Office of the President. Kenyon L. Butterfield Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Butterfield family, (Kenyon Leech Butterfield, 1868-1936)
Kenyon Leech Butterfield papers
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1924-1928
Date [inclusive]
0.33 Cubic feet

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Biographical Note

Kenyon Leech Butterfield was born on June 11, 1868 in the small farming community of Lapeer, Michigan. There he became interested in the sociological problems of the farmer and as a result, devoted much of his work to assisting rural residents in adjusting to the social, economic and religious trends of the day.

Dr. Butterfield received his BS degree from the Michigan Agricultural College in 1891. From 1891 to 1900 he served successively as secretary of the college, editor of the grange department of the Michigan Farmer, superintendent of the Michigan Farmer's Institute and field agent for the Michigan Agricultural College.

In 1900 he began advanced degree work at the University of Michigan in economics and rural sociology. He received his M.A. degree in 1902. In 1903 Butterfield was elected president of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. He remained there until 1906 when he resigned to become president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, where he received his LL.D. in 1910. He resigned this position in 1924 in order to assume the presidency of Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Arts. However, in 1927 he came under fire from the members of the State Board of Agriculture who were disturbed by his appointing two friends from Massachusetts to executive positions at M.S.C. with salaries above those of other college officials. A conflict also developed over the question of who had control of the College, the president or the secretary of the State Board of Agriculture. As a result, Butterfield was asked to resign.

In addition to his education career, Dr. Butterfield organized and acted as the president of the American County Life Association for many years. During World War I he was chairman of the Massachusetts Committee on Food Production and Conservation and was also commissioner in charge of Agricultural education in the American Expeditionary Forces. He was a member of the Educational Commission in China in 1921 and was a special delegate to the International Missionary Council in Jerusalem.

On November 25, 1936, Dr. Butterfield died at his home in Amherst, New Jersey. Butterfield was the son of Ira Howard Butterfield (b. December 22, 1849; d. March 24, 1928) and Olive F. Butterfield, nee Davision (b. August 8, 1842; d. January 5, 1928). He married Harriet Millard (b. May 24, 1869; d. 1944) on November 25, 1895. They had two sons; Howard Millard Butterfield, (b. May 24, 1901), and Victor Lloyd Butterfield, (b. February 7, 1904).

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of President Butterfield's general office files and other items attributed to him. This includes correspondence, statements and speeches, news clippings, genealogical notes and an obituary.

The materials are arranged by accession during the processing. Accession UA 4 is in folders 1-4 and the volume on the shelf; accession UA 972 in folder 5, and Accession UA 345 in folders 6-30.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections November 1978

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

 Revised Scope and other notes July 2013

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status note

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Custodial History

Materials are a gift of Mrs. Clinton Butterfield, Eliza M. D'Amour, Ruth Jameyson and Madison Kuhn.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. -- Chronological subdivision--1906-1924;
  • Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. -- Chronological subdivision--1903-1906;


  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Invitations
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Reports
  • Speeches, addresses, etc.

Personal Name(s)

  • Butterfield, Ira William, 1915-
  • Butterfield, Kenyon L., (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935


  • College presidents
  • Universities and colleges -- Faculty

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Policies and Principles 1924-1928 

860H 1

R.O.T.C. 1925-1927 

860H 2

Radio 1922-1926 

860H 3

Correspondence, Newsclippings 1873-1935 

860H 4

"Statement Relative to the Situation at MSC" 1928 

860H 5

Correspondence 1891 

860H 6

Response to Agricultural College Questionnaire 1894-1895 

860H 7

Excursion to M.A.C. and Financial Record Booklet 1897-1898 

860H 8

Correspondence 1898-1899 

860H 9

Correspondence - Snyder 1902-1903 

860H 10

Inaugural address at Massachusetts Agricultural College 1906 

860H 11

Dormitory Questions 1909 

860H 12

Correspondence - Snyder 1910 

860H 13

Invitation 1914 

860H 14

Correspondence - Kedzie 1917-1918 

860H 15

Correspondence, Report on Menominee School of Agriculture 1924 

860H 16

Correspondence, Newspaper articles 1924-1927 

860H 17

"Statement of Purposes and Policies of the County Council of Agriculture and Rural Life" 1925 

860H 18

Dunbar and Menominee Schools questions 1926-1927 

860H 19

Newspaper Clippings - Butterfield Incident & Resignation 1928 

860H 20

"Statement Relative to the Situation at MSC" 1928 

860H 21

"Report on the Recent Investigation at MSC" 1932 

860H 22

Death Notice of Butterfield 1936 

860H 23

Mrs. Butterfield correspondence with Miss Yakeley 1940 

860H 24

Correspondence between Miss Barnet and Mr. McDonel 1942 

860H 25

Clippings on Victor L. Butterfield 1943 

860H 26

Newspaper Clipping on the U.S.S. Butterfield 1945 

860H 27

"Better Rural Life" 1950 

860H 28

Reports and Correspondence while at Massachusetts Agricultural College 1903-1923 

860H 29

"The Purpose and Scope of the College"; “Business and Agriculture"; "Page 2 of a letter to Taft” undated 

860H 30

vol. I: Genealogical Notes 1962