Mary Lou Schaechter collection on Betsey Brodahl

1979-2012 and undated

MSS 365
2.5 linear inches (1 box)

Name of Creator(s):

Schaechter, Mary Lou.
Brodahl, Betsey.




There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Audiocassette inaccessible pending reformatting.

Access points: Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.). Faculty.
Brodahl, Betsey.
Finding aid prepared by:

Samantha Crisp, July 2014.

Preferred citation:

[identification of item], in MSS 365 Mary Lou Schaechter collection on Betsey Brodahl, Special Collections, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Custodial History
Historical Note
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Related Materials
Container List


Donated by Charles R. Schaechter in October and November 2012.



Betsey Brodahl graduated from Augustana College in 1944. She returned to the school for a one-year appointment to teach history in 1947, but after being appointed Dean of Women that same year, she decided to remain at Augustana until her retirement in 1987. Mary Lou Schaechter was Brodahl's secretary, and the two women kept in close touch after they both retired.

Throughout her time at Augustana, Brodahl was actively involved with the Quad-City Symphony, the Augustana Historical Society, the American Scandinavian Association at Augustana, the American Association of University Women, and other groups. In May 1976, the King of Sweden honored Brodahl with the Vasa Medal of Gold for her participation in the activities of organizations dedicated to the development of international relationships. Brodahl was a near-fifty-year resident of the historic "House on the Hill," and took an active interest in the home's preservation throughout her life. A 2003 stroke forced her to move back to her hometown of Wahoo, Nebraska. She remained there until her death in 2012.

In 1997, President Thomas Tredway dedicated a new building in Brodahl’s honor: the Betsey Brodahl Student Services Building. Its original purpose was to house The Office of Student Activities, The Office of Residential Life, and The Office of Supportive Services. In 2007, the building became the center for the Communicative Speech Disorders department.



The Mary Lou Schaechter collection on Betsey Brodahl consists of five folders of material.

Correspondence, 1984-2011 and undated, traces the friendship of Schaechter and Brodahl in the years immediately preceeding and decades following their retirement. They wrote to each other frequently about daily life, family matters, and travel. Schaechter was an avid genealogist and writer and wrote to Brodahl frequently about the family trees she compiled and the anecdotes she published. Brodahl's handwriting becomes noticeably harder to read and the lines of her letters extremely crooked following a 2003 stroke in which she lost the use of one hand. Following Brodahl's stroke, the two women frequently commiserated about their declining health in their letters (Schaechter had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in the early 2000s), although they both kept a lighthearted and positive attitude about their illnesses. Many of the original letters in the collection have photocopies housed in a separate folder.

Clippings and ephemera, 1979-2012 and undated, includes newspaper clippings, programs, brochures, and other items related to Brodahl's life that were compiled by Schaechter and her husband, Charles. Among these items are applications and forms filled out by Brodahl for inclusion in various honorary publications, including Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century; genealogical material compiled by Schaechter at Brodahl's request; and extensive material on Brodahl's death and various memorial services.

Photographs, circa 1990s and 1998, include photographs taken at a party at House on the Hill in 1998 and several unidentified snapshots, circa 1990s, of a statue, a harbor, and possibly Mary Lou Schaechter.

Also included is an audio recording of "A Brodahl Sampler," 7 November 2012. This event was organized in memory of Betsey Brodahl and featured introductory remarks by professor Ann Boaden, a house tour led by Kai Swanson, and poetry by Richard "Dick" Stahl.





MSS 72 Betsey Brodahl papers




Mary Lou Schaechter collection on Betsey Brodahl, 1979-2012 and undated

Correspondence, 1984-2011 and undated
Photocopies of correspondence, 1984-2005
Clippings and ephemera, 1979-2012 and undated
Photographs, circa 1990s and 1998
"A Brodahl Sampler" audiocassette, 2012



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