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Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane papers

Identifier: 010.RAM

Scope and Contents

Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane was a professor in the Biology Department in Eastern Michigan University's College of Arts and Sciences. The Ruth B. Alford McFarlane papers includes materials related to botany, education, the Ontonagon Historical Society, Mass City, correspondence, garden logs, articles, research, and writing. Also included are biographical materials such as journals, news clippings, education, employment, photographs, and family life.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1934 - 2015


Conditions Governing Access

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

Biographical / Historical

Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane was born Ruth May Burgar on May 26, 1920 in Dearborn, Michigan. She grew up in Pittsfield Township, Washtenaw Co., Michigan and attended Town Hall School and Ypsilanti High School. Ruth was married to Barry Hopkins Alford for twenty-six years and they raised 5 children: Peter, Richard, Michael, Thomas, and Janet Alford, after which she was married to Richard MacFarlane for thirteen years. Ruth attended Madonna College in Livonia, Michigan and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology. She studied one summer at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. She worked eight years as Curator of the Herbarium at Eastern Michigan University, before moving to the Upper Peninsula in 1970, where she became a writer and had many articles and three books published. She taught courses in Creative Writing and was co-sponsor of the 4-H Club Imaginations. Ruth was a prolific writer and documented life in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the North Country Trail and Peter Wolfe, and other natural resources. She also wrote and published many short stories and articles in a variety of publications. rith was also known under her pseudonym, Russell Burgar. She was a participant in many Ontonagon and Mass City communit groups such as Ontonagon Historical Society, Mass Library, and the Adventure Artisans theater group. She kept the geneological records of her family, including deeds dated back to the mid-nineteenth century. Ruth died on September 22, 2017 in Houghton, Michigan.


63.3 Linear Feet (116 archive boxes, 2 half size archive box, 4 record center cartons, 4 photo boxes, 2 slide box, 24 negatives boxes, 1 reel to reel, 1 oversize archive box)

Language of Materials



Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane was a faculty member in the Biology department in Eastern Michigan University's College of Arts and Sciences. She was the curator of EMU's Herbarium for eight years.

Arrangement of Materials

The Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane papers are arranged into 2 series: 1. GRAPHIC MATERIALS and 2. OFFICE FILES. The GRAPHIC MATERIALS series contains an extensive photograph collection, artwork, and slides. The OFFICE FILES series contains journals, personal papers, family life, correspondence, education, travel,garden logs, materials related to botany, the Ontonagon Historical Society, research, and writing.

Related Materials

Additional materials related to Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane can be found in Northern Michigan University Archives in Marquette, Michigan. Of particular note is an oral history interview given in March 2015.

Other materials related to the North Country Trail and Peter Wolfe can be found at the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries - Michigan Historical Center Archives of Michigan.

Ruth B. Alford MacFarlane papers
Brooke Boyst
2021 May 19
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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