIAA Field Days of 1888 and 1898.  Also included are athletic program budgets (1954-1961), lists of varsity award winners (1943-1972), material pertaining to women’s intercollegiate athletics (1972-1979), and records that relate to organizations for women’s athletics in the Big Ten, and other women’s’ sporting associations. There are several photographs that are also part of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics records.  These photos date back to the 1890s for some sports.  The majority of the photographs are of men’s athletics.  They are arranged alphabetically by sport.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Sports Information Records                                                         

  • UA 8.1.3
  • 20 cubic feet
  • These records were from various public relations offices of the college.  There are eight athletic record books (1884-1964) that list team members, coaches, and scores for varsity and first-year sports, new releases concerning athletic activity, players, and coaches (1942-1990) for all major sports and some minor ones. The background research for the book Spartan Saga can also be found in these records.  Of note are the records for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Field Days (1888-1907), files on Big Ten Investigations, African American Athletes’ 1968 Boycott, and a large sports photos collection
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn Papers

  • UA 17.75       
  • 37 cubic feet
  • “Biggie” Munn served as both head football coach and athletic director at Michigan State.  Much of MSU’s rise to prominence in intercollegiate athletics is due to Munn’s work in these positions.  The majority of the records are organized as general subject files.  The files reflect activity about individual sports, as well as sporting events, planning logistics and policy and procedure. There are also records relating to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the Olympics, speeches, and correspondence.  Of particular note are his files on the development of the college’s Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department, and the files about Big Ten Conference activity.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Ralph H. Young Papers

  • UA 17.114
  • 8.2 cubic feet
  • Ralph Young served as Athletic Director from 1923 to 1954 and ushered Michigan State into the Big Ten Conference in 1949.  He also served as football coach from 1923 to 1928.  During his tenure as Athletic Director, Michigan State was particularly successful in varsity Track, producing twenty-seven All-Americans, four U.S. Olympians, and three world record-holders. His records contain correspondence about various sports-related topics, subject files on the Olympics and Physical Education, office files that address the college’s athletic facilities, and events. This collection contains photographs.  Additionally, there is information about the following sports:
    • Baseball (1922-1953)
    • Basketball (1920-1954)
    • Boxing (1935-1954)
    • Cross-Country (1919-1952)
    • Fencing (1941; 1952-54)
    • Football (1919-1956)
    • Golf (1951-1953)
    • Gymnastics (1951-1954)
    • Hockey (1953-1954)
    • Swimming (1942-1954)
    • Tennis (1951-1952)
    • Track (1905- 1954)
    • Wrestling (1954)

Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Records                                            

  • UA 7.11
  • 19 Folders
  • MSU’s Intramural Sports were administered by the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department until 1964 when it came under the control of the Vice President for Student Affairs.  The material in the collection consists of service and program brochures, informational flyers, guidelines for participation, schedules of events, club and team listings, and publications. Men’s and Women’s sports are represented.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

John A. Hannah Papers                                            

  • UA 2.1.12
  • 0.5 cubic feet
  • John A. Hannah was Michigan State’s longest serving President, from 1941 to 1969. His tenure was characterized by extensive growth of the University, in both size and enrollment. He also oversaw the tremendous changes in intercollegiate athletics, including MSU’s entry into the Big Ten Athletic Conference.  This collection is large, but sporting information can be found under the terms: intercollegiate athletics, NCAA, and the Big Ten. There is also information concerning various coaches. Some relevant photographs are included.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. Papers

  • UA 2.1.14
  • 1.5 cubic feet
  • Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. served as MSU’s fourteenth President, from 1970 to 1978.
  • His term of office was often turbulent, featuring student demonstrations in 1970 and 1972, as well as a National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation of the MSU football program.  Of particular interest are files concerning Title IX, the federal law that ensures equal opportunity between men and women on campus.  College athletics were particularly affected by this law.  The pertinent files in this collection can be found in Series 2, under “Intercollegiate Athletics.”
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Edgar Harden Papers

  • UA 2.1.15
  • 0.5 cubic feet
  • Edgar L. Harden, MSU’s fifteenth president, was appointed acting president October 23, 1977, to succeed Clifton Wharton.  He was formally named President March 31, 1978, to serve until the appointment of a permanent president in 1979. Harden's term was generally a placid one on campus as student activism waned.  Affirmative action and equal rights for various groups were among the issues of the day, especially the Title IX issue of equality for women athletes.  The files that relate to these issues can be found in the Board of Trustees file series under “Title IX,” the Subject file series under the “Athletic Department,” which includes presidential statements and recommendations about MSU and Title IX, and the University Committee files series which includes meetings of the Big Ten Committee.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

General Academic Administration Records                                                    

  • UA 3.6 
  • 1.6 cubic feet
  • The Title IX Files (Series 3) contain documents on gender and race issues, equity in collegiate sports, reports, and the University’s response to the U.S. Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights audit of MSU’s Title IX compliance conducted in 1980.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Associate Provost Records                                                              

John (Jack) Heppinstall Papers

  • UA 17.239
  • 0.3 cubic feet
  • John (Jack) Heppinstall was hired by MSU in 1914 as the first athletic trainer, as well as groundskeeper and equipment manager.  The job was a temporary position to help the few athletes playing multiple sports transition between seasons.  Among the other duties performed by Heppinstall in his early years, were laying out a baseball field, and coaching the basketball team.  Heppinstall was one of the best-known athletic trainers in the country, working as a trainer for the 1948 United States Olympic team.  Heppinstall worked at Michigan State University for 45 years before retiring. The collection contains papers related to Heppinstall’s career as an athletic trainer at MSU.  The collection includes inventories of athletic equipment and training supplies, The First Aider newsletter by Heppinstall, and photographs of MSU’s sports teams, and varsity club. 
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Department of Kinesiology (MSU)

  • UA 16.56
  • 1 cubic foot
  • The collection consists of course syllabi and curriculum materials, program brochures, an index and abstracts of theses, brochures for conferences and workshops, minutes from department committees, a student handbook, staff manuals, and departmental publications.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Athletic Council Records

  • UA 4.4
  • 12 Folders
  • The Athletic Council was established in 1923 to control the governance of athletics at Michigan Agricultural College. Today the Council is involved with academic, fiscal, compliance, and student-athlete welfare matters as well.  It is an advisory body consisting of MSU community members that advises the Athletic Director and university administration.   The collection consists of a constitution and bylaws, meeting minutes, correspondence, and reports.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Elizabeth (Betty) Drobac Papers     

  • UA 17.228
  • 1 Folder
  • Elizabeth (Betty) White Drobac began teaching at Michigan State in the fall of 1950 as a member of the women’s physical education staff.  She taught a variety of team and individual sports including field hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, softball, swimming, tennis, badminton, archery and square dance.  The papers consist of preliminary notes that Drobac wrote for a speech she gave at the Women’s Varsity Letter Celebration on February 10, 2002.  MSU did not award varsity letters to women before 1980. This event was to honor those women who were active in varsity sports before 1980 and to award them a varsity letter.  Drobac’s speech recounts the early days of women’s athletics at Michigan State and memories of her time as an athletic instructor.
  • Finding aid to the collection:

Beth J. Shapiro Papers

  • UA 10.3.102
  • 1 Folder
  • The collection consists of one copy of Beth J. Shapiro's 1982 doctoral dissertation entitled, "Intercollegiate Athletics and Big-Time Sport at Michigan State University: or 'The Difference between Good and Great is a Little Extra Effort.'" The dissertation outlines the role John Hannah played in the growth of the University and its sports, fiscal trends for college athletics, the relationship between athletics and educational achievement, and the experiences of Black athletes.
  • Finding aid to the collection: