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Melbert Peterson collection on J. P. Magnusson

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 84
The collection on J.P. Magnusson, 1969-1984, was compiled by Dr. Melbert Peterson who, along with the rest of the Augustana College chemistry department, called for remembrances of J.P. Magnusson in the April 1982 Augustana College Magazine and the annual Augustana Department of Chemistry alumni Christmas letter of 1981. The collection contains the letters received in response to these requests, as well as longer narratives written by Dr. Fritiof Fryxell. One of the narratives by Fryxell is about the building of the Wallberg Hall of Science, which touches on Magnusson's involvement in this endeavor. There are also several relevant letters that predate the call for information.

Dates

  • 1969-1984

Creator

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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.

Extent

0.2 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)

Overview

John P. Magnusson was born December 12, 1872 and grew up in western Minnesota. He received his B. A. from Gustavus Adolphus College (1898), M. A. from University of Minnesota (1902), and Ph. D. in Chemistry from Cornell University (1907). Before accepting a professorship from Augustana College, Magnusson taught and worked in administration at several high schools and then was an instructor at Cornell while he finished his graduate studies. In 1907, Magnusson became professor of Chemistry at Augustana College, a position he would hold until 1946. The collection on J.P. Magnusson, 1969-1984, was compiled by Dr. Melbert Peterson who, along with the rest of the Augustana College chemistry department, called for remembrances of J.P. Magnusson in the April 1982 Augustana College Magazine and the annual Augustana Department of Chemistry alumni Christmas letter of 1981. The collection contains the letters received in response to these requests, as well as longer narratives written by Dr. Fritiof Fryxell.

Historical Note

John P. Magnusson was born 12 December 1872 and grew up in western Minnesota. He received his B. A. from Gustavus Adolphus College (1898), M. A. from University of Minnesota (1902), and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cornell University (1907). Before accepting a professorship from Augustana College, Magnusson taught and worked in administration at several high schools and then was an instructor at Cornell while he finished his graduate studies. In 1907, Magnusson became professor of Chemistry at Augustana College, a position he would hold until 1946. When he took this position at Augustana, he became the third Chemistry specialist in the history of the school, following Jacob Westlund (1888-1889) and V. O. Peterson (1890-1906). While the Science Department had assistant instructors for the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, geology and other natural and physical sciences, each major area had only one professor. This would remain true for Magnusson's tenure.

Magnusson, along with the other science professors and assistants, worked out of Ericson Hall, a brick house that had been converted to lab space. This was inadequate space for this purpose, but was used until 1935. Due in large part to the poor science facilities at Augustana, the College was in danger of losing its accreditation from the North Central Association. Funds were donated by Marie Wallberg that were allocated for the erection of a new science building. A planning committee for a new science building was formed and consisted of Gustav Andreen (president of the College), an architectural consultant, a building consultant, and four science instructors, including Magnusson. Together, this committee developed a plan for Wallberg Hall of Science. The new building was completed and ready for use in 1935.

Magnusson was known as "Doc" to students and colleagues alike and was remembered as often having a pipe in hand when he lectured or led small group discussions. He was a thorough teacher who pushed his students to understand ideas rather than just memorize facts. By all accounts, he was an enthusiastic teacher with unfailing patience and a talent for inspiring others.

Magnusson married Margaret Bersell in 1910. They had three children: John, Lawrence, and Connie. All three of their children attended Augustana College and studied under their father. Magnusson died in 1946 after a brief battle with an aggressive form of abdominal cancer. A J.P. Magnusson Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to Augustana chemistry majors.

Arrangement

Chronological.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Dr. Melbert Peterson, 1990.

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Hughes Dominick, 2007. Revised by Atticus Garrison, June 2016.
Title
Melbert Peterson collection on J. P. Magnusson, 1969-1984.
Status
completed
Author
Atticus Garrison
Date
June 2016
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

Contact:
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