Murray D. Van Wagoner Papers: 1921-1949
Summary Information
Title: Murray D. Van Wagoner Papers
Creator: Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898-
Inclusive dates: 1921-1949
Extent: 4 linear feet
Extent: 2 oversize volumes
Extent: 10 film reels
Abstract:
Construction engineer and Michigan Democratic politician; served terms as Oakland County Drain Commissioner, Michigan State Highway Commissioner, and as Governor, 1941-1942; include correspondence, scrapbooks, appointment books, and assorted miscellanea.
Call number: 86176 Aa 2; AC
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was the gift of Murray D. Van Wagoner (donor no. 4723) and came to the library in 1969.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Murray D. Van Wagoner Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Murray D. Van Wagoner was born March 18, 1898 in Tuscola County, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1921 then went to work for the state highway department where he helped to build bridges. Van Wagoner next went to work for a private engineering company then started his own business.

In the late 1920s, Van Wagoner became interested in elective office. In 1930 he was elected Oakland County drain commissioner, then in 1933, he was elected state highway commissioner. A successful state road building, Van Wagoner was reelected all the while building a political base from which to run for higher office.

In 1940, Van Wagoner was elected Democratic governor of Michigan. As governor during the first two years of the second world war, Van Wagoner was successful in passing many measures related to civil defense and war preparedness. He was largely unsuccessful with his other proposals being opposed by a Republican legislature. He was defeated for re-election in 1942. He ran again in 1946, but was defeated. For the next decades of his life, Van Wagoner worked in private business. He died June 13, 1986.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The series in the Van Wagoner collection are Correspondence (1933-1945); Newspaper clippings/Scrapbooks (1930-1933 and 1940-1949); Miscellaneous/Political; and Visual Materials. The collection is largely an accumulation of personal materials from his career as a public service. There is very little of these papers that might be classified as administrative or office files from his years as highway commissioner or his term as governor.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Elections -- Michigan -- 1930.
  • Elections -- Michigan -- 1932.
  • Elections -- Michigan -- 1940.
  • Elections -- Michigan -- 1942.
  • Governors -- Michigan.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1837-1950.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1929-1938.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1939-1945.
  • Roads -- Michigan.
  • Blue Water Bridge (Port Huron, Mich. and Sarnia, Ont.)
  • Boat and ship industry.
  • Boats.
  • Bridges.
  • Clinton County (Mich.)
  • Construction industry.
  • Defense industry.
  • Detroit River (Mich. and Ont.)
  • Eaton County (Mich.)
  • Europe.
  • Governors -- Michigan -- Inauguration -- 1937.
  • Governors -- Michigan.
  • Grayling (Mich.)
  • Ingham County (Mich.)
  • Ionia County (Mich.)
  • Mackinac Bridge (Mich.)
  • Marine City (Mich.)
  • Mexico.
  • Parades and processions.
  • Politics and government -- 1939-1945.
  • Railroads -- Michigan.
  • Regattas.
  • Roads -- Michigan.
  • Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
  • Swimming.
  • Veterans -- Michigan.
  • West (U.S.)
  • Winter.
  • World War, 1939-1945.
  • Editorial cartoons.
  • Motion pictures.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Democratic Party (Mich.)
  • Michigan. State Highway Dept.
  • Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898-
  • Cagney, James, 1899-1986.
  • Comstock, William Alfred, 1877-1949.
  • Cooley, Mortimer E. (Mortimer Elwyn), 1855-1944.
  • Detroit Tigers (Baseball team)
  • Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974.
  • Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
  • Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898-
  • Wallace, Henry Agard, 1888-1965.
  • Western Michigan University.
  • Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988.
  • Willow Run Bomber Plant.
  • Brown, Prentiss M. (Prentiss Marsh), 1889-1973.
  • Cooley, Mortimer E. (Mortimer Elwyn), 1855-1944.
  • De Kruif, Paul, 1890-1971.
  • Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943.
  • Farley, James A. (James Aloysius), 1888-1976.
  • Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939.
  • Kelly, Harry F. (Harry Francis), 1895-1971.
  • Kennedy, G. Donald (George Donald), 1900-1988.
  • Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949.
  • Murphy, George, 1897-1961.
  • Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860-
  • Pearson, Drew, 1897-1969.
  • Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968.
  • Romney, George W., 1907-1995.
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
  • Scholle, August, 1904-
  • Tufty, Esther Van Wagoner, -1986.
  • Yost, Fielding Harris, 1871-1946.
  • Williams, Frank.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence [series]
Box   1  
Undated, 1933-1945 (21 folders)
 
Newspaper clippings/ Scrapbooks [series]
Box   1  
Undated, 1940-1949 (9 folders)
Oversize Volume   1  
Scrapbooks 1930-1933
Oversize Volume   2  
Scrapbooks 1930-1933

(continued)

 
Miscellaneous/Political [series]
Box   2  
Miscellanea (2 folders)
Box   2  
Scrapbook containing in part articles written by Esther Van Wagoner Tufty 1948
Box   2  
Appointment book 1941
Box   2  
Appointment book 1942
Box   2  
Desk diary 1942
Box   2  
Schedule book for Governor Van Wagoner and G. Donald Kennedy 1941-1942
 
Notebook of Van Wagoner supporters
Box   2  
Alcoma-Huron County
Box   2  
Ingham-Oceana County
Box   2  
Ogemaw-Wexford County
 
Visual Materials [series]

Of most interest is the visual component of the collection - photographs, editorial cartoons, and motion pictures. The photographs are of bridges and roads in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Ionia Counties, Marine City, and Sault Ste. Marie. There are also photographs of political activities and campaigning, and visits to defense plants during World War II. The editorial cartoons are originals, most of which were drawn by Detroit News artist Frank Williams.

 
Photographs
 
Highway Department engineer (1921-1924)
Box   2  
Album

(includes photos of roads and bridges in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Ionia Counties, and bridge construction in Marine City)

Box   2  
Loose photos from album
 
Highway Commissioner (1933-1940)
Box   2  
Dedications

(includes photos of Mortimer Cooley)

Box   2  
Meetings and office photos
Box   2  
Road construction and inspection

(includes photos of Sault Ste. Marie bridge and automobile riding on railroad tracks; see also box 3)

 
Governor (1941-1942)
 
Defense plant visits
Box   2  
Chrysler Tank Arsenal, Dachel Carter Co., and Murray Corp.

(includes photos of Franklin Roosevelt visit and shipbuilding)

Box   2  
Ford Airport and Willow Run Bomber Plant
Box   2  
Miscellaneous
Box   2  
Inauguration
Box   2  
Mackinac Island
 
Meetings
Box   2  
Large groups

(see also box 3)

Box   2  
Small groups
Box   2  
Office photos
Box   2  
Presentations and visits

(includes photographs of Van Wagoner with James Cagney and Duke Ellington)

 
Director of Military Government, Bavaria (1947-1948)
Box   2  
Individual photos

(see also box 3)

Box   2  
Album
Box   2  
Later activities
Box   2  
Family photos

(see also box 3)

Box   2  
Political campaigns

(includes photographs of Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Wallace)

Box   2  
Portraits

(see also box 3)

Box   2  
Miscellaneous undated

(see also negative, nc 181, of Van Wagoner speaking at a rally; also include detailed notes on film that have been digitized)

Box   3  
Oversized Photographs

(contents listed above)

Box   3  
Editorial cartoons (2 folders)
 
Motion pictures

The films are of Michigan political figures and of various events, including inaugurations of governors and construction and dedication of the Mackinac and Blue Water Bridges, and of Van Wagoner's travels in the West, Europe, and Mexico.

 
"The Blue Water Bridge", includes footage of construction and dedication circa 1938 ([86176-100])
(Construction engineer and Michigan Democratic politician; served terms as Oakland County Drain Commissioner, Michigan State Highway Commissioner, and as Governor, 1941-1942. "The Blue Water Bridge", includes footage of construction and dedication. Film is mainly black & white, though some segments are in color according to the finding aid.)
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, b/w & color, pos, optical, 00:10:53)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
  Online  
Streaming File: 86176-100 [view video]
 
"Ready on the Home Front Michigan", chiefly a talk by Van Wagoner circa 1942 ([86176-120])
(Construction engineer and Michigan Democratic politician; served terms as Oakland County Drain Commissioner, Michigan State Highway Commissioner, and as Governor, 1941-1942. "Ready on the Home Front Michigan", chiefly a talk by Van Wagoner.)
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, b/w, pos, optical, 00:02:40)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
  Online  
Streaming File: 86176-120 [view video]
 
Inauguration and other ceremonies, includes footage of Civil War veterans 1930s ([86176-121])
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, b/w & color, pos, silent, 00:20:15 @ 18 fps.)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-121 (flash-flv)
 
European trip (reel 1) 1938 ([86176-122-1])
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, color, pos, silent, 00:46:22 @ 18fps.)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-122-1 (flash-flv)
 
European trip, (reel 2) 1938 ([86176-123-2])
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, color, pos, silent, 00:34:48 @ 18fps.)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-123-2 (flash-flv)
 
Miscellaneous state affairs, excursions, and vacations circa 1941 ([86176-124])

(includes footage of boating and boat races on the Detroit River, winter sports in Grayling, Detroit Tigers games at Detroit and Lakeland, Florida, and dedication of Waldo Stadium at Western Michigan University)

 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, b/w & color, pos, silent, 00:42:53 @ 18fps)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-124 (flash-flv)
 
"Scenes from My Western Trip, Fall, 1938" 1938 ([86176-125])
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, color, pos, silent, 00:44:35 @ 18fps)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-125 (flash-flv)
 
Mackinac Bridge construction, dedication, and parade; includes footage of G. Mennen Williams, 1956-57 ([86176-126])
(Construction engineer and Michigan Democratic politician; served terms as Oakland County Drain Commissioner, Michigan State Highway Commissioner, and as Governor, 1941-1942. Mackinac Bridge construction, dedication, and parade; includes footage of G. Mennen Williams.)
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, color, pos, silent, 00:22:53 @ 18 fps.)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
  Online  
Streaming File: 86176-126 [view video]
 
Miscellaneous footage ([86176-127])

(Concerning state officials; includes footage of William Comstock, 1934 World Series, swimming, winter sports in Grayling, 1937 inauguration of Frank Murphy, and G. Mennen Williams, 1933-38 & 1948)

 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, b/w & color, pos, silent, 00:32:08)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-127 (flash-flv)
 
Inspection trip on Pan American Highway; travel footage of trips to Mexico, western US, Bahamas, and Cuba 1930s ([86176-128])
 
Original: [Restricted] (16mm film, color, pos, silent, 00:56:30 @ 18 fps.)
DVD Box   10  
Use Copy: (DVD)
 
Streaming File: 86176-128 (flash-flv)
Additional Descriptive Data
Selective Index to Correspondents
Brown, Prentiss Marsh, 1889-1973
  • May 4, 1942, Jan. 21, 1943
Cooley, Mortimer E. (Mortimer Elwyn), 1855-1944.
  • Dec. 15, 1933, 1935-1939, Jan. 13, 1941, Nov. 9, 1942, Nov. 12, 1942, Dec. 31, 1942, Jan. 4, 1943
DeKruif, Paul, 1890-1971.
  • Feb. 3, 1943
Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943.
  • Sept. 11, 1940, Nov. 12, 1940
Farley, James Aloysius, 1888-
  • July 8, 1938, Nov. 8, 1940, Apr. 21, 1941, Nov. 27, 1942, Dec. 30, 1942, Dec. 28, 1942, Mar. 1, 1943
Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939.
  • July 10, 1934
Kelly, Harry F. (Harry Francis), 1895-
  • Nov. 7, 1940, Jan. 21, 1943
Kennedy, G. Donald (George Donald), 1900-
  • Nov. 13, 1934, 1936, Apr. 13, 1938, Dec. 5, 1938, May 19, 1941, Dec. 3, 1941, Dec. 30, 1942, Feb. 14, 1943, Mar. 15, 1943, Mar. 29, 1943
Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949.
  • Oct. 20, 1936, May 26, 1938, Jan. 10, 1940
Murphy, George, 1897-1961.
  • Nov. 5, 1942, Nov. 23, 1942
Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860-1949.
  • Jan. 7, 1937, Nov. 5, 1942, Nov. 16, 1942, Dec. 11, 1942, Dec. 29, 1942, Mar. 11, 1943
Pearson, Drew, 1897-1969.
  • Mar. 12, 1941
Pollock, James Kerr, 1898-
  • Dec. 15, 1942, Jan. 21, 1943
Romney, George W., 1907-
  • Mar. 20, 1943
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
  • May 22, 1941, May 19, 1941, May 6, 1941
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
  • Jan. 24, 1940, Nov. 25, 1940, Feb. 4, 1941, Oct. 23, 1942
Scholle, August, 1904-
  • Dec. 30, 1942
Tufty, Esther Van Wagoner, d. 1986
  • Undated, May 28, 1941, June 9, 1941, Oct. 9, 1941, Nov. 6, 1942, Jan. 26, 1943, Feb. 3, 1943
Yost, Fielding Harris, 1871-1946.
  • June 18, 1941