Melinda Isler, Archivist
1010 Campus Drive
Big Rapids MI 49307
Collection Title: Catalog Records
Creator: Ferris State University. Records Office.
Abstract: In 1894, a decade after beginning the Big Rapids Industrial School, Woodbridge N. Ferris published the first separate catalog. The catalog provided basic information about the school, the curricula and programs available. It was produced annually until 1976 when it became a biannual publication. The catalog ceased to exist in print format in 2002.
Quantity: 4.5 cubic feet; 3 records center boxes
Identification: UA 8.5.600
Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program
In 1894, Ferris converted the quarterly publication Useful Education to a periodical focusing on educational trends. It was time to produce a separate course of study book. The Ferris Industrial School had been in existence for over a decade and had recently moved into their first permanent building (Old Main.) In addition to providing course descriptions, the catalog provided descriptions of the physical facilities, expenses relating to attendance and the mission of the school. While student names were included, the faculty names were not. This was a publication meant to glorify education for the common man, and not replicate publications of elite institutions of higher learning.
Catalog content changed over the years. In the 1898-1899 catalog, faculty lists began to be included. Each catalog provided historical information about the institution and information about academics and student life. Prior to 1937-1938, catalogs included commencement information/ attendance lists by program. As services began to be offered such as guidance or health services, they were also put into the catalog publication. The size and scope of the publication varied. In 1976, the college switched to a biannual publication.
After 2002, the catalog ceased to exist as a single paper publication. It was split into two electronic publications- the course catalog and the registration and academic guide, updated as needed. Both publications are available from the records office website at https://www.ferris.edu/admissions/registrar/index.htm .
Printed catalogs existed under varying names. In 1894, it was called the First Catalog of the Ferris Industrial School. In 1898, the name changed to the Catalog of the Ferris Institute. In 1925, the name changed to the Ferris Institute School Bulletin. The School Bulletin name remained in use from 1925-1937 and 1941-2002. From 1937-1941 the catalog was called Ferris Institute Catalog. As the name of the school changed, so did the first part of the catalog name- becoming Ferris State College School Bulletin in 1963 and Ferris State University School Bulletin in 1988.
University catalogs provide much more than a course of study for majors and programs of study. They provide a window into the culture and climate of an institution at a particular moment in time. They provide basic staffing information and tuition and expense information. They also provide information on student services including dining facilities, the library, health center or student activities. Early issues were written by President Woodbridge Ferris and include his educational philosophy in the mission and conduct rules. Earlier editions also served as a combination of information later found in student handbooks and in commencement programs. Later editions focus more on academic course descriptions and regulations.
Copies of catalogs kept within the registrar's office were microfilmed and later converted to .pdf files available from the Ferris State University website available at:
The catalogs, in the main, duplicate the paper collection within the University Archives. Certain issues, however, are only available online. They include the following years: 1898-1899 and 1905-1906.
The papers are divided into a single series.
The Catalog Records are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.
Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.
Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.
Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.
Below are a list of alternate publication titles for the catalog.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box (or url). Catalog Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.
The catalogs were donated to the University Archives by the registrar's office when produced and by Roy Newton. The exact times and number of transfers are unknown.
The Catalog Records were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in May 2005 and updated in October 2007. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 2.0. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description was based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).
This collection consists of bound catalogs. Reports are also available through the Records Office website.
This series consists of both general course catalogs and supplemental subject catalogs. It contains basic information about the institution and course and program descriptions.
The supplemental catalogs are followed by the general school catalogs, arranged in chronological order.
|1||1||Kindergarten supplemental catalogs. 1901-1902; 1904-1905.|
|1||2||Pharmacy supplemental catalogs. 1901-1902; 1908-1909; 1909-1910; 1911-1912; 1912-1913; 1920-1921; 1931-1932.|
|1||3||Shorthand supplemental catalogs. 1892; 1902.|
|1||4||Summer school catalogs. 1898; 1899; 1900; 1901; 1902; 1903; 1904; 1905; 1909; 1910; 1911; 1912; 1913; 1914; 1915; 1916; 1917; 1918; 1919; 1920; 1921; 1922; 1923; 1925; 1926.|
|1||5||Extra summer catalog. 1916.|
|1||6||First Catalog of the Ferris Industrial School. 1894-1895.|
|2||9||Catalog. February 1942.|
|2||14||Interim catalog. 1947.|
|3||15||Catalog. Program descriptions. 1992.|