Guide to the Stirewalt Family Papers, 1830s-1993
The Stirewalt Family Papers, 1828-1993 (bulk 1850-1947), are comprised of the personal papers of individuals from four successive generations of the Stirewalt family. The correspondence, writings, diaries, legal/financial documents, photographs, and other miscellaneous papers found in this collection document the Stirewalt Family's personal lives and involvement in the Lutheran Church as ministers, educators and missionaries. The collection is divided into four primary series which reflect the individuals whose papers make up this collection: Jacob Stirewalt, Jerome Paul Stirewalt, Martin Luther Stirewalt, and Catherine A. Stirewalt. The arrangement of the collection is primarily chronological, following the lineage of the Stirewalt family. Subsections within each major series are determined by the type of materials found within the collection and are arranged either chronologically, as in the case of the Diaries and Correspondence Subseries, or alphabetically and thereunder chronologically, as in the case of the Writings Subseries.
The Stirewalt family is descended from Jacob Stirewalt, a minister and member of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Jacob Stirewalt was primarily active in and around New Market, Va. and Rowan and Shenandoah counties in Virginia. The Subseries related to Jacob Stirewalt includes Correspondence from 1828-1858, Writings (primarily sermons and sermon outlines in German and English) from the 1830s to the 1860s, and Diaries, which includes a Memorandum book where he recorded financial transactions and other records of his career as a minister from 1834 to his death in 1869.
Jerome Paul Stirewalt, the son of Jacob Stirewalt, was also a minister and a leader of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He served as a minister in several pastorates in Virginia and North Carolina and several terms as president, secretary, and treasurer of the Tennessee Synod in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His papers are primarily composed of Correspondence, 1870-1933, with other ministers, relating to the business of the Tennessee Synod, and with family members. The collection also includes Jerome Paul Stirewalt's Writings, primarily sermons and sermon outlines, and other miscellaneous financial and legal papers. The Diaries Subseries is primarily memorandum books which list the date and location of religious services performed and the topic or title of sermons delivered by J.P. Stirewalt. These books serve to provide a record of Stirewalt's work as a Lutheran minister.
Martin Luther Stirewalt, the son of Jerome Paul Stirewalt, was also a Lutheran minister and educator at Lutheran schools and colleges in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Chicago, Ill. This series includes correspondence, diaries, writings and clippings which provide a picture of Stirewalt's theological education, activities as a minister and educator, and insights into his personal life and familial relationships.
The papers of Catherine A Stirewalt, Martin Luther Stirewalt's daughter, are primarily correspondence written while she was a Lutheran Missionary in China from 1939-1949. This correspondence provides documentation of the Lutheran Church's activities in China prior to and after World War II. Catherine Stirewalt's letters provide a great deal of detail about the daily lives of missionaries in China and some information about the lives of the Chinese people working as instructors or attending the mission school. There is no correspondence from the period of the first two years of World War II when she was interned in the Weihsien concentration camp near Tsingtao, China. Other miscellaneous clippings, photographs, and writings in this series provide further documentation of her experiences in China.
- Collection Number
- Stirewalt Family papers
- 6 Linear Feet, 2750 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Stirewalt Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The papers of Jacob Stirewalt, 1828-1869,are divided into six Subseries: Correspondence, Writings, Diaries, Financial Papers, Legal Papers, and Miscellaneous Papers.
Jacob Stirewalt's correspondence is chiefly with members of his family and is arranged chronologically.
The Writings Subseries is primarily composed of sermons and sermon outlines written by Stirewalt in both English and German. This subseries also includes the bound handwritten manuscripts of two short unpublished religious texts authored by Stirewalt and one folder of miscellaneous writings.
33 pages, bound, handwritten manuscript. Includes several inserted leaves of notes.
99 pages, bound handwritten manuscript. Subtitled "With Remarks on the Ministerial Office and A Vindication of the Ordination of a Young Minister."
Stirewalt's sermons are primarily in English, but several of his early sermons are in German. Many of the sermons exist only as detailed outlines, which may have been used as notes to be referred to when delivering the sermon. The sermons are arranged chronologically, with undated sermons, fragments, and notes grouped at the end of the subseries.
One two-page manuscript in Stirewalt's hand titled "A Brief Admonition to Confession," and a three-page manuscript titled "A Cursory Admonition to Repentance."
The Diaries Subseries includes a Memorandum book providing financial and travel details related to Jacob Stirewalt's ministerial duties between 1834-1869and a small undated notebook containing miscellaneous personal and religious writing and inspirational clippings from the1850s-1860s.
The Financial Papers Subseries includes a Memorandum book, dated1860,which provides a partial record of Jacob Stirewalt's expenses from 1860-1864;several documents relating to financial transactions and purchases; and miscellaneous documents, fragments and notes which seem to be related to financial transactions or accountings. This subseries also includes an1864receipt for the purchase of $100 worth of Confederate Bonds.
The Miscellaneous Subseries includes assorted personal papers, notes and certificates related to Stirewalt's work as a minister, clippings on various subjects, and writing fragments that are not identified or otherwise classifiable. The subseries is ordered alphabetically by folder title.
Marriage licenses and notes recording the performance of religious services.
The Jerome Paul Stirewalt Papers,1859-1933, are divided into 4 subseries: Diaries, Correspondence, Writings, and Miscellaneous Papers.
A note on the title page of this memorandum book states that it was purchased by Jacob Stirewalt in1853.The first third of the volume provides a record of Jacob Stirewalt's ministerial activities, including the time, places, and text of the sermons, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, performed by Stirewalt and his compensation for these duties between1859and his death in1869.The memorandum book was continued by Jerome Paul Stirewalt in1872and provides a similar record of his ministerial activities from that date through1926.The book is in extremely fragile condition and a preservation photocopy is provided for use.
The first quarter of this memorandum book provides a record of Jerome Paul Stirewalt's ministerial activities at St. Matthew's Church in Mt. Olive, Va. 1881-1883and a detailed record of marriages and funerals performed by J.P Stirewalt between1917and1931.The remainder of the volume provides a record of his expenses and earnings from farming for 1922-1923.
The Correspondence Subseries, 1870-1933,is arranged chronologically to the item level. The bulk of Stirewalt's correspondence spans from 1870-1900.There is a gap in the continuity of this subseries after1902,with no letters from1903to1911and very few letters from1911to1933.The letters are primarily correspondence with other ministers concerning administrative activities of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Many of the letters seem to refer to the solicitation of funds for special projects being undertaken by the Synod and to financial compensations being provided by the Synod to member ministers. The collection also includes some personal correspondence, business correspondence not related to the activities of the Tennessee Synod, and several drafts of letters written by Stirewalt between1911and1912.Also included is a small amount of correspondence received by William J. Stirewalt.
The chronologically arranged Writings Subseries primarily consists of sermons and sermon outlines, the bulk of which appear to be outlines which Stirewalt used as references while delivering the sermons. Most of the sermons are dated and the location where each was written, primarily New Market, Va., is given. The outlines are very detailed, providing titles, and references to biblical texts cited by the sermon or used as evidence to support the theme of the sermon. Three folders of undated sermons are filed at the end of this subseries.
The Miscellaneous Subseries contains primarily materials created or compiled by Jerome Paul Stirewalt. Also included in this subseries are materials created or compiled by members of his immediate family. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by folder title. The Miscellaneous papers consist of legal and financial paper, clippings, notes, documentation referring to the activities of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, religious pamphlets not authored by Stirewalt, and notebooks that were created by members of Stirewalt's immediate family.
Jerome Paul Stirewalt was the executor for the estate of his sister. This part of the collections contains a small amount of correspondence related to the administration of the estate and receipts and financial records generated by the settlement of the estate.
A handwritten abstract book created by Quintus Stirewalt while a student at the University of Virginia. Over half of the book is pasted over with clippings of a newspaper column from an unknown source providing details of the Lutheran Church's activities in Indiana, ca.1869.
24 page pamphlet with a "Presidents Report" written by Stirewalt and providing details of the activities of the Tennessee Synod for1912.
6 pages "Sermon Sketch" notebook with 38 questions written by J.P. Stirewalt.
Subscription lists for "History of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod" (1890) and "Minutes of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod," (1892).
The Martin Luther Stirewalt Papers Series,1899-1959, consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Writings, Diaries, and Miscellaneous Documents.
The Correspondence Subseries is arranged chronologically and consists of the personal and professional correspondence received by Martin Luther Stirewalt. It includes one folder of letters received from his parents while a student at Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C. from 1899-1900;7 folders of personal and professional correspondence received between1905and1952;and one letter book presented to Martin Luther Stirewalt at Christmas in1959which includes letters of condolence he received from professional acquaintances while in the hospital during that year.
The Writings Subseries is arranged in loosely chronological order and consists of Martin Luther Stirewalt's early religious and professional writings. The subseries is composed of notebooks containing coursework and religious essays written while a student at the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, later student essays, sermons and speeches, and notes and drafts for other religious and professional writings. Many of the sermons included in this subseries appear to have been developed and compiled by Stirewalt as guides to sermon writing and were possibly used as curriculums for courses he taught.
7 handwritten and typescript manuscripts on religious and literary subjects. Possibly written in college and graduate school.
"The Curricula of Selected Lutheran Theological Seminaries in the United States," Northwestern University. 109 pages, typescript with 2 handwritten pages of charts.
Complete sermons and miscellaneous notes and outlines for sermons.
8 typescript and handwritten manuscripts of speeches and sermons delivered by Stirewalt. Included is the text of an address delivered in1935titled, "Parish Education Problems and Their Solutions;" a1934sermon titled "Man's Fundamental Need;" and the text of a1941sermon delivered to the religious organizations of Lenoir Rhyne College.
20 page handwritten draft of speech titled "Progress in Theological Education," read at Stirewalt's induction as Dean of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in1941.17 page handwritten draft of a speech titled "How Men are Called to the Ministry." Also included is a schedule of the induction ceremony.
179 loose typescript and handwritten sheets that appear to have been held together in a 6" x 9" three ring binder. The typescript and handwritten sermons and outlines of sermons in this notebook may have been used by Stirewalt as a curriculum for a class on sermon writing.
119 typescript pages in a 6" x 9" black three ring binder, primarily sermons and sermon outlines. Possibly compiled as an educational aid.
75 typescript pages in a 6" x 9" black three ring binder. Appears to be an outline and series of lecture notes for a class called "Practical Homiletics."
Typescript 6" x 9" pages with outlines of New Testament books as well as notes from other historical texts.
3 typescript copies of a 4 page policy statement with some annotations.
31 page typescript draft of Stirewalt's translation from German of the minutes of early meetings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Carolina.
5 page typescript of Stirewalt's ethical and behavioral guidelines for Lutheran Ministers.
3 typescript pages of notes made in preparation for writing a chapter for a book on the history of the Tennessee Synod.
Included in this subseries are two notebooks containing records of sermons delivered and religious services performed by Martin Luther Stirewalt from1904to1952and a desk diary from1942.The sermon records include the title, date and place delivered, and primary biblical references for each of Stirewalt's sermons.
The Miscellaneous Papers subseries includes publications, pamphlets, clippings, educational records, and legal and financial papers collected by or relating to Martin Luther Stirewalt. The folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
10 copies of the Record, an annual publication of the Chicago Lutheran Seminary. Includes information about members of the seminary and courses offered at the seminary.
Miscellaneous clippings. Includes: copies of several published versions of sermons and addresses delivered by M.L. Stirewalt; clippings of short articles about M.L Stirewalt; and a single copy of The Lutheran (April 30,1925) with a obituary of Dr. John Edwin Whittiker written by Stirewalt.
11 copies of the catalogue of the Colburn Academy, a Lutheran School in Mulberry, Indiana. The school changed its name to the Weidner Institute in1911.
Board of Trustees meeting minutes for three meetings in1941and1942.
2 versions of the organization's constitution and bylaws.
Syllabus and related materials for a series of lectures titled "Four Hunderd Years of the Augsberg Confession."
2 copies of the Seminary's catalog. Includes course descriptions, a history of the seminary and its founders, and description of the school and faculty. A short biography and photo of Martin Luther Stirewalt are on page 20.
The papers of Catherine A. Stirewalt, 1939-1993,the daughter of Martin Luther Stirewalt, are composed of correspondence, clippings, and other miscellaneous papers that primaily document her time spent in China as a missionary for the Lutheran Church.
The chronologically arranged Correspondence Subseries consists of letters written by Catherine Stirewalt to her family and friends during her time spent working and studying in China. In her letters she discusses her day to day life in China, the progress of her studies of the Chinese language, and the details of sightseeing trips made near Tsingtao, China. The letters begin in1939,just prior to her departure for China, and continue on a weekly basis through December of1941and the beginning of World War II. Her correspondence resumes after her release from a Japanese concentration camp in1943and continues through her return to China in July of1947and subsequent evacuation from China after the Communists came to power in1949.Her letters from immediately after her1943repatriation include notes written during the difficult five-week sea journey that she made on her return to the United States. The letters from her second stay in China provide a detailed picture of the difficult living conditions for the Chinese people following WWII. She discusses how inflation and scarcity of food and other supplies affected the region of China where she had been working. She also discusses the difficult living conditions of the missionaries and the problems they had performing their work. Her letters in1949discuss the political situation in China, her struggles with making a decision to stay in China, and the day to day lives of the missionaries with whom she is working. There is a gap in correspondence from May of1949until1987when the correspondence series continues with letters Miss Stirewalt received from her friends and former students in China.
The Clippings Subseries includes news clippings of articles relating to Catherine Stirewalt's missionary activities during the1930sand1940sand copies of two1985articles from the journal East Asia Millions about the Weihsien concentration camp. Also included is a photocopy of the title page and title page verso of Langdon Gilkey's 1966book Shantung Compound: The Story of Men and Women Under Pressure.
The Miscellaneous Papers Subseries includes a copy of Catherine Stirewalt's travel itinerary for her journey to China in1939;two essays by other Lutheran Missionaries in China; a postcard view of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Tsingtao China; two essays written by Stirewalt while in China; an 11 page memoir of her time spent in China, including her experiences in Weihsien concentration camp, written by Miss Stirewalt in1993;and 15 photographs of a1940cornerstone laying ceremony and of the Tsimo School Compound near Tsingtao.
Includes correspondence between M. Luther Stirewalt and his extended family, discussing his New Testament research interests and the donation of the Family Papers to Duke's Rubenstein Library Library. Also includes correspondence between Stirewalt and Eedman's Publishing, which published his book on Paul's letters in 2001.
Historical clippings and ephemera relating to the Stirewalt family and the history of the church.
Born August 17, in Rowan Cty., Va.
Married Henrietta Henkel, New Market, Va.
Licensed by the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Ordained by the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Died August 21; buried at Emmanuel Church, New Market, Va.
After his ordination, Jacob Stirewalt served pastorates in Shenandoah, Page, and Rockingham Counties in Virginia. He was an active member of the Tennessee Synod, often speaking at conventions held in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He fathered four sons, two of whom became Lutheran ministers, and six daughters.Biographical Note: Jerome Paul Stirewalt
Born, April 11, New Market, Va.
Ordained by the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Married to Tirzah A. Coffman, Shenandoah Cty., Va
D.D. Lenoir Rhyne College. Hickory, N.C.
Retired to New Market, Va.
Died; buried at New Market, Va.
Jerome Paul Stirewalt, one of Jacob Stirewalt's four sons, studied theology under pastors of the Tennessee Synod. During his career as a pastor, which spanned from 1874 to 1920, he served fourteen different churches in pastorates in Virginia. Jerome Paul Stirewalt was very active in the leadership of the Tennessee Synod, serving as secretary for six terms, and four terms each as treasurer and president. He was a frequent contributor to Lutheran and secular periodicals and contributed an article on the history of the Tennessee Synod for "The Lutherans in America," edited by E.J. Wolf.Biographical Note: Martin Luther Stirewalt
Born, July 24, New Market, Va.
A.B. Lenoir Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C.
B.D. Chicago Seminary.
Instructor, Weidner Institute, Mulberry, Indiana.
Married Caroline Dentzer, Chicago, Ill.
Ordained, Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Professor of Ancient Languages at lenoir Rhyne College.
D.D. Lenoir Rhyne College.
Professor of Practical Theology, Chicago Seminary.
Graduate Study at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Pastor of a Lutheran Church in Salsbury, N.C.
Retired to Hickory, N.C.
Associate Professor, Lenoir Rhyne College.
Member of the Board of Lenoir Rhyne College.
Died, March 10, Hickory, N.C.; Buried in New Market, Va.
Martin Luther Stirewalt, the only son of Jerome Paul Stirewalt, served as an instructor at the Weidner Institue, a Lutheran School in a suburb of Chicago, from 1906-1909. He was active in the leadership of the North Carolina Synod, serving as vice-president from 1917-1922 and from 1919-1922 was the secretary of the joint commission overseeing the merger of the Tennessee Synod with the North Carolina Synod. He also served on the board of Lenoir Rhyne College from 1921-1922 and again from 1935-1960.Biographical Note: Catherine A. Stirewalt
B.A., Carthage College.
M.A., New York University.
Traveled to China to study Chinese and to begin missionary work for the Lutheran Church near Tsingtao in the Shantung Province.
Interned by the Japanese in the Weihsien Concentration Camp near Tsingtao, China during World War II.
Repatriated to United States.
Returned to China to resume missionary work for the Lutheran Church. Taught school in a Lutheran Mission near Tsingtao.
Left China as the Communists came to power.
Accepted as a Deaconess in the United Lutheran Church.
Catherine A. Stirewalt is the daughter of Martin Luther Stirewalt. Prior to pursuing her missionary activities, she worked as a high school teacher.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church -- North Carolina
- Evangelical Lutheran Church -- Virginia
- Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee
- Lutheran Theological Seminary (Chicago, Ill.)
- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, S.C.)
- Lenoir Rhyne College (Hickory, N.C.) -- Students
- Lutheran Church -- Clergy -- Correspondence
- Stirewalt family
- Stirewalt, Catherine A.
- Stirewalt, Martin Luther, 1882-1961
- Stirewalt, Jacob, 1805-1869
- Stirewalt, Jerome Paul, 1850-1934
- United Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina
The collection was received in several separate gifts between 1988 and 1998.
Processed by Don Sechler
Encoded by Don Sechler