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LCA Collection 057. Northwestern College. Collection of Northwestern College, 1900-1944: Overview

Digital Content

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

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To learn more about this collection please see the finding aid link found above, and/or visit the College and Lutheran Church Archives to use these primary sources.

Collection Description

Northwestern College.  Collection of Northwestern College, 1900-1944.  LCA Collection 57.  1 Records Center Carton, 1 Hollinger box, 2 half Hollinger boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 oversize folder.

The Northwestern College collection includes alumni information, meeting minutes from faculty and student organizations, correspondence, and a certificate from the school’s short existence.  Correspondence was primarily in the possession of Carl Solomonson, president of the school from 1915-19.  Northwestern was a secondary school (rather than an actual college) supported by the Augustana Synod from 1900-1932.  After graduation, many students went on to attend Gustavus Adolphus College.  Northwestern struggled with debt throughout the majority of its existence.  The institution ceased operations in 1932, and the property was sold in the 1940s.

Historical Note

Northwestern College was a high school located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota which offered Commerce, Music, and Academy departments of study from 1900 through 1932.  It was funded by the Northwestern College Corporation of the Augustana Synod.  The school had two literary societies, Aurora and Tegner (organized in Swedish), a prayer circle, and musical organizations.  There was no gymnasium, so Northwestern College rented the local high school gymnasium once a week to practice basketball.  Although there were no requirements for physical fitness, the school had two tennis courts and sometimes two baseball teams. The school suffered an influenza epidemic in 1918, a 1919 tornado, and a fire in 1928.  During years of low enrollment, some classes were offered every other year, and one year funds were so low the students performed the janitor’s duties.  Over 500 students graduated from the school (around 1500 had attended), and many students attended Gustavus Adolphus College after their time at Northwestern.  Although donations were made to help ease the school’s financial burdens and the school eventually paid off their debt, Northwestern College closed in 1932 and was sold in the 1940’s for $12,500.  Proceeds of the sale were given to the charities of the Augustana Synod’s Minnesota Conference.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of four series: Administrative, Alumni, Faculty and Departments, Miscellaneous, and Students.

Administrative, 1900-32: This series includes materials necessary for the organization of the school, such as a cash book and meeting minutes.

Alumni, 1908-44: The Alumni series contains meeting minutes, reunion, and employment information.

Faculty and Departments, 1904-31: Faculty and Departments is comprised of faculty meeting minutes and information about Northwestern’s commercial and music departments.

Miscellaneous, 1915-32: This series includes some correspondence and information about various school issues, such as food conservation and proibition.

Students, 1901-29: The Students category contains information about student organizations, prospective students, and student records.

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