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John D. Pierce papers

Identifier: 010.JP


John D. Pierce was an important figure in the early history of Michigan State Normal College and education in Michigan in general. He served as the first Superintendent of Public Education from 1836 to 1882, and gave the dedicatory address at the completion of the first building on the MSNC campus. The John D. Pierce papers include the following materials: Pierce's personal copy of the Holy Bible, along with clippings which were removed from the inside cover; newspaper clippings about Pierce; copies of the Michigan Journal of Education, of which Pierce was an editor; a copy of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the MSNC souvenir booklet; materials related to a painted portrait of Pierce; and finally, secondary research materials relating to Pierce which were collected by librarians and archivists.


  • Creation: 1797 - 1882


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical Note

John Davis Pierce was the first Superintendent of Public Instruction in Michigan. He was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire on 18 February 1797. Pierce was raised in Worcester, Mass. and enrolled in Brown University in 1818, and graduated in 1822. He served as the principal of the academy at Wrentham, Mass. for one year, and then enrolled in the Princeton Theological Seminary, and accepted the pastorate of a church in Oneida Co., N.Y. In the spring of 1831, Pierces moved to Marshall, Michigan to work as Home Missionary. In 1836 the State of Michigan passed an act providing for a Superintendent of Public Instruction, and John Pierce was appointed to the position. In 1847 Pierce began representing Calhoun county to the State legislature.

In 1852 Pierce relocated to Ypsilanti, Mich. and gave the dedicatory address when the first Normal College campus building was completed. Pierce moved to New England in 1880 for his health, and passed away in 1882.


2.4 Linear Feet (1 archive box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


John D. Pierce papers
Natalie Morath
2012 November 28
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197