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Michigan State University

Food and Agriculture Resources in Special Collections: Archival sources

What is an archival collection?

An archival collection is a set of papers generated by a person or organization over some period of time.

• An individual's personal papers might include journals, photo albums, family letters, and documents like a marriage certificate.

• An individual's professional papers might include research notes for the books and articles s/he wrote; awards received; and correspondence with colleagues.

• The papers of a non-profit organization might include minutes of board meetings, the newsletter, lists of donors, fundraising letters and annual reports.

An archival collection can range from a few folders of material to hundreds of boxes.

A finding aid is the document describing the contents of an archival collection -- usually not every document, but folder by folder.

Search Special Collections finding aids. This interface works best if you type AND between each keyword in your search.

Archival collections on food and agriculture

MSS 82, Pure-bred Short Horns Cattle Collection. English short-horn cattle, bred for dairy and beef, were imported to the U.S. starting in 1783. This collection has auction catalogs from the period 1873-1888. On site.

MSS 119, Mary Ross Reynolds Papers. Mary Ross graduated from MSU (then Michigan Agricultural College) in 1903. She was one of the first women to make a career in as an editor of farm journals and farm newspapers. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 314, Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Ephemera Collection. Ephemera is printed material which is temporarily useful but isn't meant to be saved afterward, such as bus schedules or tourist maps. The Sliker collection includes thousands of recipe pamphlets and items of food advertising, dating back to the 1860s. This collection is also being digitized.

MSS 361, Eric Crawford Collection on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Senegal. Documents and reports on food security in Senegal (primarily) but also Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 380, Daniel Tirado and Linda Medina Tirado Papers. Reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings on agricultural labor and migrant farm workers. Includes an extensive set of photographs documenting poor living conditions for migrant farm worker families. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 417, Growing in Place Community Farm Records. Pamphlets, photographs, flyers, financial statements, letters and press releases about the Growing in Place Community Farm, established in Mason, Michigan in 1995. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 474, Justo Hernandez Papers. Documents Hernandez' work organizing migrant farm workers in the period 1979-1995. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 495, Agricultural Equipment Catalogs Collection. More than 3000 catalogs from manufacturers of agricultural machinery. Covers the 1890s to the 1940s. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 527, Lane E. Holdcroft Collection on Agricultural Development Work. Correspondence, documents, and photos relating to Crofthold's agricultural development work, primarily in Africa, from 1972-1981. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 536, United Farm Workers Connecticut-New England, Region 7 Collection. Documents activism on behalf of migrant farm workers in Connecticut and New England, primarily 1965-1975. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

MSS 535, William G. Lockwood Ann Arbor Wine Societies Collection. Documents the activities of several active wine societies in the Ann Arbor (MI) area from 1967 to 1985. OFFSITE. Request 3 days before visit.

How to request archival collections

Our archival collections are stored off-site. Please request material three days before your visit.

We keep the retrieved material on hold for you for four weeks. We'll be glad to keep it on hold longer if you let us know.

1) Look at the finding aid to determine what boxes you need. 

2) Go to the library catalog search box on the Special Collections page.

3) Search for the collection title listed at the top of the finding aid.

4) Use the Request It! button to generate a request for the material. 

MSS 495, Agricultural Equipment Catalogs Collection

Cover of a catalog from the Belleville Threshing Company

MSS 82, Pure-Bred Short Horns Cattle Collection

Image of a short-horn bull from Wikimedia Commons

MSS 314, Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Ephemera Collection

Jell-O advertisement, circa 1910