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GACA Collection 226. Peterson, Conrad A. Records of Conrad Peterson, 1853-1956: Overview

Digital Content

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online through our digital collections.

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Collection Description

Peterson, Conrad A.  Records of Conrad Peterson, 1853-1956.  GACA Collection 226.  6 Records Center Cartons, 2 Hollinger boxes and 1 flat box.

The Conrad A. Peterson collection contains correspondence, class notes, course instruction notes, examinations, grade books, writings, photographs, and a photo album.  There are also some materials from the schools he attended along with a few other miscellaneous materials.  Many of the materials are in Swedish.  Peterson attended Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois and received his Masters degree and PhD from Yale University.  Afterwards he worked as a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College in the History department from 1908-1950, among a few other roles he held at the college.

Biographical Note

Conrad Peterson was born in Karlskrona, Blekinge, Sweden on 25 January 1880 and came to America in 1893.  He attended Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey before attending Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he graduated in 1901.  He continued his education with a Master of Arts and a PhD from Yale University, graduating in 1906.  He began teaching at Gustavus Adolphus College on 1 January 1908 as an acting professor of History, Economics, and Philosophy.  He was a professor until 1950 and taught many subjects, including History, Economics, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Government, and Swedish.  He became Professor Emeritus of History in 1951.

While working at Gustavus, Peterson had many roles outside of being a professor.  He served as the registrar for many years and was the Vice-President of the college from 1931-1943.  He was the head librarian from 1909-1913 where he undertook the task of creating a card catalog.  After his retirement from the faculty in 1950 he took the position of curator of the college museum and archivist for the Lutheran Minnesota Conference until 1956.  He also wrote a history of the college Remember Thy Past in 1942.  In 1955, along with colleague Dr. E.C. Carlton, he received the Greater Gustavus Award, the highest honor given by the alumni association.

Conrad Peterson married Eda Anderson in 1910 and had four children with her, Carl, Harold, Vanborg and Alphild.  She died in 1937.  He remarried in 1939 to Florence Turner, who took over as College Archivist after his death on 20 July 1956.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into three main sections: Student Life, Professional Life, and Miscellaneous.  Student Life is further broken down into four categories: Correspondence, Notes, Writing, and Miscellaneous.  Professional Life is divided into six categories: Correspondence, Course Instruction Notes, Examinations, Grade books, Writing, and Miscellaneous.  Many of the materials are in Swedish.

Student Life:

Correspondence is comprised of letters sent and/or received during the years he was in school, arranged chronologically.

Notes consists of class notes taken while he attended Yale, arranged chronologically.

Writings holds papers and essays written during his years at school, including his first sermon and his Yale doctoral dissertation, arranged chronologically.

Miscellaneous contains materials relating to different schools Peterson attended.  This includes Upsala Institute, Augustana Seminary, and Yale College. There is also a sketch book and some materials pertaining to a confirmation class.  The section is arranged alphabetically.

Professional Life:

Correspondence involves letters sent and/or received during his professional life, arranged chronologically.

Course Instruction Notes encompasses notes taken for the purpose of instruction for classes he was teaching while at Gustavus.  Many of these notes are on half sheets of paper or small note cards.  This section is arranged alphabetically by class subject.

Examinations contains copies of examinations and answers for subjects taught by Peterson while at Gustavus, arranged alphabetically by class subject.

Grade books has all of the course grade books for the years he was at Gustavus.  These files are restricted.

Writings holds articles, essays, speeches, talks given for KYSM, debates and oratory contests, and other writings from during his professional career.  This includes two copies of the manuscript and research notes for Remember Thy Past: A History of Gustavus Adolphus College, 1862-1942 (?).  This section is arranged chronologically.

Miscellaneous consists of notes on different topics including Gustavus History, and Bible topics.  There are also social surveys on varied subjects, including housing conditions on campus and in St. Peter, the state of the St. Peter Hospital, and statistics of local churches, performed by students from 1919-1922.  This section is arranged chronologically.

Miscellaneous contains many diverse materials including postcards from the local area and from Sweden, photographs and a photo album.  The photographs and photo album contain pictures, postcards, and notes sent from family and friends.  There are also condolences sent to Peterson after the death of his wife Eda.  Moreover, there are memorial programs from Peterson’s death.  See folder inventory for more detail about materials.

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