Guide to the Kenneth E. Olson (1895-1967) Papers

Collection Title: Kenneth E. Olson (1895-1967) Papers
Dates: 1937-1967
Identification: 16/12
Creator: Olson, Kenneth E. (Kenneth Eugene), 1895-1967
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Kenneth E. Olson Papers fill one box and span the years 1937 to 1967. The records provide an overview of Olson's career during his tenure as Dean and Dean Emeritus of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Materials include biographical files, clippings, articles, and Olson's faculty file.
Acquisition Information: The Kenneth E. Olson Papers are comprised of materials from the Northwestern University Archives faculty biographical files (Accession # 89-30) and Accession # 79-112, transferred from the Medill School of Journalism on April 26, 1979.
Processing Information: Cynthia Dieden; April 2002.
Separated Materials: One inch of duplicate and extraneous materials was discarded.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Kenneth Eugene Olson was born on August 21, 1895 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, son of a Protestant minister. He was a veteran of World War I. In 1922, he married Mildred Nussbaum, with whom he had three sons and a daughter. Olson was appointed Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1937. Under his leadership, in 1938, the school was the first to offer a five-year program leading to a Master of Science in Journalism.

In 1916, Olson received his B.A. from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. He began teaching part-time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin in 1922. Subsequently, he received another B.A. and his M.A. in Political Science from that school. Concurrently with his education and early teaching career, Olson held various positions on newspapers including the Ashland Press, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Milwaukee Journal, the Duluth Tribune; and he served as managing editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. Olson also established his own advertising agency in Madison from 1926 to 1930. From 1930 to 1935 he taught journalism at the University of Minnesota. In 1935, he was appointed the Director of Rutgers University Journalism School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he remained for two years.

Olson was appointed Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1937. Under his leadership, in 1938, the school was the first to offer a five-year program leading to a Master of Science in Journalism. The School thrived under his direction, growing in size and prestige. His influence extended beyond Northwestern University to national and international journalism communities.

Olson gained an international reputation through his travels for the government. In 1945, he traveled to England to assist in the establishment of college courses in journalism for GIs abroad. Later, he took leave from Northwestern for the winter quarter 1952-53 to travel to Greece under the auspices of the US State Department to assist journalists of that country. The State Department called on Olson again in 1959 to travel to several countries in the Far and Middle East to give seminars for journalists of those countries.

Scope and Content

The Kenneth E. Olson Papers fill one box and span the years 1937 to 1967. The records provide an overview of Olson's career during his tenure as Dean and Dean Emeritus of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Materials include biographical files, clippings, articles, and Olson's faculty file.

Biographical materials, spanning the years 1941 to 1967, include press releases and articles about Olson, faculty information forms, and the dedication of the 1959 Syllabus to Olson.

The clippings file, arranged chronologically, contains articles dating between 1937 and 1967 and documents Olson's involvement in the field of journalism, his travels and speaking engagements, including many instances where he was quoted or mentioned. A separate obituary file holds clippings that appeared on Olson's death in 1967.

The articles by Olson include editorials, a scholarly article and two presentations, published later. Other presentations are documented as are a copy of two lectures, a transcript of a speech to the Social Security Administration and a copy of a presentation to the Northwestern University Associates and Trustees. Nine transcripts of The Reviewing Stand,” dating from 1943 to 1951, document Olson's appearances on this radio show presented by Northwestern University. Both the University and the publisher wrote press releases forThe History Makers: The Press of Europe from Its Beginnings Through 1965 in 1966. In addition, two articles and two documents regarding Olson's research during the 1951-52 academic year are included in this folder.

Olson's faculty file, organized chronologically, spans the years 1937 to 1967. The file contains copies of his employment contract for 1937 and 1947 and a copy of Olson's request for leave in 1959. Most correspondence in this file dates from 1957 to 1966 and consists of copies of letters and memos from I. W. Cole, Olson's successor as Dean, to Olson and to others regarding Olson. These are mostly administrative in nature. It also contains some correspondence from Olson. Information regarding his will after his death in 1967 is included as well.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Medill School of Journalism--Administration

Personal Name

Olson, Kenneth E. (Kenneth Eugene), 1895-1967

Subjects

Journalism--Study and teaching (Higher)--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Materials, 1941-1967Box 1, Folder 1
  • Clippings, 1937-1963, n.d.Box 1, Folder 2
  • Obituaries, 1967Box 1, Folder 3
  • Resignation as Dean of Medill School of Journalism, 1956Box 1, Folder 4
  • Retirement from Northwestern University, 1963Box 1, Folder 5
  • “Reviewing Stand” transcripts, 1943-1951Box 1, Folder 6
  • Articles, 1941-1964, n.d.Box 1, Folder 7
  • "The History Makers", 1950-1966Box 1, Folder 8
  • Presentations, 1949-1964, n.d.Box 1, Folder 9
  • Faculty File, 1937-1967Box 1, Folder 10