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Henry Zylstra Collection



Biographical Note

Detailed Description

General Papers

Letters to Mildred




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Henry Zylstra Collection, 1930-1984 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Henry Zylstra Collection, 1930-1984

ID: COLL/344

Primary Creator: Zylstra, Henry (1909-1956)

Extent: 3.4 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description


Professor of English at Calvin College. The collection includes class notes; papers; essays; articles; speeches; chapel talk; lectures; a syllabus for freshman English; book reviews; a thesis entitled "E. T. A. Hoffmann in England and America"; a script for a Christian Reformed Church Centennial Pageant entitled "A Tree of Life"; a World War II report detailing the South Pacific; a history entitled "Early Dutch Settlements in South Dakota"; a paper entitled "Memoirs of Rien J. Zylstra"; and poetry readings. [See also the Campus Titles Database.]

Biographical Note

Henry Zylstra was born in Platte, South Dakota on April 4, 1909.  Zylstra first attended Grundy College, but later enrolled at Calvin College where he received his A.B. in 1931.  Zylstra remained at Calvin for another year, assisting in the subjects of English, German, and speech. By 1932 he received a scholarship to attend State University of Iowa to earn his Master's degree in German.  For the next three years, Zylstra taught English for Western Christian and Grand Rapids Christian high schools. During this time, he also served as a part-time English assistant at Calvin College.

Zylstra went on to further his own education at Harvard University where he earned his Ph.D. in 1940.  He remained at Harvard for the next year as a research bibliographer.  In 1941 Zylstra accepted the call from Calvin College as their Instructor of English and German. During the time Zylstra was promoted to Associate Professor, World War II broke out. He served as 1st Lieutenant in the Pacific Theatre until 1946.  In 1950 Zylstra became professor and chairman of the Department of English at Calvin College. During his career, Zylstra was also chairman of the Division of Languages, Literature, and Arts; Chairman of Library Committee; and member of the educational policy committee. He also served as president of Student Council and on the Chimes staff.

Zylstra received a Fullbright grant to lecture at the Free University in Amsterdam for a year. In 1956, while waiting for a bus in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, Zylstra had a heart attack and passed away at the age of 47. He was survived by his wife, Mildred (Reitsema) and two daughters.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: General Papers, 1930-1984],
[Series 2: Letters to Mildred, 1932-1944],
[Series 3: Letters, 1945],
[Series 4: Envelopes],
[Series 5: Miscellaneous],

Series 1: General Papers --- 1930-1984
Box 1
Folder 1: Memoirs of Rein J. Zylstra; Early Dutch Settlements in South Dakota, 1909-1956; original Dutch and translation --- 1967, 1984, and [undated]
Folder 2: In Memoriam --- December 1956
Folder 3: 1930 Prism of his Calvin Junior Class of which he was president
Folder 4: Class notes and student handouts --- [undated]
Folder 5: Graduate school paper, "Shelley's Defense of Poetry" --- 1936
Folder 6: Abstract of PhD dissertation --- [undated]
Folder 7: Keats' use of the Bible from HZ's course on "Contemporary Novel" --- [undated]
Folder 8: Syllabus on Freshman English --- 1956
Folder 9: Shelf list of papers --- [undated]
Folder 10: Papers, "Formal Discipline in Our Schools"; "English Program"; book review, Testament of Vision; "Christian and Literature, ca. 1952-1955"; Henry Zylstra Publication Committee minutes, 1956; "Mid-nineteenth Century Dutch View of American Life and Letters," 1942; "Function of Myth in Marlowe's Hero and Leander'" by Paul W. Miller, 1953; "Moneta's Temple" by J. L. Lowes; "In Gesprek Met P.J. Risseeuw" by D. v.d. Stoep --- 1936
Folder 11: "The Inescapable God and Other Chapel Talks" --- [undated]
Box 2
Folder 1: Articles in Reformed Journal --- 1953-1956
Folder 2: Articles in Calvin Forum --- 1947-1949
Folder 3: "Letters from --- [various countries]," Calvin Forum --- 1945-1949
Folder 4: Book reviews in various publications --- 1946-1954
Folder 5: A Tree of Life: A Pageant Depicting in Word and Symbol the History of Calvin College and Seminary on the Occasion of Her Diamond Jubilee [HERH LD791.C249 1951] --- 1951
Folder 6: World War II memoirs --- 1945
Folder 7: Resumes of Novels by Leading American Writers --- [undated]
Folder 8: Essays, [undated]; 'tongue in cheek' letter written in Dutch --- 1956
Folder 9: Photocopy library cards of H. Z. publications --- [undated]
Folder 10: Chapel talks --- [undated]
Folder 11: Notes on the teaching of English --- [undated]
Folder 12: Memorial fund --- 1957
Folder 13: Outlines of essays on Christianity --- [undated]
Folder 14: Articles in Christian Home and School and the Banner --- 1947
Folder 15: Publications of some of his colleagues --- 1948, 1955 [undated]
Folder 16: Articles in Reformed Journal --- 1951-1952
Folder 17: Speeches --- 1947, 1954, and [undated]

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: General Papers, 1930-1984],
[Series 2: Letters to Mildred, 1932-1944],
[Series 3: Letters, 1945],
[Series 4: Envelopes],
[Series 5: Miscellaneous],

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