Howard C. Rather Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Rather, Howard C., (Howard Christian), 1895-1950
Howard C. Rather 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

Howard Christian Rather was born to Henry Robert and Mary Ann Rather on September 17, 1895, in Bay Port, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in 1917. From 1917 to 1919 he served as 2nd. Lt. Field Artillery, United States Army, with the American Expeditionary Force France, 26th and 80th Divs. He received an honorable discharge and in June 1922 he was married to Emilie McKnight (died August 1923). He was married again on October 23, 1926 to Hazel Cobb. This second marriage saw the birth of a son, Henry Lee Rather (born 1929- ).

Following the war, Howard Rather joined the faculty of Michigan Agricultural College, first as an Agricultural Extension Specialist (1920) and later advancing to Professor of Farm Crops, and Head of Farm Crops Department (1928-1944). In 1944 he was appointed chairman of the Basic College Committee, later becoming Dean of the Basic College. He died on December 28, 1950, after a brief illness.

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Scope and Contents note

The Howard C. Rather papers consists of Rather's correspondence and diaries documenting his experiences as an Army officer during World War I. Covering the time period of January 1918 to May 1919, the collection includes descriptions of the people Rather dealt with every day, and the conditions he lived in, both in America and in France. His letters home describe his training at Camp Custer, Michigan; Camp Jackson, South Carolina; Camp Merritt, New Jersey; and Saumur Artillery School, France. The daily routine and activities around him are duly described. He spent the last six months of the war seeing combat duty as part of a field artillery unit in France.

Rather's diaries offer brief but inconsistent entries on his views of his training and activities. The collection includes seven letters written by relatives and fellow soldiers. The entire collection was transcribed by the donor's wife, Lavon H. Rather, and printed in a paperback volume which is included with the collection.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections December 1992

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

Revision Description

  September 2002

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

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)

  • United States. Army.


  • Diaries
  • Letters (correspondence)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Fort Custer (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Rather, Henry L.


  • World War, 1914-1918

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Collection Inventory


Scope and Contents note



Box Folder

 February - May 1918 

1 1

 June 10 - July 30, 1918 

1 2

 August 1918 

1 3

 September 1918 

1 4

 October 1918 

1 5

 November 1918 

1 6

 December 1918 

1 7

 January - February 1919 

1 8

 March 1919 

1 9

 April - May 1919 

1 10


1 14
Box Folder

Diaries January 1918 - May 1919 

1 11

Howard C. Rather World War I diaries and letters 1918 - 1919 1992 

1 12

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Rather, Hazel 

Rather, Howard C. 

Box Folder

Nurses (unidentified) Undated 

1 13

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The Castle, St. Andrews 1948 

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