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A Finding Aid for the What School? Records 1905-1924

Collection Summary

Collection Title: What School? Records

Creator: Ferris Institute

Dates: 1905-1924

Abstract: The sporadic publication What School? provided information about the Ferris Institute synthesized from both the catalog and the yearbooks. It served to advertise the programs and activities for potential students. The last known issue was in April 1924. It was replaced by the School Bulletin.

Language: English

Quantity: 0.2 cubic feet; 1 Hollinger box

Identification: UA 18.3.605

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

The FI Journal, which began in 1900, had viewed itself as an educational journal and not as broad in scope as Useful Education. It was a subscription based publication with a target audience of Ferris Institute supporters. Therefore, around 1905, the Institute created a new publication for potential students called What School? Originally published once a year, this publication supplemented the catalog with course of study information and tuition schedules.

The What School? first published once per year, then at periodic intervals when information needed to be distributed. It was an oversize publication of approximately 8-12 pages. The last known issue was in April 1924.

Scope and Content Note

The What School? was the third educational newsletter produced by Woodbridge N. Ferris. The audience was primarily potential students. It is similar in scope to both the earliest newsletter and Useful Education. Ferris encouraged those who received the publication to pass it on to others, and to open their educational horizons (and perhaps encourage them to enroll at the institute).

Photographs of students both as classes, and individuals are used to supplement the cameo success stories and faculty biographies. Photographs in later issues have come from the campus yearbook. Information is given not only about the course of study, but also about the activities on campus in which students can participate. Of interest in the course of study sections are brief histories of the evolution of a program such as kindergarten or of pharmacy. Additionally, each issue provides a chart on the back page with tuition costs and living expenses.

Some of the issues are in extremely poor condition.


The papers are contained in a single series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The What School? 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.

Conditions of Use

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.

Subject Headings

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.

Related Materials

None specified.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. What School? Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were transferred to the archives prior to 1980.

Processing Information

The What School? Records were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in June 2005. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in January 2008. 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).

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of printed publications. No specialized software or hardware is required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. What School? 1905-1924.

This series consists of approximately 0.2 cubic feet of paper and is the final educational publication created by Woodbridge N. Ferris.

The issues are arranged in chronological order. Where exact dates are not known, a guess has made as to the order within a year (i.e. commencement comes before holiday greetings, etc.) A second use copies of the issues covering 1917-1924 is available in a separate binder. Unidentified portions of the publication have been placed in a separate folder.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 What School? 1905-1906. 2 copies.
1 1 What School? 1910-1911.
1 1 What School? Commencement issue. 1912.
1 1 What School? Christmas greetings issue. 1912. 2 copies.
1 1 What School? Brochure. 1913.
1 1 What School? 1914. 2 copies.
1 1 What School? 1915. 2 copies.
1 1 What School? 1916.
1 1 What School? Woodbridge N. Ferris issue. 1917.
1 1 What School? Looking forward issue. 1917.
1 1 What School? Will you answer the call issue. 1918.
1 1 What School? Great opportunities issue. 1918.
1 1 What School? Founders issue. 1919. 4 copies.
1 1 What School? Christmas greetings issue. 1919. 2 copies.
1 1 What School? New Years issue. 1920.
1 1 What School? Your wishes issue. 1921. 3 copies.
1 1 What School? Christmas greetings issue. 1921. 3 copies.
1 1 What School? Christmas greetings issue. 1922.
1 1 What School? School bulletin issue. April 1924.
1 2 What School? Duplicate xerox copies. 1917-1924.
1 3 What School? Loose pages; incomplete issues. Undated.