Throwback Thursday: “Over There and Over Here”

During this time of year it is important to remember those we love and those we have lost. We especially feel grateful for those who have died serving our country. We all feel the impact of their sacrifice every day, even though the individual names and faces may get lost over time. Augustana College felt the impact of World War II especially hard as they lost many young men to the war. President Conrad Bergendoff (1936-1962) carried the campus through this difficult time, and through his personal papers as well as other college records we can get a glimpse into how Augustana College’s faculty and students dealt with, and felt about, the war.

Bergie Letter MSS 5 Box 20 Folder 6.jpg

President Bergendoff’s letter to Augustana men in the service (MSS 5 Conrad Bergendoff papers, Box 20, Folder 6)

It was expected at this time that all eligible young men and women would do their part to help the war effort, and there was also a lot expected of private institutions like Augustana College. A bulletin was issued in 1942, advising students and faculty at major higher education institutions of this need for all to give every resource they had to the cause, including academic buildings, living space, and recruits (students). President Bergendoff was very aware of this issue, and from his papers we can see how he planned to be a key player in the war effort (MSS 5 Conrad Bergendoff papers, box 20). He couldn’t offer enlisted men and women any space in our residence buildings because of capacity issues, but he did offer them time in our academic buildings for a learning space. Of course there was nothing President Bergendoff could do to prevent his students from being drafted, but he gave them every learning opportunity available to prepare the young men and women for what was to come during the war, through class instruction and physical education programs.


President Bergendoff letter (1944 Rockety-I )

It was when the draft age was lowered to 18 that the college had to adjust its programs to fit the new needs of its students. “Augustana proposes to bend every effort to give its youth the best it has, to prepare them for perilous days of war and demanding days of peace” (“Augustana in War Time” 1943, Augustana College: World War II vertical file). This statement captures the college’s plan to adopt a new curriculum that could be completed quickly, and in the evenings, while drafted students worked for the armed forces. Augustana believed its students needed to  be just as ready for peace as they needed to be for the war, which is why they made the extra effort to make sure they were prepared.

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Augustana’s servicemen, 1944 Rockety-I

Two issues of the Augustana Observer in November 1939 included an “Over There and Over Here” section where students and faculty were asked what they would, or should, do if the United States joined the war. The students were asked in one issue if they would volunteer to go if drafted, and the consensus among the students was that they did not want to fight but would rather work for peace (November 2, 1939 Augustana Observer). Faculty members were then asked if they would advise students to volunteer, and the consensus was the same. Even though most of the faculty members that were asked were veterans themselves, they still wished that there would be a peaceful means to ending the war before the United States needed to enter it (November 9, 1939 Augustana Observer). Both groups held to their Christian convictions that it was not right to go to war, and that this was not their war to fight. Students also held the belief that it was more courageous to resist the draft that to fight (November 2, 1939 Augustana Observer). We can see this trend develop in later issues of the Augustana Observer, and the need felt by the student body to focus on peace rather than worry about an impending war. For example, during the Homecoming celebrations of 1941, the hope was that students would focus on the joy of the occasion rather than the threat of war (October 2, 1941 Augustana Observer).

Of course we now know that the United States did enter the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; and we know that we lost many young men overseas. The young men and women that were preparing for a war faced many years of a brutal and world-changing war. Following the end of WWII in 1945, while the Augustana campus grieved for the Augie boys who did not come home, Augustana College opened its doors to veterans and offered them an education through the help of the GI Bill and President Bergendoff. One little-known aftereffect of the war was the christening of the S.S. Augustana Victory. The S.S. Augustana Victory was one of hundreds of cargo ships named after American colleges and universities created after the war in memory of those who fought. When Augustana College was chosen as one of the schools to be honored in this way, Augustana alumni came together and donated a library for the boat in honor of the Augustana students that fought, and died, in the war. The ship sailed for many years (and possibly in the Vietnam War), but it is now believed to be sunk somewhere near Puerto Rico (“Anchors Aweigh,” Connie Ghinazzi, Reflecting on the Past).

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Image C-F377 S.S. Augustana Victory. Augustana College Photograph Collection.

For more information about Augustana College during World War II, stop by Special Collections and request MSS 5 to read President Conrad Bergendoff’s papers during that time, or ask for MSS 99 Collection on World War II to see more about the war at large. You can also see the Augustana College: World War II Vertical Files for more information about how our college was affected by the war. For more information about the S.S. Augustana Victory, you can read Connie Ghinazzi’s article, “Anchors Aweigh: The S.S. Augustana Victory” ( You can also use the online Augustana Observer and Rockety-I Database for more information about student and faculty opinions and activity during this time.

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Research help available

research-desk-hoursDid you know you can make one-on-one appointments with research librarians?

This is a great resource for anyone looking to develop or refine their research methods!

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Lunch & Learn Augustana Digital Commons


On Tuesday, November 29, come to a Lunch & Learn about Augustana Digital Commons. Find out how publication of your best work can make a HUGE difference as you apply to grad school or a great internship.Seniors Chris Saladin and Dan Herrera join Connie Ghinazzi to share their experiences. 

Sponsored by CORE, this free Lunch & Learn is from 11-12 and takes place in Olin 105. Come with your questions, leave ready to publish!

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Thanksgiving Hours

In celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, the library will be operating under reduced hours.

  • Wednesday, November 23rd: Open 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Brew closes at 4)
  • Closed Thursday, November 24th – Saturday, November 26th
  • Sunday, November 27th: Open 6 p.m. – Midnight (Brew opens at 4)

Regular hours will resume on Monday, November 28th, at 7:30 a.m.

-Christine Aden

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Throwback Thursday: “Augie Wants Football!”


Taken from Rockety-I 1915 (page 85)

Welcome to the tradition of American Football! If you grew up in a household like mine, your fall revolved around the NFL game schedule. It’s hard to imagine a time without football, but this could have been a very real reality for Augustana College today. For a large chunk of Augustana’s history, football, as well as other competitive collegiate sports, were banned from campus. It goes without saying that student activism has been a staple at Augustana College for a very long time, a staple that we can trace back to the protests of the early days at Augustana, where the battle cry was “Augie Wants Football!” and the students came together to uphold the football tradition for years to come (Sarah Horowitz, “Augie Wants Football!” Reflecting on the Past, 64-65).


Image C-L375, Students Protest Football Ban, 1914. Augustana College Photograph Collection.

In 1905, the Augustana Synod (the church body that governed Augustana College and Theological Seminary) decided that intercollegiate athletics (such as football, basketball, and baseball) were “harmful to the physical and moral development of young people” (Horowitz 64). However, physical activity was still seen as essential to the education and well-being of students, and students were encouraged to participate in outdoor activities through intramural sports or class instruction. As the student body waited and hoped for the return of intercollegiate football, the young men from each class (first years through seniors) gathered into teams and competed against each other, each demonstrating that they had football ability (Rockety-I 1915 page 168). The longer the ban was in place, students grew increasingly frustrated at the apparent hypocrisy of allowing intramural (but not intercollegiate) sports on campus.


Image C-D 117, First Football Team, 1893. Augustana College Photograph Collection.

Students soon began to try to get the ban overthrown. In addition to continuing intramural sports, the students participated in (sometimes violent) group protests. Yearly petitions were sent to the Synod to get football reinstated, but they were always rejected. In 1908, the Synod did relinquish slightly by reinstating all other men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports (except football) on campus, but for football enthusiasts, this wasn’t enough. “We cannot but feel in our endeavors, that football is essentially a college sport and should have a place in our college life. No athletic lover would ever protest football” (Rockety-I 1915 page 168).

Intramural teams (Sophomores vs. Academy) compete in a football game (Rockety-I 1915)

The student body believed that playing football on campus only brought students closer together and built school loyalty and pride unlike anything else could (Rockety-I 1917 page 218). This argument is repeated throughout protest literature from this time: students claimed that without the practice of competitive sports there was “no real college spirit,” which was a disservice to students who were deprived the opportunity to feel this loyalty to their alma mater (Moline Dispatch, March 13, 1909, Augustana College Football Prostests/Ban vertical file). A new era for Augustana began in the fall of 1918 as intercollegiate football was played for the first time since the ban by the Synod in 1905. Football was officially reinstated on campus in June 1917 for the 1918-19 school year, because the Synod discovered that the merits of playing football overcame the risks. The student body was thrilled and believed it to be the first step towards “the realization of a greater Augustana” (Augustana Observer March 1, 1918).


Image C-F2117, Football Game with Old Main in the background, circa 1970. Augustana College Photograph Collection.

Students could thank the loyal Augustana alumni who joined their protests for the reinstatement; without the alumni’s many positive reports of how football  and other sports had benefited their lives, the Synod may not have taken the petitions seriously and would not have felt obliged to lift the ban. One important petition, written by Felix Hanson, class of 1900, was included in the 1914 yearbook. He writes in favor of football and the many merits the sport has to offer, including physical and mental benefits like “skill and judgment” (Rockety-I 1915 page 104). He and many others talk about how this sport offers merits that cannot be learned like they can through active competition. The courage and loyalty students learn through this medium make them better people, which addressed the Synod’s original argument. In 2016, almost 100 years after football was reinstated as an intercollegiate sport at Augustana College, football is still a strong tradition on campus. Our Augustana Vikings attract many students that wish to compete in Division III intercollegiate sports.


Image C-F6472, 1986 Division III National Football Championship game. Augustana College Photograph Collection.

For further information about the tradition of football at Augustana College, stop by Special Collections and request to see our vertical files on Augustana football. You can also use the Rockety-I and Augustana Observer database to access online articles about Augustana football past and present, and the journey our campus underwent to reinstate intercollegiate sports on campus.

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Binge On Books Over Break

Looking for a good book to read over break! We’ve got some ideas. Read our recommendations below, then look in the Leisure Reading section on 2nd floor to see if there is anything else that appeals to you.

the-nixThe Nix, by Nathan Hill (recommended by Anne Earel,  Leisure Reading Collection)

 This novel is a commitment. That said, moving through its 600+ pages has never felt like a slog; author Hill deftly moves among first-person accounts from his protagonists and moves back and forth in time as well, sharing backstory and providing context for the novel’s “present-day” of 2011.  The stories of the individuals he’s created are fascinating enough – the relationship between a young English professor and the mother who abandoned him; the mother’s development of her own sense of self, before and after she became a mother; a gamer caught in a psychological downward spiral – but all the while, Hill deftly uses his characters to explore and comment on some of the confusing, complicated issues that underscore our lives: addiction, loneliness, injustice, and others.

 wicked-boyThe Wicked Boy, by Kate Summerscale (recommended by Stefanie Bluemle, Leisure Reading Collection)

I’ll admit it. I haven’t read this one. But on a recent vacation I happened to pick up one of Summerscale’s earlier books, and I couldn’t put it back down. That book was called The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher; it’s the true story of a child’s murder, and the detective assigned to solve it, that fascinated England in the 1860s and inspired many of the tropes we now associate with detective novels. Well-paced and novelistic in its narration, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher will appeal to anyone who likes a good mystery. The Wicked Boy, from what I hear, deals with another murder in Victorian England, this time of a woman whose young son confessed and was sent to an asylum. If this new book is anything like the one I’ve already read, it will be another page-turner that enlightens at the same time.

thrice-catThrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, by Alan Bradley (recommended by Connie Ghinazzi, Leisure Reading Collection)

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’dis the eighth book by Alan Bradley in his Flavia de Luce series. You don’t have to read the previous books to be able to thoroughly enjoy this spitfire of a 12 year old. Tormented by two older sisters and left largely to her own devices by her father, motherless Flavia tries to blow things up in her chemistry lab and solves mysteries and murders across the countryside. When you want something fun and lighthearted to read, choose Flavia. If you fall in love with Flavia’s antics and adventures, the other books in this series can easily be requested through I-Share.

bossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey (recommended by Connie Ghinazzi, Leisure Reading Collection)

Bossypants by Tina Fey. Tiny Fey has been a long time favorite of mine since I first saw her on Saturday Night Live and Thirty Rock. Her autobiography helps us see the talent and humor of this wonderful writer and comedienne. Bossypants will entertain and inspire you as you see how this self-proclaimed nerd became one of the most recognized comedy talents of her generation.


one-more-thingOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B. J. Novak (recommended by Christine Aden, Leisure Collection)

By turn amusing, perplexing, and thought-provoking, this collection of short stories is perfect for someone who wants to be able to fit in some leisure reading in just a few moments at a time. Whether telling us why wearing a red shirt could help your love life or why a boy who wins a prize on a box of Frosted Flakes might not want to claim it, the author (and acclaimed actor) keeps you entertained.


 portable-veblenThe Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie (recommended by Amanda Makula, available via I-Share)

A hypochondriac mother. An evil pharmaceutical empire. A mischievous (talking) squirrel. If you’re not already intrigued, there’s also “The Pneumatic Turbo Skull Punch,” quirky pictures that accompany the text, and a title identical to a 1948 compilation of the writings of Thorstein Veblen, an economist and outspoken social critic who first coined the term “conspicuous consumption.” (Note to the enterprising reader: we own that 1948 compilation in Tredway library; see HB171. V4 1948 on 3rd floor.) This book is weird, sweet, and a lot of fun. Enjoy!




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Goodbye, Amanda. We will miss you.


Today is Research Librarian Amanda Makula last day here at Augustana, leaving us for sunny University of San Diego to become their Digital Initiatives Librarian. Amanda came to Augustana immediately on completing library school in 2004.  She has been a treasured partner to the Language and Literature division, maintained our library website, and was instrumental in  the launch of Augustana Digital Commons   in 2015. We will all  greatly miss Amanda.

If you see her today, join us in wishing her the very best in her new adventure.

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