Manchester University



Advanced Search


Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Collection


Full listing > Accession MC2006/13: Schwalm's Confidential Files – Folders 147 - 160
Accession #MC2006/13: Schwalm's Confidential Files – Folders 147 - 160
TopicSchwalm, Vernon: Correspondence Folders 147 - 160,
TitleVernon Schwalm Correspondence Folders 147 - 160
SubtitlePresident's Files
LocationLarge Box area 176
CitationVernon Schwalm Correspondence Folders 147 - 160 , MC2006/13: Schwalm's Confidential Files – Folders 147 - 160 , Archives and Church of the Brethren Collection, Funderburg Library, Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana.
Access Some materials are confidential - including Folder 151 - Researchers are responsible for determining copyright status of archived materials where this is relevant to their intended use of the materials.
ProvenanceCollection of the Archives, from the President's Attic, see original accession page from 2006 [MC2006/13]
Scope and Content

Folder Number 147

University of Chicago Alumni Association letter to Schwalm, 1969.

Biographical Sketch of V. F. Schwalm by Schwalm.

Schwalm’s Resume.

Student – Geneva Burrows – letter of thanks to Schwalm as a teacher and to Manchester as a school of instruction.

Statement written for Schwalm when receiving the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

“Oak Leaves” articles – one from 1927 about his call to be President at McPherson, the other about Schwalm’s resignation as President of Manchester College.

“Oak Leaves” article written about President Schwalm.   The author writes, “Dr. Schwalm recalls the college campus during World War II as having the unfortunate ratio of around 300 girls to 65 boys. ‘There were some girls who stayed here four years and never had a date,’ he observed.”  The author quotes Schwalm …Helping students has been the richest things in my life; all the other honors cannot compare with the fact that you get in their heartstring to help them see where their values in life lie…If I could live my life over, I’d stay in teaching rather than become involved in administrative duties…

Newton Long – 1956 letter of appreciation for Schwalm’s work at Manchester and also for the General Brotherhood Board of the Church of the Brethren.

Letter from “American Biographical Institute,” 1970 regarding Schwalm’s inclusion in the 1970-71 Edition, “Personalities of the West and Midwest.”


Folder Number 148 – Schwalm Genealogy and Schwalm Reunion Materials – needs organization.  Schwalm family history written by Schwalm.  Note:  Vernon’s father and mother joined the Church of the Brethren following their marriage but their families were not of Church of the Brethren background.

My Work as a Minister,” written for the Schwalm biography.

“Mother’s Birthday,” November 5, 1933 – Schwalm writes about the changes that occurred in his mother’s life from the time she was born (1853) through 1933.

Letter from Schwalm’s mother requesting that he does not move to “the wild west.”

Obituary for Margaret Spohn Schwalm written by her son, Vernon Schwalm.

“My Ancestral Heritage,” by Schwalm.


Folder Number 149 – In an outline of Family Correspondence Schwalm makes a cryptic list:

a.       Father and Mother (date of death of father 11-4-1922 and date of death of mother rather unreadable).

b.      Clara Bowers.

c.       Lizzie = Eby

d.      Nora (Pletcher) Agley (see File Folder 151)

e.      Gertrude Phillips.

f.        Arthur Harrison Schwalm.

g.       Harney died Aug 18. 19 (1919?).

h.      Sam (died?0 1940.

Might there be two women named Nora? - Nora  Pletcher Agley and Nora Studebaker? Many questions unanswered and only speculation is included below.

Family letters containing stories of joy, troubles, illness, faith, love and hope  (sometimes it is hard to tell who is family and who is a friend – more research is needed in this area).

Betty Schwalm is the only child of Vernon and Florence Schwalm. In a letter to H. A. Studebaker, Schwalm states that Betty (Schwalm’s daughter) married Robert Kimmel and lives in Wichita, Kansas, and that, Her husband is an electrical inspector in the Cessna air plant.  H. A. Studebaker appears to be “Herbert” Studebaker (note address and letterhead).  He closes one letter, “Your brother, Herbert.” Is he a blood brother or a brother in the faith? A letter from PAUL Studebaker, begins, Dear Brother, Sister and Betty and he mentions “Nora.”  Since correspondence from “Nora” is also included in this folder, and that Paul talks about “the folks” coming to visit, might he be a brother-in-law to Schwalm? Schwalm’s wife, Betty, was a Studebaker, and maybe Harry and Paul are brothers of hers?

Arthur Schwalm is probably Vernon’s brother.

Elmer might be a brother to Vernon and perhaps a brother to Nora Agley as well? 


Folder Number 150 – Ray Petry writes Betty Schwalm.  Included is correspondence between Ray and Vernon.  1971 letter to former student, Ray Petry), making contact, giving news, and talking about having Petry in class “back yonder.” 



File Folder 151 – CONFIDENTIAL - Correspondence with Gertrude, George, Dorothy and Don.

Vernon’s youngest sister (Gertrude?) married a minister (George?) and they have a daughter, Dorothy who is married to Don? Letters from “Nora Agley” who addresses the Schwalms as Brother and Sister.

File Folder 152 – Correspondence with Harold and Don Pletcher and a thank you note for the “egg poacher” from Peg and Phil Pletcher. 12 August 1955 Schwalm writes to Harold…I found, after I had left your place sometimes ago, that I had, by mistake, picked up a box of ipana toothpaste in your bathroom,and put it in my shaving kit.  I am sending you a new box under separate cover with my apologies.  Absent-minded professors are just not to be trusted around the house.  I am sorry for the mistake, and hope you have not suffered any inconvenience because of it…. Reference is made to seeing Harold’s mother at the Schwalm reunion so the archivist believes there is family connection between the Schwalms and the Pletchers.


File Folder 152 – Correspondence with individuals who are either “family” or who are “like family.” NOTE: More research and organization is needed within this assortment of letters. It is not known if all of these personal and intimate pieces of correspondence are blood relatives of the Schwalms or if the Archivist is accurate about her genealogical assumptions?  Included in this correspondence are letters from “Beulah.”

File Folder 153 – Vernon noted on the file folder “From various members of the Studebaker family.”  Florence Schwalm, Vernon’s wife, was a Studebaker. .” More organization is needed within this assortment of letters.

File Folder 154 – Beautiful early photograph of Vernon Schwalm and Florence Studebaker Schwalm.

File Folder 155 – Personal letters between Vernon and Florence (wife) and Betty(daughter).

November 1927 – Vernon to Florence – Dearest, - I am on the train from Elgin to Chicago…..So far I’ve not heard from you.  I’m sorto lost when I do not hear from you for a few days….

Undated – Vernon to Florence – I am sorry that you seemed a bit unhappy when I left – at least it seemed so to me.  I regret any unkindness on my part that could make you feel so.  When a woman is going thru your experience she needs to be treated with a great deal of tenderness and kindness and you deserve the best for you have been more kind and tender to everybody for about 24 ½ years that I have intimately known you.  I hope you are feeling better today.  If my selfishness and thoughtlessness has hurt you

October 17 (1942-1914)-wedding anniversary –Florence to Vernon – My very dear husband – Am thinking of you a lot this morning, for twenty eight years ago today we said the words that have meant more to my life than any other experience except those with my Heavenly Father.  I want you to know that I am glad I am your wife.  You have been most kind and considerate thru these years and I love you so very much. Thank you for everything and God give you strength to continue the good work you so much want to do…Florence also mentions Betty(daughter)  and Bob (son-in-law) and their new baby.

File Folder 155 Correspondence with granddaughter, Judy.  Judy sends sermons and quips from Dr. Harvey Throop, a minister that she enjoys, and gives loving updates about her life. Schwalm ends up corresponding with Throop and this correspondence is also included.

Folder 156Correspondence with granddaughter, Peg.

Folder 157 – Schwalm automobile/car expense 1945.

File Folder 158 – 1947 hospitalization and surgery –1954 surgery -  insurance expenses – correspondence with physicians – financial matters. Through a reference in a letter, the archivist believes that Schwalm grew roses as a hobby while at Timbercrest.  A letter from the Krider Nurseries is also included in this folder. Schwalm’s vision was seriously impaired due to a cataract and glaucoma.  In 1971 he wrote the following to his doctor – My eyes have grown steadily worse, causing almost entire black-outs and much pain in bright light…I will be 84 in a few weeks.  I would like to be done with this before I am a hundred.  Naturally I also (would) like to be able to see as long as I can.


File Folder 159a – Correspondence with Kermit Eby and the Eby family. Kermit’s wife’s name was Retha Eby.  Articles by Kermit Eby collected by Schwalm.  In 11 December 1968 letter to Scott Kelly, Schwalm explains that Kermit Eby, Sr. (the union activist) was Schwalm’s nephew, his sister’s son.  (also see “A Farewell to Uncle Sam,” by Eby).  He gives Kermit, Sr.’s educational and work background. Both Kermit Sr., and Jr. attended Manchester College.  Kermit, Sr. while Schwalm was Dean, and Kermit, Jr., while Schwalm was President.  In 1954, Kermit, Jr., was moving into an apartment near the College, and was seriously burned in an explosion while trying to light a gas heater in the building’s basement. (see 6 August 1954 letter). The folder needs organization.


File Folder 159b – Schwalm’s tribute to Theodore Eby – related to Kermit? – probably NOT, because there appears to be admiration but not intimacy. Sermon, “The Power of a Good Life.” More research is needed.


File Folder 160 – CONFIDENTIAL – Correspondence with I. Frantz . Ruby.

Date of Accession20 September 2013
Archivist Note

It appears as if Schwalm had designated these files as confidential - however, the archivist has removed this classification for most of the folders. Those that remain CONFIDENTIAL are noted in the description.

Schwalm's folders came to the Archives in 2006 when President Jo Young Switzer was moving into her office and what was to be known as "the President's Attic" was discovered. Multiple boxes of materials came to the Archives from the "attic." 2006 was my first year as Archivist and much needed to be done. Describing the contents of the boxes in detail had to be put on hold until the summer of 2013. As he got older, Schwalm's eyesight deteriorated, until he was practically blind. It is my opinon that he tried to organize these files (large lettered notes) - and that he might have tried to work with an assistant (filing cabinet organizational chart) - but that the job never go done. Kay Batdorf, administrative assistant for President Helman, remembers that they came to Helman's office, and that Helman never let anyone look at them. More work needs to be done in describing this correspondence. There is a wealth of information included here, some not previously seen, including the controversy over the merger of Mount Morris College with Manchester (while Schwalm was President of McPherson), Winger's turbulant last years as President, as well as decades of letters between Schwalm and Cordier that include behind-the-scenes accounts of the United Nations during the Congo uprising and Kennedy's plan to end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Description prepared 20 September 2013 by Jeanine M. Wine.


Manchester University • 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, Ind. 46962 • 260-982-5000