Highbrow to Lowbrow: The Upper Mississippi River Valley through John Henry Hauberg’s Book Collection in Special Collections

Hauberg in library-Recovered flat smallJohn Henry Hauberg was an amateur historian, photographer, progressive-era activist, member of civic and cultural societies, and a book collector. What can a person’s book collection tell us about him? Like all good collectors, Hauberg had specific areas of interest. He was especially drawn to books which dealt in some way with the Upper Mississippi River Valley, including its history, exploration, and geography, among other topics.  When Hauberg died in 1955, many of his papers and books were given to Augustana College. This includes over 300 book titles, over 100 linear feet of manuscript materials, and approximately 60,000 images in different formats. Today, Hauberg’s books form the backbone of Special Collections’s materials on local and regional history.

Hauberg’s interest in collecting books on the Upper Mississippi River Valley stemmed at least partly from his deep interest in local history.  In addition to his published writings, there are many historical manuscripts found only in unpublished versions in his personal papers. He often illustrated his articles with photographs he had taken himself. Hauberg, an accomplished lecturer, spoke to audiences about his travels, his historical research, Native Americans, progressive-era causes, and other topics, all often illustrated with slide shows put together from his own photographs.

Hauberg also used his book collection as a working library.  While he had a number of historically important titles, many of which would have been expensive to purchase, others are small local publications; works of all kinds include Hauberg’s notes on the text.  “Highbrow to Lowbrow: The Upper Mississippi River Valley through John Henry Hauberg’s Book Collection” reflects the wide range of Hauberg’s book collecting interests through books from his collection and documentation about his collecting from his personal papers.

The exhibit will be on display in Special Collections throughout spring term. Stop in any time during our open hours to take a look.

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