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Archival description
S-69 · Collection · 1922-1969

This collection consist of personal correspondence, newspaper articles, campaign materials, one microfilm, and miscellaneous items, all arranged chronologically. The majority of the personal correspondence are letters between Petersen and his wife Medora. Within these letters, the couple discuss various political events and Petersen’s thoughts on political issues. There is also two folders containing correspondence between Petersen and his brother-in-law, Georg Strandvold, discussing political issues.

The collection also contains various political materials, including: correspondences, campaign materials, business cards, speeches, biographical sketches, and other miscellaneous materials. There are a number of newspaper clippings concerning Petersen’s involvement in political issues as well as social events. There are also five, intact copies of the Askov American which Petersen owned and published.

Petersen, Hjalmar
6 · Collection · 1933-1993

In 1933, Lewis collaborated with Lloyd Lewis to write a play revolving around the Civil War called The Jayhawker. Lloyd Lewis was a noted Civil War historian, writing biographies of General William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. In the fall of 1934, the play, which in early drafts collected by Hubert Gibson was called “The Skedaddler” and “The Glory Hole,” was performed in Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.

The Hubert Irey Collection of Sinclair Lewis consists of many drafts of the Sinclair Lewis and Lloyd Lewis collaboration The Jayhawker, as well as correspondence and news clippings, almost all dated in 1933. Most notable are the drafts of The Jayhawker, showing the evolution of the play from an idea to a finished script.

There is a small but significant collection of material from Hubert Gibson himself, including letters, photographs, and news clippings, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s. Highlights of the material include Gibson’s remarks about his time working on The Jayhawker, as well as his letter of recommendation from Sinclair Lewis.

Series 1: The Jayhawker

Subseries 1: Drafts

Arranged in chronological order, the drafts tell the story about how The Jayhawker evolved from an idea to a play. Most of the material is typewritten with varying degrees of handwritten revisions in pencil or ink. These revisions were in English and in shorthand, either written by Sinclair or Lloyd Lewis, as well as Hubert Gibson.

Especially significant is the final draft of The Jayhawker, then titled “The Glory Hole,” hand inscribed to Hubert:

“For Gib, Who not only typed this, but acted all the parts during his obstetrical ministrations to us in our confinement. Lloyd Lewis Sept. 29, 1933 Sinclair Lewis”

Subseries 2: Miscellaneous

Included here are correspondence, news clippings, and artifacts. Most significant are the letters between Sinclair and Lloyd Lewis, April 1933 to September 1933. Written mostly to Sinclair, Lloyd Lewis discussed the details of the plot of the play, which he was calling “The Skedaddler.” Other details include possible producers of the play, as well as arrangements for a room at Chicago’s Sherry Hotel.

Also included in this subseries is an empty box of paper, paper which was used to write the drafts of The Jayhawker.

Series 2: Hubert Irey Gibson

Correspondence, photographs, and news clippings are included here. Most significant are the letters between Gibson and his daughter, Barbara. These letters, as well as a 1960 news clipping, provides insight into Gibson’s experience as Lewis’ temporary secretary.

Also included in this subseries is a color photocopy of a 1935 letter of recommendation written by Sinclair Lewis for Hubert Gibson.

Lewis, Harry Sinclair
Ida Compton Papers
32 · Collection · 1947-1985

The Ida Compton papers contain mostly letters written to Ida Kay Compton by Sinclair Lewis and others, dating from 1947 to 1985. Also included are clippings about Sinclair Lewis, including some written by and about Ida Kay Compton. In addition, the papers contain audio recordings of Lewis in the 1940s.

Sinclair Lewis wrote 18 letters and one telegram to Ida Kay Compton from 1947 to 1950. In these letters, Lewis mostly lived or was traveling in Europe. He described the people he was met and his home in Florence. Lewis also wrote about his new secretary, Alex Manson. The remainder of his letters discussed Ida's upcoming visit to Europe in the summer of 1950.

Other correspondence includes letters from Claude and Helen Lewis. Dated mostly around the death of Sinclair Lewis in 1951, these letters chronicle Ida's trip to Minnesota for the memorial service, as well as the disposition of Sinclair's personal property.

Letters written by Mark Schorer, who was writing a biography of Lewis, asked Ida for her memories of Lewis, while letters from Bennett Cerf and Harry Maule discussed an incident involving a confrontation with Sinclair Lewis over World So Wide, a book published in 1951.

Especially noteworthy are letters written by and to Barnaby Conrad, detailing Ida's friendship with Sinclair Lewis. Conrad briefly served as Lewis' secretary in 1947.

Other significant material are the newspaper clippings collected by Ida Kay Compton. Many dealt with the death of Sinclair Lewis, book reviews about publications of Lewis' life, as well as a few about Ida Compton herself, which dated in 1985.

The papers include audio recordings of Lewis from the 1940s and may be the only recordings Lewis' voice that survive. The large vinyl records have been reformatted onto a reel-to-reel tape and an audio cassette.

Compton, Ida L.
Isabel Lawrence Papers
196 · Collection · 1879-1936

This collection contains records and items related to Isabel Lawrence, faculty member and first female president of St. Cloud State University, acting or permanent. Items in this collection date from approximately 1879 to 1950, the majority of which were created between 1890 and 1920. The first two series contain documents that belonged to Lawrence and were kept by former faculty member and friend of Lawrence, Albertina C. Anderson. The papers contain drafts of articles and addresses by Lawrence, some of her personal notes on several topics including developmental psychology and literature, and writings by students and other faculty members that may have come into her possession. The third series contains articles of clothing that belonged to Lawrence and were kept by Mrs. Blanche Anderson.

These records are arranged in four series:

Series 1: Records Created by Isabel Lawrence

This series contains a variety of typed and handwritten records. Much of it is drafts of essays, articles, and addresses by Lawrence discussing child and adolescent development and teaching methods, including a handwritten draft of a commencement address. Other records include personal notes on developmental psychology, literature, teaching methods, and lesson plans.

Series 2: Records Created by Other Writers

This series contains records that were not created by Lawrence but likely came into her possession and were found in the same donation. Records include, but are not limited to, writings by 1897 graduates Benhof E. Benhardus and Vernon E. McCombs, criticisms by faculty of practice teachers in St. Cloud State's model school, and records from other normal schools and teachers colleges in New York and Chicago.

Series 3: Clothing Belonging to Isabel Lawrence

This series contains clothing belonging to Isabel Lawrence that had been kept by Mrs. Blanche Anderson and were transferred to the University Archives by Mrs. Alice Wick, wife of former SCSU president Robert Wick. Included here are two dresses, a mesh top-coat, a fur handwarmer, five pieces of lace, and a 1987 letter from then University Archivist Marie Elsen to Blanche Anderson.

Series 4: Tribute and Other Material

This series contains mostly material related to Lawrence's retirement from St. Cloud State in May 1921. Letters were solicited from alumni and most letters received were bound into two volumes.  Other letters were left loose.  The bound letters are organized by graduating class and give tribute to Lawrence.  The letters congratulate Lawrence upon her retirement, share memories of her when the alum had attended St. Cloud State, and updates on their own lives.  There is a folder with Lawrence's 1936 obituary and other tribute material related to her death.

Lawrence, Isabel
James C. Pehler Papers
S-33 · Collection · 1970-1990

This collection contains various materials relating to James Pehler and the time in spent in public office. These materials include awards given to Pehler, correspondence between the public and other politicians, campaign materials, proposals for a domed stadium, an assortment of various educational programs supported and participated by Pehler, environmental issues he was involved in, drafts of letters to be sent out in response to public questions, a work resume, legislative pamphlets, memos, newspaper clippings, press release, the Senate Journal, and various miscellaneous materials.

The first box in this collection contains various awards, certifications, and plaques Pehler received from various organizations he supported. The awards are in various physical conditions and some are undated.

The major part of this collection is the constituent correspondence between Pehler and the public. These correspondence date between the years 1972 through 1990, and are arranged in chronological order by date. The content matter of the correspondence mostly deal with legislative matters on a wide range of topics. They provide insight to public sentiment towards prospective laws and way of life in Minnesota.

Pehler, James C.
S-2 · Collection · 1857-1963

The papers consist of correspondence, military accounts (returns on personnel and equipment kept by both McKelvy’s), certificates of appointments, newspaper clippings, reminiscence, and miscellaneous items, all arranged chronologically.

The undated papers have information on the Democratic ticket for Congress and other offices; James M. McKelvy’s membership in the Masonic Order-North Star Lodge No. 23, St. Cloud; his membership in the Ancient Order of Prevaricators; railroad passes; instructions to officers in the United States Army from the Treasury Department re: settling their property accounts; the Seventh Minnesota Regiment; Stearns County citizens (a list) who have undertaken to support the constitution, obey the commands of the President, and those of their superior officers in the United States Army; reminiscences of James E. McKelvy and other data concerning his service in the Spanish-American War, as a member of the Thirteenth Minnesota Regiment; and the closing exercises of Shattuck School.

The papers for the 1857-1861 period include an indenture between Henry Swisshelm, St. Cloud, and Thomas A. Fernley, Philadelphia; assignment of property; appointments of James M. McKelvy as notary public; and a certificate of his election as Stearns County Attorney.

Those for 1862-1865 deal largely with McKelvy’s service in the Civil War. There are forms filled out by men enlisting in the Seventh Regiment at St. Cloud, containing vital statistics and physical descriptions’ authorizations by parents for the enlistment of minors; a list of men of the Seventh owing sums to B.C. Spencer, settler at Fort Ripley; records on the Seventh kept by McKelvy; a circular from the Chief of Ordnance, War Department, regarding regulations on resignations of officers in the volunteer service; McKelvy’s appointment as notary public; a certificate admitting McKelvy to North Star Lodge No. 23 (Masons); a certificate attesting to the marriage of McKelvy and Margaret Garlington; and a license to carry on the business of claim and real estate agent.

The papers from 1866 to 1883 relate largely to McKelvy’s professional and business activities and to his family. They include articles of co-partnership between John H. Raymond and John H. Owen, doing business as Raymond and Owen in St. Cloud, and William Dickinson of St. Cloud, forming the firm J.H. Owen and Company to manufacture sashes, door and blinds (McKelvy witnessed the signing of the instrument); appointment of McKelvy as an agent for the Phoenix Insurance Company, Hartford, Connecticut; appointment of McKelvy as a judge in the Seventh Judicial District; a power of attorney granted to McKelvy by Moses R. Brown and Abby A. Brown of Fall River, Massachusetts; letters and other papers regarding McKelvy’s application for a pension for the government because of a wound received at Nashville; letter written by James Lawrence and Edwin Garlington from Helena City, Mountain Home, and Centerville, Montana (These communications have data on gold prospecting, livestock farming, and the formation of the Star of the West Grange—according to James Garlington, the first to be organized in Montana); family news; a statement by Stephen Miller of Windom that the Henry Swisshelm mortgage assigned to Miller by Gile J. Wilson has been paid; articles of incorporation of the Bank of St. Cloud (McKelvy is one of the incorporators; receipts for a contribution made by McKelvy to the Concordia Singing Society in St. Cloud for the construction of a public hall; the will of James McKelvy of Wilkins, Pennsylvania, the father of James M. McKelvy; a ruling by McKelvy as judge on the petition of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company for a right of way in building a branch from a point near Carlisle, Minnesota, to Pelican Rapids.

Most of the papers dating form 1884 to 1892 deal with the estate of McKelvy, who died in 1884. There are in addition a certificate issued by the Commercial School, St. Cloud, to J.G. McKelvy; the marksmanship record of James E. McKelvy; and a furlough granted by James M. McKelvy, who enlisted in Troop L, First Regiment of Cavalry, at Fort Maginnis, Montana Territory, in 1888.

The file for the rest of the period (1893-1963) is slight and miscellaneous. The most substantial unit is for the years 1898-1899, when James E. McKelvy was serving as captain in the Thirteenth Minnesota Regiment. The papers are made up of his military accounts, for the most part. Other papers for the 1893-1963 period include a list of members of a local board at St. Cloud of the United States Savings and Loan Company, St. Paul; J.G. McKelvy’s certificate of stock ownership in the company; a clipping from the St. Cloud Daily Journal-Press (January 2, 1894) containing an address by Judge D.B. Searle of the Stearns County bench and bar, paying tribute to Judge James M. McKelvy, among others; a certificates regarding James E. McKelvy’s nomination for the position of sheriff of Stearns County; forms concerning James M. McKelvy’s pension; a letter describing Eva McKelvy’s work in the City and County Hospital, St. Paul (Dr. Arthur B. Ancker is the superintendent); additional documents on the McKelvy estate; letters from “Pim” Wilbur written to his mother from Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota; letters by Percy Baily, secretary of the Pathfinder, concerning his marriage to Margaret May McKelvy (data on the Pathfinder is also included in these letters); a letter from Jesse McKelvy to his mother regarding the Charleston, West Virginia strike of the coal miners there, small pox in Pittsburgh, and labor importations from the “old country”; letters, newspaper clippings, and other items regarding the McKelvy house, built by Henry C. Burbank, sold to James M. McKelvy by Burbank in 1874, razed in 1955 to make way for a highway. Included in the information about the house is a letter from Glanville Smith to Miss Mary McKelvy.

McKelvy, James
Jane Grey Swisshelm Papers
1 · Collection · 1856-1969

The Swisshelm collection contain letters, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Most notable are the letters. Most of the letters are copies and transcripts of the originals. These letters were written by Henry Z. Mitchell, Henry Swisshelm, and Jane Grey Swisshelm. The letters from Jane Swisshelm were written to the Mitchell family in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Jane Swisshelm’s younger sister, Elizabeth, was married to Henry Z. Mitchell. They were parents to William B. Mitchell, who would later become the St. Cloud State University resident director (1877-1901) to the Minnesota State College Board.

There are two original Swisshelm letters, written in 1867 and 1883, both to the Mitchell family.

The collection also contains journal articles and newspaper clippings, as well as a small number of images, including three portraits of Jane Swisshelm.

To see the letters online, click on each letter in the finding aid and go to link in the Scope and Content Note. The letters can be found at

Swisshelm, Jane Grey Cannon
Jerald Anderson Papers
S-1842 · Collection · 1966-1977

The Jerald Anderson Papers mostly include material relating to the Minnesota Resource Commission, which Senator Anderson was chairman of. The commission's job was to evaluate programs that were proposed to preserve, develop, and maintain the natural resources of the state. The largest portion of the papers deal with education. This was due to the fact that Senator Anderson was chairman of the Subcommittee on School Finance and spend a great deal of his legislation time working with matters of education. The rest of the collection is made up of miscellaneous correspondence, reports, and newspaper clippings on a variety of subjects.

Anderson, Jerald
5 · Collection · 1942-1945

The 19 letters were written by Sinclair Lewis to Joan McQuary between 1942 and 1945. In the fall of 1942, McQuary met Lewis as a student in his creative writing class at the University of Minnesota. When the class finished in December, Lewis moved to New York City. During his time in Minneapolis, April to December 1942, Lewis nearly completed his novel Gideon Planish.

In these letters, Lewis discussed a wide variety of topics, giving a sense of his life while living in New York City. Lewis elaborated on his search for and described his new apartment at 300 Central Park West. Despite moving to New York City, Lewis longed for his University of Minnesota pupils and Minnesota, urging Joan to visit him in New York City, possibly working for him as a secretary. Lewis often mentioned spending the coming summer in Minnesota.

While in New York City, Lewis finished his novel, Gideon Planish. It was published that spring. Lewis was aware of the reviews he received for his book, noting to McQuary that the “furious attack” by literary critic Mumford Jones “is to be answered by yet more furious letters full of literary sniffing and thumbings of the philological nose…” He also mentioned on several occasions that he was sick of writing. After completing short stories for Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan in the spring of 1943, Lewis said the only writing he wanted to do was checks and luggage labels.

Lewis, Harry Sinclair
S-50 · Collection · 1911-1973

The Sullivan papers consist of the papers of two Minnesota state representatives newspaper clippings about the activities of these men and their time in office, and political advertisements. The majority of the items date between 1911 and 1954. The collection consists of four folders: a biography, newspaper clippings, political advertisements, and obituary and memoriam.

Sullivan, John and Henry