Skip to main content
University Libraries
MSU Home | myGate | RacerNet | Canvas
Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest

RG003-11-01 Office of the President - Harry M. Sparks Papers, 1921-1994: Home

Address Information

Murray State University
200 Pogue Library
Murray, Kentucky 42071

Phone & Fax Numbers

(270) 809-6152
(270) 809-4295
FAX (270) 809-6153

E-mail Special Collections

Office of the President - Harry M. Sparks Papers, 1926-1999

Collection Title: Harry M. Sparks Papers, 1921-1994

Series Number: RG003-11-01

Department: Office of the President

Processed and Cataloged by: Processed by Christie Leith on January 25, 2011

Date Listed: January 25, 2011

Date Span: 1921-1994

Size of Collection: 2 linear feet

Number of Boxes:1 letter document case and 1 oversized box

Type of Material: Correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings, photographs, memorabilia and ephemera

Condition of Material: Good

Arrangement: Chronological arrangement

Historical Information: Harry M. Sparks was the fifth President of Murray State University serving from 1968 to 1973. He was born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky on June 27, 1907. He received his early education in the schools of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky and later attended Bethany College and Transylvania College. He graduated from Transylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930. He received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in 1941 and a Doctorate in Education from the same institution in 1954. He taught at various public schools in Breckinridge County, Kentucky until the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he served in the United States Navy at the rank of lieutenant commander. Following the war, he was employed as principal of Mayfield High School and joined the faculty at Murray State College in 1948. He became chairperson of the Department of Education in 1952. In 1964, he was elected the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Kentucky and held that position until 1968. Later that same year, he became President of Murray State University. He remained in office until his retirement in 1973. Dr. Sparks passed away in 1996.

Scope and Content: Collection consists of miscellaneous correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes, photographs and memorabilia covering the time period from 1921 to 1994 donated by Harry M. Sparks, Jr. (son of Harry M. Sparks) in 2010. The papers contain records related to his service in the United States military, academic and civic awards, letters of appreciation and recognition, and ephemera associated with events he attended after his retirement. Included in the collection are two bound volumes of letters associated with Sparks’ retirement in 1973, a signed photograph of Governor Edward T. Breathitt, various diplomas and degrees and newspaper clippings related to Murray State athletic teams under Coach Rice Mountjoy during the 1940s and 1950s.

Subject Headings / Descriptors:

Sparks, Harry M., 1907-1996

Mountjoy, Rice

Murray State University – History.

Murray State University – Presidents.

Universities and colleges – Kentucky.