Frances Morehouse and Milton Townsend Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Morehouse, Frances, 1903-1984
Townsend, Milton, 1897-1993
Frances Morehouse and Milton Townsend papers
Date [inclusive]
1.5 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

Milton Coan Townsend was born in 1897, attended Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), and graduated in 1920 with a degree in Agriculture Science. He then took a teaching job in Hastings, Michigan, where he met his future wife, Frances Lucile Morehouse. Frances was born in 1903 and after graduating school, she attended Michigan Agricultural College in 1922 and lived in the Women’s Building (Morrill Hall). During her freshman year of college, she and Milton’s relationship became serious. By January 1923, they were engaged and were married March 25, 1923. Frances did not return to school after completing her first year.

Together, Frances and Milton had four children. After Milton quit his teaching job in 1926, he and Frances purchased a floral business in St. Louis, Michigan that they operated together until 1963. Frances died in 1984 and Milton in 1993.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of correspondence from Frances Morehouse and Milton Townsend. Most of the letters are between Frances and Milton but a few of the letters are also from their relatives and friends.

While professing their love for each other, Frances and Milton also talked about their day-to-day activities. Frances talked about her Home Economic classes, working on campus at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), and events she attended. She also mentioned someone preaching about prohibition during church and how several students on campus came down with scarlet fever and the flu. Milton talked about his teaching job, projects he was involved in, and people he interacted with.

Included with some of the letters are extra items, such as newspaper clippings of poems, drawings, photos/negatives, valentines, swatches of fabric for dresses, an old stick of gum, letters from other people they wanted to share, extra stamps, and a piece of birch bark that Milton wrote on declaring his love for Frances.

Most of the letters to this collection are not dated. For that reason, the date on the envelopes was used to arrange the letters.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections February 11, 2016

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

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Mary Federspiel until December 31, 2041. After this date, copyright belongs to Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from Mary Federspiel through December 31, 2041. After this date, all rights to the collection are turned over to the University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University. Please contact the University Archives for Mary Federspiel's contact information.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan Agricultural College. Students.
  • Michigan State University. Class of 1920.


  • Letters (correspondence)

Personal Name(s)

  • Hoffman, Marjorie
  • Morehouse, Frances, 1903-1984
  • Townsend, Milton, 1897-1993


  • College students -- Michigan -- East Lansing
  • Courtship
  • Marriage

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Collection Inventory


Box Folder

 August 11, 1920 

5539 1


5539 2

 January - June 1922 

5539 3

 July 1922 

5539 4

 August 1922 

5539 5

 September 1922 

5539 6-7

 October 1922 

5539 8-11

 November 1922 

5539 12-14

 December 1922 

5539 15-17

 January 1923 

5539 18-21

 February 1923 

    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5539 22
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5540 1-2

Box Folder

 March 1923 

5540 3-5

 April 1923 

5540 6-9

 May 1923 

5540 10-11

 June 1923 

5540 12


5540 13