T. T. Lyon Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Lyon, T. T., (Theodatus Timothy), 1817-1900
T. T. Lyon papers
Date [inclusive]
0.1 Cubic feet , 1 folder, 2 volumes on shelf

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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T. T. Lyon (1817-1900) was the donor and first superintendent of the South Haven Experiment Station. He served as President (1876-1893) and Secretary of the Michigan State Horticultural Society. He edited the American Pomological Society’s fruit variety catalogue for more than 40 years.

One of the early supporters of Michigan Agriculture College (now Michigan State University), Lyon, a native of New York, moved to Michigan with his parents in 1828. He operated a farm and sawmill in Plymouth, and there established a test orchard for apple and pear cultivars. He provided scions of many cultivars to the college for use in establishing orchards at East Lansing.

In 1874 Lyon moved to South Haven and established a new orchard and nursery. Lyon retired from the nursery business in 1885 and in 1888 signed an agreement with the Board of Agriculture to write a report on the cultivars under test in his orchard. This led to the Board’s leasing the orchard in 1889, retaining Lyon as superintendent. Lyon continued in his supervisory role until his resignation in 1898 at the age of 81. He was awarded an honorary Master of Horticulture degree by M.A.C. in 1891.

(From Seed to Fruit: 150 Years of Horticulture at Michigan State 1855-2005, Department of Horticulture, MSU, 2007)

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of the letterbooks of T. T. Lyon of Plymouth, Michigan, president and superintendent of the Michigan Lake Shore Nurseries, South Haven, Michigan.

Volume I (1874-1876) and volume II (1875-1880) contain copies of business letters written exclusively by Lyon. Included are letters concerning loans for land improvements, ordering nursery stock, securing agents to solicit orders and advertise their nursery products, mass orders to various Granges in Michigan, lists of varieties of fruits, and horticultural experiments.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections July 1967

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

Revision Description

  July 2000

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.

Custodial History

Gift of H. B. Tukey, 1961-02-16. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Commercial correspondence
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Tukey, Harold B.


  • Horticulture -- Michigan
  • Nurseries (Horticulture)

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Collection Inventory


Postcard 1876 




Vol. 1, Letters 1874-1876 


Vol. 2, Letter Book 1875-1880 


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People Photographs

People. Lyon, T. T. 

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