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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Kellogg Family Papers
    Creator: Kellogg, W.K. (Will Keith), 1860-1951
    Creator: Kellogg Family
    Identifier/Call Number: 0067
    Contributing Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Special Collections and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 14.71 Linear Feet (14 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1885-2006
    Abstract: The collection contains photographic negatives and prints, correspondence, and other materials related to cereal innovator W.K. (Will Keith) Kellogg, his family, and the Kellogg Company.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Kellogg Family Papers, Collection no. 0013, University Archives, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The materials in the collection were transferred from the Kellogg House to the University Library in 2010 and gathered from University Archives files.

    Biographical / Historical

    W.K. (Will Keith) Kellogg, the cereal innovator who founded the Kellogg Company, was born on April 7, 1860 in Battle Creek, Michigan to John Preston and Ann Janette Kellogg. The large family included brothers John Harvey (born 1852) and Preston Stanley (born 1858). W.K. first entered the business world as a teenager, when he began selling brooms. He worked at his family's broom factory and later began working for his half brother Albert at a broom factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. W.K. briefly moved to Texas to work at a broom factory in Dallas that was co-founded by the leader of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but returned to Michigan after about a year.
    Upon his return, W.K. enrolled in a business course in Battle Creek but switched to Parson's Business College in Kalamazoo so he could finish his education faster. After several months, W.K. received a certificate as a qualified bookkeeper and accountant. In 1880, W.K. married Ella Osborn Davis. They would have five children: Karl Hugh (1881), John Leonard (1883), Will Keith, Jr. (1885, died at the age of 4), Irvin Hadley (1894, died in infancy), and Elizabeth Ann (1888).
    In 1880, W.K. began working at the Battle Creek Sanitarium where his older brother, John Harvey, had been the physician in chief since 1876. John Harvey had earned his medical degree from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City in 1875.
    The Seventh Day Adventist Church had founded the Sanitarium in the 1860s as the Western Health Reform Institute. W.K. was responsible for various duties at the Sanitarium, including bookkeeping and janitorial duties. John Harvey, meanwhile, was experimenting with various health foods and remedies. One of those was to try and find a digestible substitute for bread. That is how the brothers stumbled upon flaked cereal. The brothers were boiling wheat as part of this effort but the wheat was forgotten. The brothers discovered, by putting the wheat through a roller, that it resulted in wheat flakes. W.K. took over responsibility for distributing the new product through the Sanitas Food Company. However, the brothers later got into a disagreement over a new factory and W.K. left the Sanitarium but remained with the Sanitas Food Company.
    W.K. later began experimenting with corn instead of wheat and "Corn Flakes" were born. W.K. founded his own company in 1906 that began selling the cereal that was originally called "Toasted Corn Flakes." The company would become known as the "Kellogg Company" in 1922. One of the unique things about the cereal packaging was that Kellogg's signature appeared on each box and warned consumers to "beware of imitations."
    The Kellogg Company continued to grow, building plants in other cities in the United States and internationally. However, W.K. continued his dispute with his brother, who maintained that he retained the sole right to use the Kellogg name for food products. After a bitter legal battle that lasted from 1910 to 1920, a court ruled in W.K.'s favor and furthermore that the Kellogg Company was entitled to any profits that John Harvey had made from the infringement of the Kellogg trade name. The brothers' relationship never recovered and John Harvey passed away in 1943.
    W.K.'s first grandchild, W. Keith (Will Keith) II, was born in 1907. Over the next 14 years, eight more grandchildren would be born: Earl Landrum (1908) and Will Lewis (1910), the sons of Karl Kellogg; John Leonard Jr. (1911), the brother of W. Keith (Will Keith) II and son of John Leonard Kellogg; and Kenneth Stanley (1912), Eleanor Jane Curry (1913), Norman Williamson, Jr. (1914), John Harold (1916), and Elizabeth Ann Lincoln (1921), children of Elizabeth Ann Kellogg Williamson.
    The family would experience tragedy when Kenneth Stanley fell from a second story window onto a concrete driveway, leaving him with permanent injuries. The accident was one of the factors in Kellogg establishing his philanthropic organization, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in 1930. Its offices were originally located at the Kellogg Inn apartment building in Battle Creek.
    In 1912, W.K.'s wife, Ella, died. Six years later, he married his second wife, Dr. Carrie Staines, who worked at the Sanitarium.
    In the 1920s, Kellogg built a residence on Michigan's Gull Lake called "Eagle Heights" and it became a summer home for Kellogg and Carrie. In 1925, Kellogg also built a ranch in Pomona, California that would become his winter home and a place where he would buy and breed Arabian horses. Kellogg also started a tradition of holding Sunday horse shows that were attended by the public and celebrities. Kellogg deeded the land in 1932 to the University of California and it eventually became the home of what is now California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Kellogg also bought a villa in Dunedin, Florida in 1934 that he later made available for use by the military during World War II. In addition to the Florida residence, Kellogg allowed the use of his Eagle Heights estate in Michigan.
    Along with the donation of land that became what is now Cal Poly Pomona, W.K. donated money to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to build the W.K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory, which opened in 1932. Members of the Kellogg family would remain very involved with Cal Poly Pomona over the years. Norman Williamson, Jr. served as a co-chair of the Partners in Progress capital campaign in the late 1980s, which contributed to the growth of the university. He also served on the President's Council and was co-chair of the Hugh O. La Bounty Chair of Interdisciplinary Applied Knowledge, along with his cousin, W. Keith Kellogg II. W. Keith and his wife, Janet were also long time supporters of the university. W. Keith and Janet donated money to establish an art gallery on the Cal Poly Pomona campus that was later named after the couple in 1992. The couple also served on the Presidents Council and W. Keith served as general co-chair of the Partners in Progress capital campaign. The cousins both earned honorary degrees: W. Keith was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 1994 and, the next year, Norman Williamson, Jr. was granted an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. Norman died on November 1, 2001. W. Keith died four years later on September 16, 2005.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains photographs, including negatives, prints, and tintypes; correspondence; Kellogg Company advertisements; postcards; and other materials related to cereal innovator W.K. (Will Keith) Kellogg, his family, and the Kellogg Company.
    There is also correspondence with Lord Noel Anthony Scawen Lytton, primarily from W.K. Kellogg's grandson, Norman Williamson Jr. The correspondence discusses a visit by Lytton to the University in April 1978 and a donation of books to the university's Arabian horse collection. Lytton had been an early advisor to W.K. Kellogg on the Arabian horse breeding program and was scheduled to visit the university to commemorate the Arabian Horse Advisory Council's 25th anniversary.


    The collection is organized into the following series: Series 1. Photographs; Series 2. Textual Materials; and Series 3. Graphic Materials and Realia.

    Separated Materials

    The following items have been removed from the collection and added to the Special Collections and Archives Rare Books Collection.
    W.K. Kellogg Foundation. I'll Invest My Money in People: A Biographical Sketch of the Founder of the Kellogg Company and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Battle Creek, MI: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1987.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed in March 2019 by Rob Strauss and Neelam Patel.

    Related Materials

    Battle Creek Sanitarium Collection, MSS 263, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
    Butler, Mary. The Best to You Each Morning: W.K. Kellogg and the Kellogg Company. Battle Creek, MI: Heritage Publications, 1995.
    I Have a Famous Name. VHS. Directed by Hansjurgen Rosenbauer. Pomona, CA: Cal Poly Pomona, 1995.
    John Harvey Kellogg Papers, 00013, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.
    The Kellogg Brothers. DVD. A & E Home Video. Burlington, VT: A & E Home Video, 2005.
    The Kellogg Dream. DVD. Directed by Joe Burnham. Pomona, CA: Cal Poly Pomona, 1983.
    Legacy: The Life of W.K. Kellogg. VHS. Directed by Michael Debiak. Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Writing and Video Co., 1990.
    Markel, Howard. The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek. New York: Pantheon Books, 2017.
    Parkinson, Mary Jane. The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: The First Sixty Years: A Chronicle of Events, 1925-1985. Pomona, CA: Cal Poly Kellogg Unit Foundation, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1984.
    Parkinson, Mary Jane. The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch: A Celebration of the Kellogg/Cal Poly Pomona Arabian Horses, 1925-2000. Pomona, CA: W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2000.
    Powell, Horace B. The Original Has This Signature--W.K. Kellogg. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1956.
    Stanford, Linda Oliphant. W.K. Kellogg and his Gull Lake Home: From Eroded Cornfield to Estate to Biological Station. Hickory Corners, MI: W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, 1983.
    Williamson, Norman. An Intimate Glimpse of a Shy Grandparent, W.K. Kellogg. N.p.: n.p., 1999.
    W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center Records, Collection no. 0062, W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
    W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch Records, W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, Collection no. 0019, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
    W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library Photograph Collection, Collection no. 0018, W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
    W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The First Twenty-Five Years: The Story of a Foundation. Lansing, MI: Speaker-Hines & Thomas, 1955.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Kellogg, W. K. (Will Keith), 1860-1951
    Kellogg Family
    Kellogg Company