Office of the President. Lewis Ransom Fiske Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator -
Fiske, Lewis Ransom, 1825-1901
Lewis Ransom Fiske papers
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

Lewis Ransom Fiske, second president of MichiganAgricultural College (1859-1863), was born on December 22, 1825 in Penfield, New York, the sixth child of ten born to James and Eleanor Fiske. On September 19, 1852 Fiske married Elizabeth Ross Spencer (d. February 25, 1879). In the summer of 1880 Fiske married Helen M. Davis. Fiske had one daughter and one son with his first wife and three sons with the second. Fiske died on February 14, 1901 following a lingering bout with pneumonia.

Fiske graduated from the University of Michigan in 1850 with an A.D. degree; he also received an A.M. degree from the U. of M. in 1853, a D.D. in 1873 from Albion College and a LL.D. in 1879 from the U. of M.

During his life Fiske had a two faceted career, one as an educator and the other as a minister. He was a professor at Wesleyan Seminary and Female Collegiate Institute, 1850-1853; Professor at Ypsilanti State Normal School, 1853-1856; Professor at the M.A.C., 1856-1859; President of M.A.C., 1859-1863; and finally President of Albion College, 1877-1898. As a Methodist minister Fiske served at the First Methodist Church in Jackson, Michigan, 1863-1866; Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1866-1869; First Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, 1869-1873; Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1876-1877. Fiske was also the editor of the Michigan Christian Advocate from 1875 to 1877. And finally in 1889 was elected head of the State Teachers Association in Michigan.

Fiske's tenure as president of M.A.C. was primarily in the role of a caretaker and as a result he never had the full support of the State Board of Agriculture in policy making. A note on the spelling of Fiske's name: The correct spelling is Fiske. For one period of his life which includes his tenure at M.A.C. he spelled the name as Fisk apparently to avoid confusion by some who thought Fiske was a misspelling of Fisher. Later in life Fiske returned to using the correct spelling of his name.

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Scope and Content

The Lewis Ransom Fiske papers include presidential reports to the State Board of Agriculture, two published speeches, an address, correspondence, financial papers, a student petition, and biographical information on Fiske.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections December 1978

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

Revision Description

  March 1999

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.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan Agricultural College.


  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Reports
  • Speeches, addresses, etc.

Personal Name(s)

  • Kuhn, Madison


  • College presidents -- Michigan

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Correspondence 1855, 1862 

862 1

Financial papers 1857-1861 

862 2

Student Petition 1861 

862 3

Report to the State Board 

Box Folder

 April 4, 1861 

862 4

 May 29, 1861  

862 5

 November 12, 1861 

862 6

 February 26, 1862 

862 7
Box Folder

Address October 4, 1861 

862 8

Speech in the Michigan State Journal  January 6, 1859 

862 9

Speech in The Michigan Farmer  May 14, 1859 

862 10

"Lewis Ransom Fiske" undated 

862 11