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Michigan State University

Researching MSU Department Histories: Home

This guide is for those researching the history of MSU departments using collections at the MSU Archives and sources at the Main Library.

Getting Started

This guide is for those researching the history of MSU departments.  Sources can be found at the Main Library and at the MSU Archives.  Some sources listed may be more readily available at the Main Library.  Researching can be a time-consuming process because you may need to consult many sources of information.  Depending on the scope of the project, it is best to start preparations a year or more in advance.  Information about using materials at the MSU Archives can be found at  

Before using archival sources, it is advised to check the published histories about MSU.  Many departments are referenced in these books.

Published campus histories:

Dressel, Paul (1987) College to University: The Hannah Years at Michigan State 1935-1969

Kuhn, M. (1955). Michigan State: The first hundred years, 1855-1955. Michigan State University Press.

Noverr, D. A. (2015). Michigan State University: The rise of a research university and the new millennium, 1970-2005. Michigan State University Press.

Thomas, D. A. (2008). Michigan State College: John Hannah and the creation of a world university, 1926-1969. Michigan State University Press.

Widder, K. (2005). Michigan Agricultural College: The evolution of a land-grant philosophy, 1855-1925. Michigan State University Press. 

There is also a comprehensive research guide for locating information sources for MSU and its history.   There are many books written about the histories of specific MSU departments.


Contact Information

University Archives & Historical Collections

943 Conrad Rd, Room 101 Conrad Hall



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