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John Scholte Nollen


Posted By: Debbie Clough Gerischer
Date: 11/12/2008 at 11:23:39

JOHN SCHOLTE NOLLEN, dean of Grinnell College, has a long and distinguished record as an educator, scholar and author. He is one of the well known triumvirate of brothers, the other two being life insurance executives at Des Moines, and there is hardly any family in Iowa that has contributed more to the commercial and cultural life of the state.

Doctor Nollen was born at Pella, Iowa, January 15, 1869, son of John and Johanna Sara Susanna (Scholte) Nollen, and a grandson of the founder of Pella, Hendrick Peter Scholte, an eminent scholar and religious and business executive, who came from Holland community and settled at Pella, Iowa. An interesting record of Hendrik Peter scholte is published on other pages. John Nollen was also a native of Holland, settled at Pella in 1854, and for a number of years was engaged in banking and in other lines of business. He served as mayor of Pella, and was a trustee of Central University at Pella. He died in 1914 and his wife in May, 1928. Their three sons are Henry S. Nollen, president of the Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa, Dr. John S. Nollen; and Gerard S. Nollen, president of the Bankers Life Insurance Company of Des Moines.

John Scholte Nollen was educated in public schools and privately by his father at Pella, graduated with the A. B. degree from Central College in 1885 and was an instructor in the college from 1885 to 1887. He went abroad and tutored the children of David Page at Cham, Switzerland, during 1888-90.He received his A.B. degree from the University of Iowa in 1888 and was engaged in graduate study in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1890-91, at Leipzig, Germany, in 1891-92, and at Paris in 1892-93. Leipzig University gave him his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1893. During 1900-01 Doctor Nollen was again abroad for study at the University of Berlin.

From 1893 to 1903 Doctor Nollen was professor of modern languages at Grinnell College. He then accepted the chair of professor of German in the University of Indiana at Bloomington, where he remained from 1903 to 1907. From 1907 to 1918 he was president of Lake Forest University at Lake Forest, Illinois. He resigned to engage in war work, as an overseas Y.M.C.A. secretary, serving in France and later in Italy, where he was general secretary of the Y.M.C.A. with the Italian army during 1918-20, and during 1920 was connected with the American Red Cross Commission in Europe. Since his return from overseas he has resumed his work as an educator and has been dean of Grinnell College, being one of the most popular members of that fine college community. He is a director of the Grinnell State Bank. During 1927-28 Doctor Nollen had a leave of absence from Grinnell College for work at the Pomona and Scripps Colleges at Claremont, California. He attended as a delegate the World Conference on Faith and Order at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1927.

Doctor Nollen's research work and scholarship have found publications in the following works: Goethe's Gutz von Berlichingen auf der Buhne, published in 1893, as his Doctor's thesis; Chronology and Practical Bibliography of Modern German Literature, 1903; Outline History of Modern German Literature for Lake German Series, 1903; Two Addresses, 1907; What is That in thy Hand, 1911; The Warfare of Peace, 1913; God and the Nation, 1914; Think on These Things, 1915. He is editor of text books, including Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Hamburg, 1899, Schiller's Poems, 1905, Schiller's Maria Stuart, 1909, German Poems, 1800-18-50, published in 1912, and for years has been a contributor to philogical and literary magazines.

Doctor Nollen is a Phi Beta Kappa, member of the Modern Language Association of America, the Religious Education Association, National Education Association, English Speaking Union, was president in 1910-11 of the Presbyterian
Social Union of Chicago, and president of the Association of American Colleges in 1917-18. The Italian government bestowed upon him the Italian War Cross and made him a commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy. Doctor Nollen is a member of the Congregational Church and in 1925 was president of the Kiwanis Club at Grinnell.

He married, September 11, 1906, Emeline Barstow Bartlett, of Providence, Rhode Island. She died November 10, 1910, leaving two children, Anna Barstow, of New York City, and Emeline Bartlett, of Grinnell. On June 25, 1914, Doctor Nollen married Louise Stevens Bartlett, of Providence, Rhode Island.


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