O.J. Noer Memorial Turfgrass Collection

During his career, O.J. Noer accumulated many books, journals, and conference proceedings related to the science, culture, and maintenance of turfgrass. Upon his death, this legacy fell in turn to Charles Wilson and the O.J. Noer Research Foundation, which was formed to honor his name in support of turfgrass research and education. It was soon voted to place this valuable collection into the hands of an accredited institution of higher learning so it would be universally available to turfgrass students. Michigan State University was selected at the behest of Dr. James B Beard, then of the Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, and Dr. Richard E. Chapin, then-Director of Libraries.

O.J. Noer and another man standing on beach looking at grass

Donated to Michigan State University beginning in 1968, the O.J. Noer Memorial Turfgrass Collection served to expand the existing collection of turf literature which had evolved during a concentrated effort to increase the MSU Libraries' turf holdings through the 1960's, a cooperative effort of both teaching and library faculty.

Other private contributions included items from Dr. James Watson, Mr. Thomas Mascaro, Dr. John Gallager and Dr. James B Beard. Valuable books and publications were solicited by Charles G. Wilson and James Latham on the behalf of the O.J. Noer Foundation. Since that time, the O. J. Noer Foundation has supported the purchase, when necessary for acquisition, of historic items not yet owned. When visiting the Collection, you may want to browse through the current Noer Collection Featured Acquisition.

Subsequent major donations have included materials from the United States Golf Association Green Section (USGA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Dr. William Daniel, Dr. Kenyon T. Payne, Mr. Fred Opperman, Dr. Paul Rieke, the family of Dr. Kent Kurtz, Mr. Jerry Matthews, the family of Dr. Fred Grau, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Dr. Douglas T. Hawes, Mr. James T. Snow, and Dr. Jack Hall.

The Turfgrass Information Center received the Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection on indefinite loan in the summer of 2000. The collection features over 14,000 35-mm slide images originally organized by O.J. Noer. The images were taken between 1924 and the early 1980s by Noer and others, with the majority shot between 1938 and 1970. The images are predominantly color photographs of lawns, sports fields, and golf courses throughout the United States and Canada. There are also close up photographs of many different varieties of grasses, diseases, pests, as well as images of golf holes and other turf-based landscapes. Before its transfer to MSU, the slide collection was located at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). The Turfgrass Information Center has begun to digitize the Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection for public access.

This on-going effort continues to strengthen the Collection, and thus make more of the rich tradition of turfgrass literature available for future generations of scholars, students, and professionals.

Together these holdings, along with ongoing MSU acquisitions and continuing donations from a wide range of individuals, comprise a collection of turf related material that is generally recognized as the finest publicly accessible one in the world.

MSU is also home to the James B Beard Turfgrass Library Collection.

O.J. NoerBooks by O.J. Noer

Access to the Noer Collection

There are two primary methods to identify specific items (articles, etc.) within the Noer Collection. The first is a book and the second is a database.

  1. The Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database. TGIF records include links to full-text digitized versions of about 58% of the database.
  2. Turfgrass Bibliography: from 1672 to 1972.
    James B Beard, Harriet J. Beard and David P. Martin. Michigan State University Press, 1977. 730 pages. This 16,000+ entry bibliography provides author and classified subject access to short-record format listings (="citations"). Compiled as the literature-review "portion" of the writing of the pivotal Turfgrass: Science and Culture (TGIF R=9280) treatise, this work won the 1979 Oberly Award of the American Library Association for the best agricultural bibliography. It is used to identify the portion of literature (up to 1972) not yet listed in the TGIF database (about 80% of this pre-1972 Beard-listed material is now in TGIF).

Finding Items in the Collection ("Physical Access")

For items within TGIF that are not directly linked to digitized versions, the MSU Libraries physically own ("hard copy") approximately 85% of the items listed in TGIF. You can use materials held at MSU, including the Noer Collection.

  1. Come to the Collection and locate materials yourself. Details about material locations.
  2. Some materials (primarily books) of the Collections may be borrowed through your local library's Inter-Library Loan capability. Take a copy of the full TGIF record to give them when you make the request.
  3. Have us do a portion of the work for you. For more information, please our Services page.