Lewis Ransom Fiske was born on December 22, 1825 in Penfield, New York, the sixth child of ten born to James and Eleanor Fiske. On September 19, 1852, Fiske married Elizabeth Ross Spencer (d. February 25, 1879). In the summer of 1880 Fiske married Helen M. Davis. Fiske had one daughter and one son with his first wife and three sons with the second. Fiske died on February 14, 1901.
Fiske graduated from the University of Michigan in 1850 with an A.D. degree; he also received an A.M. degree from the University of Michigan in 1853, a D.D. in 1873 from Albion College and a LL.D. in 1879 from the University of Michigan.
During his life Fiske had a two faceted career, one as an educator and the other as a minister. He was a professor at Wesleyan Seminary and Female Collegiate Institute, 1850-1853, a professor at Ypsilanti State Normal School, 1853-1856, and a professor at the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, 1856-1859. He served as President pro tempore of the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan from 1859-1862 and later served as the President of Albion College from 1877 to 1898. He was elected head of the State Teachers Association in Michigan in 1889.
As a Methodist minister, Fiske served at the First Methodist Church in Jackson, Michigan, 1863-1866; Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1866-1869; First Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, 1869-1873; and Central Methodist Church in Detroit, 1876-1877. Fiske was also the editor of the Michigan Christian Advocate from 1875 to 1877.
A note on the spelling of Fiske's name: The correct spelling is Fiske, but for a period of his life that included his tenure at the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, he spelled it Fisk. He apparently did this to avoid confusion by some who thought Fiske was a misspelling of Fisher.
Finding aid to the Lewis R. Fiske papers (UA 2.1.2).
Written by MSU Archives staff.
Exhibit created by Megan Badgley Malone.
Lewis R. Fiske, undated
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
The M.A.C. Record; vol.03, no.39; June 14, 1898
June 14, 1898
MSU Archives and Historical Collections, MSU Libraries