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The Northwestern Preparatory School Papers

Identifier: S008
The collection is made up of materials produced by or about Northwestern Preparatory School since 1918.

The collection reflects the life of a vibrant, growing college preparatory school established for the purpose of feeding students to the worker training colleges of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, particularly Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin. This collection reflects the joys and challenges that came with the co-existence of two student bodies that shared the same campus for 130 years of ministerial education. This collection leaves no doubt that the Lord used it as his instrument for the building up of his kingdom during the nearly century and a half of its partnership with Northwestern College and the synod at-large.

The collection consists of the following series:

Series 1: Documents concerning NPS administration and faculty

Series 2: NPS catalogs Series 3: Documents concerning NPS graduations

Series 4: NPS handbooks

Series 5: Documents concerning NPS music programs

Series 6: NPS photographs

Series 7: NPS publications

Series 8: Documents concerning NPS recruitment

Series 9: Documents concerning the NPS Rostra

Series 10: Documents concerning NPS self-studies

Series 11: Documents concerning NPS sports

Series 12: Documents concerning NPA worship

Series 13: The Sprinter


  • 1918 - 1995


Conditions Governing Use

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3 Box : 3 boxes containing 36 file folders and year books.

Biographical / Historical

An excellent history of Northwestern Preparatory School can be found in Holding the Course: Northwestern College 125 by Carleton Toppe, particularly pages 90-101, as well as the appendices. This history covers the history of NPS as the “high school department of Northwestern College” through the first fifteen years of its life as a preparatory school independent of NWC. Unfortunately, this history only covers Northwestern Prep’s history from its inception in 1865 to 1990. An older, but detailed, history of NPS can be found in Centennial Story: Northwestern College 1865-1965 by E.E. Kowalke. The story of NPS is interwoven with the history of NWC, since at the time of its writing, the prep school was still the high school department. This history offers much more detail on the earliest years of the college and its high school department. Little, if anything at this time, has been written on the final five years of Northwestern Preparatory School. During this time, NPS enjoyed increased enrollments, athletic success and continued to develop future pastors and teachers, as it had for the 125 years before that. In August 1993, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in convention determined to close Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown, Wisconsin after 130 years of preparing young men and women for the ministry. The decision was made to amalgamate NPS with Martin Luther Preparatory School of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to form Luther Preparatory School on the former Northwestern campus in Watertown in the fall of 1995. On 17 May 1995, the final graduate of Northwestern Preparatory School walked across the stage with diploma in hand. At the end of the graduation service, the request was made to sing the school song, “Cheer for Old Northwestern”, one last time. As the final notes of the song dissipated in the gymnasium that day and tears were dried, the history of Northwestern Preparatory School drew to a close after 130 years of God’s grace.

Repository Details

Part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Archives Repository