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The Northwestern Lutheran Academy Papers

Identifier: S009
The collection is made up of materials produced by or about Northwestern Lutheran Academy since 1927. This collection also includes the Reinhold A. Fenske papers from 1912-1985. The collection reflects the life of a small, Lutheran academy established on the prairies of South Dakota to offer a Christian education to the young adults of the outlying districts of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). This collection reflects the synod’s challenges of maintaining a school of this kind in such a remote area of the United States, but it also reflects the joys and blessings that resulted from the ministerial education carried out at this school. This collection finally reflects the grace of God showered on the Dakota-Montana District of the WELS and on the synod at-large as young men and women were trained either to be faithful laypeople in the Lutheran church or to go on to study for the pastoral or teaching ministry at the worker-training colleges of the Wisconsin Synod. The collection consists of the following series:

Series 1: Documents regarding the NLA Board of Control

Series 2: Documents regarding the NLA campus

Series 3: NLA catalogs

Series 4: Documents regarding the NLA faculty

Series 5: The Reinhold A. Fenske papers

Series 6: Documents regarding NLA finances

Series 7: Documents regarding NLA history

Series 8: Documents regarding NLA music

Series 9: NLA news clippings

Series 10: NLA photographs

Series 11: Documents regarding NLA recruitment

Series 12: Documents regarding NLA student life

Series 13: Documents regarding NLA worship

Series 14: The Wildcat


  • 1912 - 1993


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3 Box : 3 boxes containing 68 file folders and yearbooks.

Biographical / Historical

Since the closing of Northwestern Lutheran Academy in the summer of 1979, a number of authors have written on the brief half century of NLA. Five Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary seniors have written on some aspect of NLA’s history: In 1984, Mark Wilde, a former NLA professor’s son, wrote The Closing of Northwestern Lutheran Academy. A copy of this paper can be found in this collection. In 1986, John Schroeder wrote A History of Northwestern Lutheran Academy. In 1993, Mark Schewe, another former NLA professor’s son, wrote The Beginnings of Northwestern Lutheran Academy: Founding a School on the Lone Prairie. In 2000, Chad Wright wrote Pastor and Professor Wayne TenBroek: A Faithful Servant, regarding the life of the professor who graduated from NLA in 1935 and served at NLA from 1954-1979. In 2004, Peter Korthals wrote a thesis regarding the life of former NLA president and professor, Pastor Daniel Malchow, who served NLA from 1968-1979. These essays can be found at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Library, Mequon, Wisconsin. The most comprehensive history of Northwestern Lutheran Academy was published in 1992. Hans and Charlotte Johannsen, 1954 graduates of NLA, compiled and wrote the history entitled Like a Tree Planted by the River of Waters: Northwestern Lutheran Academy, Mobridge, South Dakota 1928-1979, for the 1992 All-School Reunion. Professor Emeritus Wayne TenBroek served as editor. This history includes a variety of pictures, memories and historical information that is both fascinating and informative. As mentioned above, this is the most complete and comprehensive history of NLA ever produced. Copies of this history can be found in this collection. The only other history of this kind was authorized to be published in English and German by the Wisconsin Synod in 1939 as a means to inform the synod at-large about the little synodical school on the prairies of South Dakota. NLA President R.A. Fenske and Pastors W.T. Meier, Edgar Gamm and G.J. Schlegel, who served at one time on the Board of Control, wrote this history for the synod. Drafts and notes from the creation of this history can be found in this collection. For access to most of the above-mentioned historical works on Northwestern Lutheran Academy, please see Series 7, Folders 45-48 of the Northwestern Lutheran Academy Papers, WELS Archives, Mequon, Wisconsin.

Repository Details

Part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Archives Repository