Monday, April 20, 2009

"The poor man's Harvard"

You may be missing a research resource if you don't know what Valparaiso University was called before 1906. VU's special collections and archives hold records and pictures going back to the founding of the Valparaiso Male and Female College by Methodists in 1859, and its resurrection as a proprietary institution, the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute in 1873. The NINSBI was marketed as an affordable school, hence the promotional nickname. It became Valparaiso College in 1900, took on the current name in 1906, and became a Lutheran institution in 1925.

The archives include commencement programs from 1869, student transcripts 1919-1969 and some ledger books before that, university catalogs 1875-1918 (medical, dental, and pharmacy had their own), some 6000 pre-1925 alumni cards now in the process of being digitized, yearbooks from 1905, student newspapers (the Torch) from 1914, and more. None of these collections is complete and indexes are few; if you think maybe your research target attended school in the area somewhere, sometime, this is not the place to start a fishing expedition. The institution included a high school and a preparatory school, whose records are included. Also a century ago it seems to have been attracting a surprising variety of students from overseas, including Korea and Russia.

(Hat tip to special collections librarian Judith Kimbrell Miller's presentation to the La Porte County Genealogical Society.)

No comments: