Nydegger Family Papers
Scope and Contents
The Nydegger Family Papers (1905-1987) consist of the records of Melvin G. Nydegger, his wife Donna Eileen Smith, and daughter Donna (Dee). The collection includes correspondence, personal and biographical information, photographs of Latin American Institute students, and documents, genealogy, and memorabilia related to the Nydegger, Smith, and Meadows families.
- Creation: 1905-1987
Conditions Governing Access
Noncirculating; available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Biographical / Historical
Melvin Glore Nydegger was born in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas, on October 8, 1906, the son of Frank and Lena Glore Nydegger. He attended the public schools of Parsons and continued his education at Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg, Kansas, receiving a B.S. in Education from that institution on July 29, 1927. He later attended the University of Wisconsin where he received a Master's degree in Spanish and French in 1937. On June 30, 1936, Nydegger married Donna Eilene Smith, daughter of Joseph J. and Donna Meadows Smith of Abingdon, Illinois. Donna was a graduate of Abington High School and the nurses' training program at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago. They had one daughter, Donna (Dee) Lenora Nydegger.
Nydegger's early teaching positions were in high schools and military schools in Kansas, Minnesota, Alabama, and Georgia, where he taught Spanish, French, and Latin. In 1938, Nydegger became head of the Spanish Department at Allen Military Academy in Bryan, Texas, where he began a program of exchange for both students and faculty between Ramirez College in Bogata, Colombia, and Allen Academy. In 1939 he was an exchange professor in South America and began post graduate work at the National University of Colombia.
Armed conflict in Europe caused Nydegger to return to the United States in early 1940 where he sought appointment in the Army Officers Reserve Corps. He began training for the Quartermaster Corps by extension courses in Bryan, Texas, and entered active military service on April 10, 1941. Following his transfer to active status, Nydegger was ordered to the New Orleans Quartermaster Depot as assistant to the Commanding Officer: then in May he was sent to Schuylkill Arsenal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for additional training.
In mid-October 1941, Nydegger was sent to the Quartermaster School at Camp Lee, Virginia, where he remained for 41 months, serving as Instructor and Head of the Department of Supply Training. He authored texts and publications on supply for the Quartermaster School and was later made Executive Officer, Plans and Training Officer, and Commander later made Executive Officer, Plans and Training Officer, and Commander of a quartermaster battalion. During 1945 Nydegger spent time at Camp Shelby, Mississippi; Camp Gordon, Georgia; and Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He attended the School of Military Government in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1945, and was sent to Korea as a military supply officer for the army. Nydegger returned to the United States in June 1946, and on August 7 of that year, was honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Quartermaster Corps.
Following his return to the states and his discharge, Nydegger was appointed to the faculty of Mississippi Southern College as Director of High School Correspondence and Assistant Professor in Extension. On January 31, 1947, he was appointed Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, based on his earlier efforts at the Allen Military Academy toward student exchanges with South American countries . Nydegger's efforts resulted in success for the Institute: enrollment increased from 30 the first year to over 400 before his death of a heart attack on January 29, 1951.
Melvin Nydegger was active in the Mississippi Modern Language Association, serving as its president in 1948; he was also active in the Masons and the Reserve Officers Association, and served as state commander of Military Order of the World Wars.
After his death, his wife Donna continued her involvement with the Institute by serving as Chairman of Student Welfare until her retirement. She was known as "Mama" by many of the Latin American students who benefitted from her efforts at making their transition to University and American culture as smooth as possible.
1.50 Cubic Feet : MC1/D5
Language of Materials
Correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, genealogical materials.
Correspondence relating to Melvin Nydegger's military service and letters to his mother from 1940 through 1946 comprise the largest portion of the collection. A limited number forms and records relate to the Latin American Institute, its rules and regulations. Three folders among the family papers contain school records, correspondence, and personal materials of Donna Eilene Smith Nydegger from her elementary school years through her activities as Chairman of Student Welfare at the Latin American Institute, now the English Language Institute, at the University of Southern Mississippi. Three other folders contain genealogical materials on the Nydegger, Smith, and Meadows families.
The Nydegger Family Papers trace the personal activities and professional career of Melvin Nydegger and his wife Donna E. Smith Nydegger; they also illustrate early efforts to promote international exchange of students at the university and college level .
Donna L. Nydegger in 1987 and 1989
M186-2 Melvin G. Nydegger. Portrait at approximately 30 years of age . (Side front view) (notation on back 'To 'Bill '..•'), Circa 1936. 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". M186-3 Melvin G. and Donna S. Nydegger. The Nydeggers standing. (Front view, exterior setting), Circa 1950. 4 1/4" x 2 7/8". M186-4 Melvin G. Nydegger. (Front view, dressed in military uniform.) Circa 1940. 2 7/8" x 3 7/8".
M186-5 Melvin G. Nydegger. (Side view, full military uniform.) circa 1941. 3 1/8" x 4 7/8".
M186-6 Koichi Nakagoma. (Front view, seated in front of a fountain, exterior setting, holding two children.) Circa 1940. 2 5/8" x 4".
M186-7 Melvin G. Nydegger. (Front view, standing in front of display of flags .) Circa 1950. 4 5/8" x 3 5/8". M186-8 Melvin G. Nydegger. Standing in front of flag display. (Side front view). Circa 1950. 7 3/8" x 9 1/4". M186-9 Melvin G. Nydegger. Portrait unveiling, probably in Bennett Auditorium. Circa 1952. 4 3/4" x 3 3/4".
M186-10 Melvin G. Nydegger. Portrait displayed in an office setting. Circa 1952. 4 3/4" x 3 5/8".
M186-11 Latin American Institute Students Group . Photograph on porch of College Hall, names listed on back. Circa 1950. 9 1/2" x 7 5/8".
M186-12 Latin American Institute Students. Group photograph on porch of College Hall. Circa 1950. 9 5/8" x 7 1/2". M186-13 Latin American Institute Students. Small group of students on porch of College Hall. Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 3/8". M186-14 Latin American Institute Students. Small group, interior setting, posed with Director Melvin Nydegger. Circa 1950. 9 1/2" x 5 1/2".
M186-15 Melvin G. Nydegger. Nydegger with two unidentified students. (Side front view, office setting.). Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
M186-16 Melvin G. Nydegger. Nydegger with two unidentified students. (Side front view, office setting), Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2". Ml86-17 Latin American Institute Students. Group photo, interior setting. Notation, probably written later, says Pan American Day. Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
Ml86-18 Latin American Institute Students. Group photo, interior setting at a meal. Circa 1950. 9 5/8" x 7 5/8".
M186-19 Unidentified Institute Students With Melvin Nydegger. Interior setting, at a table holding bottles of Coke. Circa 1950. 9 5/8" x 7 3/4".
M186-20 Latin American Institute Faculty and Staff, Exterior setting in front of grill holding the name 'Institute of Latin American Studies.' Circa 1952. 8 1/4" x 10".
M186-21 Melvin G. Nydegger. Casual snapshot of Nydegger relaxing at home (Seated in a straight chair, interior setting) , Circa 1950. 2 1/2" x 4".
M186-22 Nydegger Family Portrait. Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2". Ml86-23 Melvin G. Nydegger. Seated at desk reading (side front, interior setting). Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2". Ml86-24 Melvin G. and Donna S. Nydegger with International Students. The Nydeggers with a group of 14 unidentified international students on the deck of a ship . Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
Ml86-25 Latin American Institute Students at President's Home. Nine international students gathered around a food-laden table at the President's Home. Possibly a Christmas Tea/Party, Also in the group are President and Mrs . R.C. Cook and Mr. and Mrs. Nydegger (Interior setting - dining room of President's Home). Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
Ml86-26 Latin American Institute Students at President's Home. Nine international students at a Christmas party/tea at the President's Home. (Interior setting - living room with President Cook and Mr. Nydegger). Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
M186-27 Latin American Institute Students. Students posed in a classroom setting. With the students are Melvin G. Nydegger, Director of the Institute and Netta M. Jenkins, Instructor in English at Mississippi Southern College. (Side front, interior setting). Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
Ml86-28 Latin American Institute Students. Group photograph outside College Hall with Institute Director Melvin G. Nydegger. Two women on left may be MSC faculty or employees. Circa 1950. 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".
Ml86-29 Unidentified Man. Young man, oval image with Title 'Chicago World's Fair' and date '1933' (loose in photo album of Donna Smith Nydegger). Circa 1933. 3" x 4".
Ml86-30 Unidentified Man. Man dressed in jeans, jacket and hat with holster and pistol on right hip, standing beside a saddled horse (loose in photo album of Donna Smith Nydegger). September 15, 1937. 3" x 4".
Ml86-31 Unidentified Child. Child sitting on rocks at the base of a large tree near a path or driveway outlined with stones (exterior setting, front view) (loose in photo albl.Ull of Donna Smith Nydegger). Circa 1930's. 2 1/4" x 4".
Ml86-32 Unidentified Group . Group of women facing away from camera; one man facing camera dressed in long double breasted overcoat. (Exterior setting, side front view) (loose in photo albl.Ull of Donna Smith Nydegger.) Circa 1930's. 4 1/4" x 2 1/2".
Ml86-33 Unidentified Man . Appears to be a portrait of a young man . (Loose in photo album of Donna Smith Nydegger bottom half of image is damaged.) Circa 1930's. 2" x 3" oval.
M186-34 Unidentified Child. Child, approximately one year old, standing on bleachers and holding an older person's hand (person not visible) (loose in photo album of Donna S. Nydegger.) Circa 1930's. 1 1/2" x 2 1/2".
Ml86-35 Unidentified Man . Man working at an outdoor project. (exterior setting, front view) (loose in photo album of Donna S. Nydegger.) Circa 1930's. 2" x 3".
M186-36 Unidentified Teenage Girls. Two teenage girls clowning around in the front yard of a home. (Front view, exterior setting) (loose in photo album of Donna S. Nydegger.) Circa 1930's. 2" x 3".
Ml86-37 Unidentified Family Portrait. Portrait of a man, a woman and a child approximately seven years of age, (Front view, mounted on 5 x 7 backing.). Circa 1930's. 3" x 4" oval.
Ml86-38 Unidentified Child. Boy approximately five years old on crutches, standing in the paved, fenced yard of an institutional building. (Exterior setting, front view.) Circa 1930's. 3" x 5 1/2".
M186-39 Donna S. Nydegger. Donna and a friend dressed in nurse's uniforms. (Notation on back, 'Pals.') Circa 1935. 4" x 6 1/4".
Genre / Form
- Nydegger Family Papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001