Ira O. Nothstein papers
Scope and Contents
The Ira O. Nothstein papers, 1917-1962 and undated (bulk 1943-1956) contains an unpublished handwritten and typed manuscript for Sylvia of the Birches, two photographs of Nothstein, and correspondence he compiled while working as a librarian and archivist at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois (1918-1959). Series I. Sylvia of the Birches by Ira O. Nothstein, n.d. This series contains two copies of the manuscript, one handwritten and one typed. Both of the manuscripts include illustrations in the form of postcards, and many have handwritten captions. Also in the series is a handwritten commentary from Dr. Conrad Bergendoff, composed in October 1979. Series II. Correspondence, 1943-1956 This series contains Ira O. Nothstein’s professional and personal correspondence from 1943-1956. The subject matter of these letters include the Augustana Synod, various anniversary celebrations, Nothstein’s membership in numerous associations, Nothstein’s publications on Lutheran and Swedish immigration history, and personal matters. There are also many research inquiries that Nothstein received as a librarian and archivist of Augustana College. These letters were originally bound chronologically by Nothstein into a book labeled “Memories 1943-1956.” Also included is a photocopy of a letter from Nothstein to Dr. Andreen from 1919. Series III. Ira O. Nothstein’s Publications, 1917-1956 This series contains several copies of Nothstein’s publications, as well as lists of his publications. Series IV. Photographs of Ira O. Nothstein, n.d. This series contains two photographs of Ira O. Nothstein at different ages. One of the photographs is autographed by Nothstein. Series V. Materials Relating to Ira O. Nothstein, 1962 This series contains materials concerning Nothstein’s death and memorial service in May 1962.
- 1917-1962 and undated
- Majority of material found within ( 1943-1956)
- Nothstein, Ira Oliver, 1874-1962 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.
Ira O. Nothstein was born 16 January 1874 in Lehighton, Pennsylvania to Lloyd and Ema Nothstein. He attended Muhlenberg College and graduated in 1897. He was ordained 8 June 1900 by the Augustana Lutheran Church in Philadelphia after graduating from Mount Airy Lutheran Theological Seminary. Later, in 1928, Nothstein was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Muhlenberg College. On 13 November 1900 he married Minne Louisa Kuhns in Allentown, Pennsylvania. They would eventually have five children together. Nothstein served as pastor to several churches in St. Paul and St. Peter, Minnesota and in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania. In 1907, Nothstein became the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois.
Nothstein was hired as the head librarian at Augustana College in 1918. He also occasionally took substitute teaching positions in subjects such as church history and pastoral theory. For several years, he worked both as a librarian and an archivist. He resigned from his post as a librarian in 1940 to become the college’s first official archivist. Nothstein worked in the archives until he retired in 1959. That same year, he received a gold key for being a faculty member at Augustana for over 40 years. Nothstein was the first librarian at Augustana to take an interest in archival materials. Donations to and purchases for the library during his tenure included several impressive collections.
Nothstein’s expertise was frequently sought by researchers all over the United States, especially those interested in Swedish or Lutheran topics. Nothstein himself authored many books on subjects such as the history of the Augustana Synod and Swedish Lutheran settlers in the United States. Nothstein translated several manuscripts and contributed regularly to a few religious publications. He founded the Augustana Synod annual, “My Church” in 1915, and was the head editor from 1915-1929. He also wrote a children’s book called Sylvia of the Birches: A Tale of the Forties, which was about a young Swedish Lutheran immigrant. His manuscript was never published. Nothstein was an active member of many groups in the Rock Island community, including the Rock Island Historical Society and the Augustana Historical Society, which he played an important role in organizing. Due to his deep interest in local history, Nothstein was commissioned to write A History of the Rock Island Arsenal in 1936 by Colonel A. G. Gillsepie, then commander of the Arsenal.
Nothstein participated in many religious and academic groups in the United States, including the Lutheran Library Association, Sons of the American Revolution, the International Mark Twain Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he was heavily involved in centennial celebrations for the Swedish Pioneers in America and the Augustana Synod.
Nothstein died 1 May 1962 after several years of failing health. He outlived his wife, who had died in 1953, and was survived by a son, three daughters, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
0.6 Cubic Feet (/ 2 boxes)
Language of Materials
Ira O. Nothstein served as the head librarian and archivist for Augustana College from 1918 to 1959. He was ordained by the Augustana Lutheran Church in Philadelphia after graduating from Mount Airy Lutheran Theological Seminary. Later, in 1928, Nothstein was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Muhlenberg College. He also wrote a children's book entitled Sylvia of the Birches. The Ira O. Nothstein papers, 1917-1962 and undated (bulk 1943-1956) contains an unpublished handwritten and typed manuscript for Sylvia of the Birches, two photographs of Nothstein, and correspondence he compiled while working as a librarian and archivist at Augustana College.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Manuscript received from Ruth Nothstein, November 1979. Immediate source of acquisition of remaining materials unknown.
Processed by Rebecca Hopman, 2009. Revised by Atticus Garrison, June 2016.
- Ira O. Nothstein papers, 1917-1962 and undated (bulk 1943-1956).
- Atticus Garrison
- June 2016
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository
639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States