Rowell, Elsie Alma (1909-1992) Papers, 1938-1941

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Rowell, Elsie Alma, 1909-1992

Title:  Papers, 1938-1941

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection: 0.33 cubic feet.

Location Number:  Mss. A R881

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of correspondence and research materials gathered by Elsie Alma Rowell in the preparation of a master’s thesis exploring German immigration and cultural contributions to Louisville in the mid-19th century.  Written in 1941 at a time when anti-German sentiment was undoubtedly again on the rise, Rowell’s thesis is entitled: “The Social and Cultural Contributions of the Germans in Louisville from 1848-1855”.  Her thesis explores statistics relating to the influx of German immigrants in the 19th century; religious practices and German involvement in local charities such as the German Protestant Orphan’s Home; German contributions to education and the fine arts; the German press, including the Louisville Anzeiger; and especially the rise of nativism, the growth of the Know-Nothing Party, and the outbreak of the Bloody Monday riot in Louisville in 1855.  In addition to Rowell’s thesis, the collection also includes a partial translation of L. Stierlin’s work on German immigrants in Kentucky and Louisville.

Biographical Note

Elsie Rowell, daughter of Robert T. Rowell, was born in 1909.  She graduated from Randolph Macon Women’s College and received a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.  She taught social studies in Louisville’s schools, first at Eastern High School and later at Ahrens Trade School, where she was also an advocate for higher salaries for teachers.  During World War II Rowell was a lieutenant in the WAVES, serving for over 3 years.  She earned a reputation for wanderlust, traveling from the Dardanelles to the rice paddies of Asia.  Rowell retired from teaching in 1974.  She died in 1992 and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

(See obituary published in the Louisville Courier-Journal, 13 April 1992)

Folder List

Folder 1:          Correspondence and thesis research notes, 1938-ca. 1941

Folder 2:          Partial translation of: “Der staat Kentucky und die stadt Louisville : mit besonderer berucksichtigung des deutschen elementes“, or, “The State of Kentucky and the City of Louisville with special reference to the German Element.” By L. Stierlin. (Louisville Anzeiger, 1873)

Folder 3:          Newspaper clippings, 1938-1939.

Folder 4:          Thesis, University of Kentucky, 1941: “The Social and Cultural Contributions of the Germans in Louisville, 1848-1855.” By Elsie Rowell.

Subject Headings

American Party.

Bloody Monday, Louisville Ky., 1855.

German Americans – Kentucky – Louisville.

Louisville (Ky.) – Emigration and immigration.

Louisville (Ky.) – History – 19th century.


Riots – Kentucky – Louisville.

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