These collections tell the story of Muhlenberg College since its inception as the Allentown Seminary in 1848. They include scrapbooks; programs; administrative records; materials relating to student, faculty, and alumni organizations; student publications, marketing materials; information relating to programs and initiatives; presidents' and professors' papers, and much more. Many finding aids are described in some detail below. If you have any questions, need assistance, or need access to the materials, please contact Susan Falciani Maldonado.
The materials in this collection were generated by Muhlenberg College and its affiliated individuals and organizations [those of students, faculty, staff, administration, and community affiliates]. The items were both collected intentionally at the time of creation or were given to the archives after the fact by alumni, College offices, retiring faculty members, members of the local community, etc. A few items were purchased intentionally.
Each series contains a variety of formats: programs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, catalogs, monographs and periodicals, memorabilia and realia, and more. For photographs, scrapbooks, and audio/visual materials, please contact the archives.
The materials in this collection were generated by Muhlenberg College and its affiliated individuals and organizations [those of students, faculty, staff, administration, and community affiliates]. They were collected by Dr. Baldrige.
See Muhlenberg history through the eyes of its students. These scrapbooks contain photographs, programs, ticket stubs, telegrams, and more ephemera that show what life was like for college students through the decades. Many scrapbooks are digitized.
Dr. John V. Shankweiler (1894-1980) was a member of Muhlenberg’s Class of 1921. “Doc” joined the faculty in 1921, and obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University, finishing in 1931. He served as chair of the biology department until 1962.
This collection contains two photograph albums, three scrapbooks, and correspondence between Shankweiler and Presidents Levering Tyson and J. Conrad Seegers.
Reverend Luther F. Schlenker (1914-1963) was a member of Muhlenberg's Class of 1935. In November 1953, Muhlenberg’s Board of Trustees approved coeducation according to a plan by which the Ministerium would campaign to raise $1,500,000 to make the necessary changes to accommodate female students, while also paying off the College’s debt. Rev. Schlenker took a leave of absence from his pastorate and transformed his home into a fundraising office, speaking across eastern Pennsylvania to encourage Lutherans to contribute to the "Appeal for Muhlenberg College," creating a collegiate experience for their young women. Women joined the regular College for the first time in the fall of 1957.
J. Gysbert Bouma (1905-1968) was a member of Muhlenberg College's English Department faculty from 1956 until the time of his death in 1968. This collection comprises 19 letters written by J. Gysbert Bouma to David and Jean Raudenbush between 1960 and 1963; one letter written by Jean Raudenbush; and one sent to the Raudenbushes by Bouma's wife, Bertha. The collection of poetry is comprised of approximately 100 typed sheets, most seemingly dealing with themes of love and sex, many referencing "Lilischa." A few pieces take epistolary or essay form and appear to be autobiographical.
In 1948, a group of ten Muhlenberg College students formed a radio club. They began broadcasting to dormitories on campus in 1950 and by 1976 WMUH-FM was accessible to a 35 mile radius area. Community members joined students in programming in 1981 and WMUH was able to continue broadcasting during summer breaks and overnight. WMUH is now on air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Collection includes correspondence, board minutes, FCC information, DJ lists, programming schedules, publicity, membership drive information and swag, including bumper stickers, t-shirts, keychains, concert and event posters, and membership cards.
In December 1981, James Shinn (d. 2005), an alleged book thief who was on the run after having been arrested stealing books from the Oberlin College library, was spotted in Muhlenberg College's library. The authorities were alerted, Shinn fled, and he was eventually apprehended in a local motel. Shortly thereafter, a large collection of volumes, stolen from libraries across the United States, was discovered in a Bethlehem, PA storage facility. Muhlenberg's librarians, led by director Patricia Sacks, spent two years working to return the stolen materials to their respective libraries. In 1982, Shinn pled guilty and was sentenced to two ten-year sentences.
Following the issue of and in response to the federal civil rights law known as Title IX, planning for the Women’s Task Force began in 1974 when Muhlenberg’s President Morey tapped Dr. Carol Richards to be the chair. The focus of the Women’s Task Force was to undertake the task of raising awareness of and education about the changing roles of women in society, identifying potential sexual discrimination, serving as an advisory body to the Muhlenberg community, and exploring Title IX compliance across the campus.
Martin D. Fetherolf (1887-1951), a member of Muhlenberg College’s Class of 1914, was a lifelong educator who spent his career in secondary education, teaching at Allentown High School (1915-1926) before moving to Philadelphia and serving at Frankford High School as a faculty member and vice-principal until his death.
Series I contains his war memoir, written in about 1939, and a photocopy of that memoir with accompanying biographical information, compiled by Fetherolf's granddaughter. Series II contains three pocket journals from Fetherolf's time in the service from 1916-1919, as well as a few pieces of correspondence. Series III contains published books. Series IV contains miscellaneous material from Fetherolf's time in the service and while he was a student at the University of Montpellier in 1919.
During World War II, Muhlenberg College served as one of 131 colleges and universities to house a Navy V-12 Training Unit. The collections below contain photographs, correspondence, and administrative records from that period.
The collection comprises photographs, class lists, course schedules, promotional brochures, and correspondence pertaining to the implementation of the V-12 and V-5 programs, covering the period from 1942-1946.
During World War II, Muhlenberg College staff members Gordon Fister, Director of Public Relations, and John Wagner, Alumni Secretary, corresponded with Muhlenberg students and alumni who were serving in the armed forces. Fister and Wagner attempted to keep current with the addresses of those serving, in order to facilitate communication among the Muhlenberg community. They published a biweekly newsletter which was sent to the troops, and sent gifts of stationery with the image of “General Pete” Muhlenberg on the letterhead.
The collection comprises correspondence to and from 262 Muhlenberg students and alumni. Carbon copies of Gordon Fister’s and John Wagner’s replies are included in the folders along with the original letters from the servicemen. Correspondence takes the form of letters, postcards, and V-mail.
This collection consists of six oral history interviews collected from Muhlenberg alumni who served in World War II. They were collected in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New Jersey.
In 2014 through 2016, the Muhlenberg Memories Project team interviewed Muhlenberg alumni from the World War II era, including men who were part of the Muhlenberg’s Navy V-12 program. From a retired physician’s memories of being both a V-12 and pre-med student on guard duty to a gunner’s anecdotes about fighting the Germans in mid-air, these intimate interviews illustrate the idiosyncrasies of young men coming of age in the turbulent 1940s. These oral histories give us a window into the lives of active duty men as they served across the globe.
This digital project utilizes the archives above to present narratives from Muhlenberg's World War II era.