Russell A. Runnells Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Creator - Donor
Runnells, Russell A., (Russell Alger), 1891-
Russell A. Runnells papers
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Cubic feet , 11 folders

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

Russell Alger Runnells was born in Oceania, Virginia on June 21, 1891, to Fred A. Runnells and Elizabeth Scott Runnells. His family moved to Michigan when he was 6 years old. Russell A. Runnells graduated from a high school in Clio, Michigan in 1910.

Runnells specialized in mammalian pathology during his career. He received his D.V.M. from Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in 1916 and his M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1930.

Runnells ran a private veterinary practice for a short while before entering the U.S. Army. During World War I, he served as a Veterinary Officer for the medical officers’ training camp at Camp Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis during World War I, from July 1917 until January 1919. Beginning in December 1917, he served as 1st Lieutenant in the Surgeon General’s Office in Washington, D.C. He also served at Camp Meade, Maryland from January to September 1918. He was a staff member at the Veterinary Training School at Camp Lee, Virginia from September 1918 – January 1919.

Russell A. Runnells first joined the faculty at M.A.C. in 1919 as an Assistant Professor in Anatomy. In 1924, he accepted a post as associate animal pathologist at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in Blacksburg, Virginia. Between 1930 and 1943, he was an Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology at Iowa State College. He returned to Michigan State in July 1943 as a professor and head of the Department of Anatomy, 1943-1948. He served as the head of MSC’s Department of Animal Pathology, 1948-1955. He was granted professor emeritus status in 1955. From 1955 to 1963, Runnells was the Resident Consultant in Pathology at the Upjohn Company.

Runnells wrote two textbooks on anatomy that were used widely in American veterinary schools and he published scientific articles on animal pathology. He was also a member of several academic and professional organizations. These include Phi Kappa Phi at Iowa State College (Secretary, 1932-34, Vice President, 1934-35, President, 1935-1936), Sigma Xi at Iowa State College (President, 1955-1956), Michigan State Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Pathologists, and the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Runnells was married to Laura Theresa Runnells and they had two daughters, Frances and Mildred Virginia.

Runnells died on March 6, 1977, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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Scope and Contents note

The Russell A. Runnells papers contain reprints of published and unpublished scientific articles on animal pathology written by Runnells. A list of Runnells' publications by Runnells and correspondence relating to his professional and student careers are included in this collection.

The collection also includes a program for the Initiation Banquet held by the Iowa State College Chapter of Sigma Xi in 1943, when Runnells was the president. The president’s address for this 1943 Sigma Xi event is also included in the collection.

The fifty-eighth Annual Commencement Program for the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), when Russell A. Runnells received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree is in this collection.

The collection includes American College of Veterinary Pathologists' meeting minutes, constitution, and a report when Runnells was a member.

There are documents that concern Runnells’ retirement from Michigan State University in 1955 and a parting letter to friends he co-wrote with Henrick J. Stafseth. Additionally, the collection contains photographs and postcards. The subjects of the images include student activities at Michigan State University, a class photo for classes of 1923-1926, and military topics. The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections

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

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status note

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)

  • American College of Veterinary Pathologists.
  • Michigan Agricultural College. Department of Military Science.
  • Michigan Agricultural College. Students.
  • Michigan State College. School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Michigan State University. Department of Animal Pathology.
  • Michigan State University. Students.


  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Minutes (Records)
  • Photographs


  • College students -- Michigan -- East Lansing
  • Postcards -- Michigan
  • Veterinary pathology

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Collection Inventory

Drawer Folder

American College of Veterinary Pathology 1948, 1949 

F.D. 1

Correspondence 1923-1957 

F.D. 2

Education 1916, 1943 

F.D. 3

Professorship 1955 

F.D. 4

Writings 1925-1960, undated 

F.D. 5


Collection Photographs

Michigan State University. Military Science 1920 

Michigan State University. Students. Class Activities 

Michigan State University. Students Class Picture. Classes of 1923-1926 

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Michigan State University. Military Science 1913, 1915 

Michigan State University. Students. Class Activities 1913, 1915 

Military. Vehicles. Tanks 

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