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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 2: Letters to Mildred --- 1932-1944
Box 3
Folder 1: To Mildred --- Feb.-July 1932
Folder 2: To Mildred --- Aug-Sept 1932
Folder 3: To Mildred --- Oct 1932
Folder 4: To Mildred --- Nov-Dec 1932
Folder 5: To Mildred --- Jan-Feb 1933
Folder 6: To Mildred --- Mar-May
Folder 7: To Mildred --- June-Sept 1933
Folder 8: To Mildred --- Oct-Dec 1933
Folder 9: To Mildred --- 1934
Folder 10: To Mildred 1935, plus letters --- undated
Box 4
Folder 1: To Mildred from Fort McClelland, Alabama --- Sep 1943
Folder 2: To Mildred --- Oct 1943
Folder 3: To Mildred --- Nov 1943
Folder 4: To Mildred --- Dec 1943
Folder 5: To Mildred from Fort Ord, California --- Jan-Feb 1944
Folder 6: To Mildred --- Mar- Apr 1944
Folder 7: To Mildred from New Guinea --- May-July 1944
Folder 8: To Mildred from New Guinea --- May-Aug 1944
Folder 9: To Mildred from New Guinea --- Aug 1944
Folder 10: To Mildred from New Guinea --- Sep 1944
Folder 11: To Mildred from New Guinea and the Philippines --- Oct 1944
Folder 12: To Mildred from the Philippines --- Nov 1944
Folder 13: To Mildred from the Philippines --- Nov-Dec 1944
Folder 14: "The Golden Fleece," by Mildred Louise Reitsema --- 1932

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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