Title

Exhibit - Louis A. Wolfanger International Slide Collection

Louis A. Wolfanger was born January 3, 1896 in Nebraska. He studied geography and soils in college and completed his PhD in geography and geology at Colombia University. At Michigan State, he served as an Associate Professor of Soil Science, specializing in land use and zoning, from 1937 until his retirement in 1966.

His focus on land use and zoning requirements stemmed from his interest in conserving and improving what he called, “…the quality and well-being of our rural, small town, and ‘rurban’ communities.” His inspiration came from studying both geography and soil science, saying he recognized that, “…geographers knew little about the soil environment and its human and geographic significance and that soil technicians were similarly unaware of the significant social and economic relationships of soils.” He believed that, “zoning…offers the local people of a community an opportunity to decide for themselves just how they had best live together,” because “Farms, recreational opportunities, businesses, homes, and the families that fail are all casualties for the entire community. The use of the land – good or bad – affects everybody.”

The Louis Wolfanger collection includes lecture notes, exams, and newspaper and journal articles from Wolfanger’s geography courses at Colombia University and other universities. These courses include the Geography of Europe, the Geography of Latin America, and the Geography of Africa and Australia.

Wolfanger’s courses on the Geography of Europe and Africa might explain the large collection of glass slides also found in his collection. Although there is no evidence that he visited either area, he possessed dozens of slides documenting agriculture and life in Algeria, Spain, Austria, Norway, and Finland.

Exhibit Created by Emily Field June, 2013

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