Lytle, R. J., 1919-

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Michigan businessman, proponent of school choice through vouchers.

From the description of R.J. Lytle. 1990s. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 45281427

Detroit, Mich., businessman in the prefabricated home manufacturer industry, author of books on building, proponent of school choice through payment of vouchers to students.

From the description of R. J. Lytle papers, 1943-1994. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 83302160

Robert J. Lytle, a Detroit native born in 1919, was the author of numerous works on education reform. A strong proponent of school choice through vouchers, Lytle's articles appeared in the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, and Education Week. He also wrote a book entitled Liberty Schools: A Parent's Voucher Plan, published in 1975. Milton Friedman, the Noble Prize-winning economist with whom Lytle corresponded extensively, referred to Lytle's book as a "breath of fresh air in this stifling atmosphere" and to Lytle as "a pioneer in promoting educational choice through vouchers and other means." Lytle was also a founder of the Education Voucher Institute, an organization that provided technical assistance to groups interested in parental choice in education through vouchers or tax credits.

Educated at local parochial schools, Lytle was a Cass Technical High School dropout, who later went on to graduate from the Army's Command and General Staff College. He served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945, beginning as a private and rising to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers, receiving the Bronze Star Medal for "meritorious achievement and service" in 1945.

In addition to his interest in education, Lytle was also a leader in the field of prefabricated home manufacturing in Michigan. He started and headed Modern Homes Corp., a prefabricated home company in Dearborn from 1946 to 1956 and The Panel Clip Company, a building materials manufacturer based in Farmington from 1956 to 1985. Lytle also served as the secretary/treasurer of the Prefabricated Home Manufacturers Institute and authored several books on building topics, including Farm Builder's Handbook (1973) and Book of Successful Fireplaces: How to Build, Decorate, and Use Them, co-authored with his wife, Marie-Jeanne Lytle, in 1971.

An avid hunter and conservationist, Lytle was an early member of The Ruffed Grouse Society. He was elected to the organization's national board in 1974 and became the organization's president in 1976, holding that office for two years. According to Dr. Samuel R. Pursgolve, Jr., the executive director of the non-profit group, Lytle "was instrumental in leading The Ruffed Grouse Society and turning it into a national conservation organization."

The father of ten children, Robert J. Lytle died in 1994.

From the guide to the R. J. Lytle papers, 1943-1994, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lytle, R. J., 1919-. R. J. Lytle papers, 1943-1994. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Lytle, R. J., 1919-. R.J. Lytle. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf R. J. Lytle papers, 1943-1994 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Friedman, Milton, 1912-2006. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Prefabricated houses
Educational vouchers--Michigan
Educational vouchers


Birth 1919



Ark ID: w6kd53t4

SNAC ID: 7464045