Researching Historic MSU Dissertations

The Emblem of the Michigan Agricultural College, via MSU Archives and Historical Records

This semester, I have been searching the MSU Library for resources that would potentially be useful to the Campus Archaeology Program.  I have been working on creating a database that contains a list of Michigan State University theses and dissertations of which some aspect of MSU was the subject of study.  With the help of folks from the MSU Special Collections, I have been searching for theses and dissertations using specific keywords, including “Michigan Agricultural College,” “College Campus,” and “East Lansing”.  Based on the titles that have emerged as a result of my inquiries, I’ve been able to gain insight into the various topics and themes that have been studied throughout MSU’s history.

At the turn of the 20th century, for example, several works were published on the “spring activity” of plants, shrubs, and trees throughout the M.A.C. campus (e.g. McCue 1901), which offer precise records on the timing of leaving and flowering.  In the 19-teens and 1920’s, students studied rainfall rates, floods, and other water-related topics, such as:

A Sanitary Survey of the Grand River (Milroy, Claude B. 1916)

A Study of the Rainfall & Floods at East Lansing, Michigan (Hayes, George R. 1918)

The Use & Wastes of Water on the Michigan State College Campus (Patterson, Andrew H. 1928)

A Study of the Yield of the Campus Wells (Dawson, James H. 1926)

Also in the 1920’s (and into the 1940’s), research into structural and structural engineering topics related to buildings and roads were quite abundant, such as:

Plans & specifications for proposed road on Michigan State College campus (Beeman, Wilber 1926)

The Michigan State College Property Boundary from the Southeast Corner of Pinetum Woods to the Intersection of Grand River Avenue & Abbott Road (Gallis, George 1935)

Design of Michigan State’s Campus Airport (Shelberg, Edward 1942)

The Design of a Campus Road (Knapp, Henry 1947)

A Traffic Analysis of Michigan State College Campus (Moulton, Charles 1947)

A Traffic Control Plan for East Lansing (Mulholland, John 1947)

In the 1930’s, several dissertations on campus monuments were published, including:

Campus Monument Survey (Aldrich, James 1935)

Vertical Elevations of Campus Monuments (Van Atta, Ward 1937)

In the 1970’s, several dissertations were produced which highlighted activism on MSU’s campus during the previous decade.  Research into activism, as it occurred on our campus, can potentially shed light on which spaces were used for particular events.

Student Activism at Michigan State University During the Decade of the 1960’s (White, Katherine 1972)

Black Student Activism at Michigan State University September, 1967 to June 30, 1972 (Winston, Eric 1973)

Additional dissertation and thesis titles that could help better inform our campus’ past include:

Food Consumption Study of a Randomized Sample of Twenty Young Married Student Couples Occupying Living Quarters on Michigan State College Campus (Johnson, Jean 1952)

The Controversy Over the Location of Michigan Agricultural College (McGoff, John 1956)

Wives of Foreign Students: Their Problems in Home Management (Lieberman, Leslie 1965)

They Came Before Us: A Story of Women at Michigan State University 1870 – 1895 (Weber, Christy 2004)

Stay tuned for more updates as I continue to compile my database!


Author: Sylvia

1 thought on “Researching Historic MSU Dissertations”

  • Hi Sylvia,
    I noticed your first book was written by my grandfather. Do they have a copy of the book at MSU?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.