Carl Arnold Serenius was born September 27, 1902. He graduated from High School at Osceola, Nebraska. He and his younger brother, Vernon Serenius, entered college at Augustana in 1922 and earned their B. A. degrees in Education in 1926. While at Augustana, C. Arnold Serenius was very active in the Augustana Male Quartet as well as the Wennerberg Chorus and Football. Serenius married Blanche Williams, also a 1926 Augustana College graduate, in 1932. Blanche Williams was born June 20, 1905 in Moline, Illinois. She was educated in the Rock Island public schools and then attended Augustana College where she received her B. A. in Education. Blanche Serenius taught at several elementary and high schools in the greater Rock Island area.
After graduating from Augustana, C. Arnold Serenius obtained a State of Illinois High School Teacher's Certificate. He was superintendent at Lanyon Consolidated School before he entered graduate school in Iowa. Serenius earned a doctorate degree from the College of Education at the State University of Iowa (Iowa City) in August of 1931. His dissertation was titled: An Analytical and Empirical Study of Certain Techniques Employed in Vocabulary Testing. He was offered a position in the Education department at Valparaiso University that began the following September. In 1934, Serenius left Valparaiso to accept a position at Augustana College. Serenius became the Registrar and Alumni Secretary at Augustana. He was appointed as Assistant to the President in charge of Alumni and Public Relations in 1938 and he later became the Director of Alumni and Public Relations. He was assigned various other duties while employed at Augustana including professor, choir manager, and Director of the Air Cadet Program during World War II. In November of 1947, Serenius tendered his resignation from Augustana. Serenius was also involved in national and regional professional organizations relating to his work at Augustana including serving as President of the Illinois Association of Collegiate Registrars and President of the College Admission Counselors organization.
After his departure from Augustana College, Serenius held a position in human resources at the Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Company. In 1973, Serenius and his wife Blanche moved to Alexandria, Minnesota. C. Arnold Serenius passed away on May 13, 1984.
After C. Arnold Serenius's death, Blanche returned to Rock Island, Illinois. She was actively involved in several religious, civic, and political organizations. Notably, she was the Class Representative for the Augustana College Class of 1926 starting in 1985. She also was involved with the Rock Island County Historical Society, the Augustana Endowment Society, the American Scandinavian Society, the Augustana Historical Society, the Rock Island YWCA, and the Woman's Club of Rock Island. She was city chair-woman of the Republican Party for eight years and sang in the Handel Oratorio Society for 30 years.
This collection has been organized into four series: Photograph album, Scrapbook, C. Arnold Serenius professional papers, and Class of 1926 files.
The Photograph album (1922-1924) contains snapshots taken by C. Arnold Serenius in 1922-1924. The subjects of the photos are varied and include Augustana campus scenes, the construction of Augustana Seminary, football games, the tour of the Wennerberg Chorus, the Augustana Male Quartet, as well as other things. Some of the photos are labeled with names, though most are not.
The Scrapbook (1922-circa 1938), compiled by C. Arnold Serenius is chronologically arranged and includes clippings, programs, invitations, telegrams, letters and other items relating to the Augustana Male Quartet and the Augustana A Cappella Choir; activities relating to Arnold's brother Vernon Serenius including an invitation to his wedding and an article about his ordination class; Arnold's time at the State University of Iowa; and finally his work at Augustana as registrar and then assistant to the President.
The C. Arnold Serenius professional papers (1926-1965) include teaching certificates, a teaching contract, information about his dissertation, correspondence about terms of employment at Valparaiso University and Augustana College, and an annual report submitted to the President of Augustana College and Theological Seminary.
The Class of 1926 files (1951-1991) includes class correspondence, lists of class members, and several group photographs taken at reunions. Blanche Serenius became the Class Representative in 1985 after the previous representative, Herb Glynn, passed away. Much of the material in this series predates her position as Class Representative but it seems likely that she inherited the correspondence and other materials once accepting this position.
C. Arnold Serenius professional papers
Correspondence and other materials, 1926-1965
Annual report to Conrad Bergendoff, 1944
Class of 1926 files
Class lists and correspondence, 1971-1991
Photographs, 1951, 1961