The Stirewalt Family Papers, 1828-1993 (bulk 1850-1947), are comprised of the personal papers of individuals from four successive generations of the Stirewalt family. The correspondence, writings, diaries, legal/financial documents, photographs, and other miscellaneous papers found in this collection document the Stirewalt Family's personal lives and involvement in the Lutheran Church as ministers, educators and missionaries. The collection is divided into four primary series which reflect the individuals whose papers make up this collection: Jacob Stirewalt, Jerome Paul Stirewalt, Martin Luther Stirewalt, and Catherine A. Stirewalt. The arrangement of the collection is primarily chronological, following the lineage of the Stirewalt family. Subsections within each major series are determined by the type of materials found within the collection and are arranged either chronologically, as in the case of the Diaries and Correspondence Subseries, or alphabetically and thereunder chronologically, as in the case of the Writings Subseries.
The Stirewalt family is descended from Jacob Stirewalt, a minister and member of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Jacob Stirewalt was primarily active in and around New Market, Va. and Rowan and Shenandoah counties in Virginia. The Subseries related to Jacob Stirewalt includes Correspondence from 1828-1858, Writings (primarily sermons and sermon outlines in German and English) from the 1830s to the 1860s, and Diaries, which includes a Memorandum book where he recorded financial transactions and other records of his career as a minister from 1834 to his death in 1869.
Jerome Paul Stirewalt, the son of Jacob Stirewalt, was also a minister and a leader of the Tennessee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He served as a minister in several pastorates in Virginia and North Carolina and several terms as president, secretary, and treasurer of the Tennessee Synod in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His papers are primarily composed of Correspondence, 1870-1933, with other ministers, relating to the business of the Tennessee Synod, and with family members. The collection also includes Jerome Paul Stirewalt's Writings, primarily sermons and sermon outlines, and other miscellaneous financial and legal papers. The Diaries Subseries is primarily memorandum books which list the date and location of religious services performed and the topic or title of sermons delivered by J.P. Stirewalt. These books serve to provide a record of Stirewalt's work as a Lutheran minister.
Martin Luther Stirewalt, the son of Jerome Paul Stirewalt, was also a Lutheran minister and educator at Lutheran schools and colleges in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Chicago, Ill. This series includes correspondence, diaries, writings and clippings which provide a picture of Stirewalt's theological education, activities as a minister and educator, and insights into his personal life and familial relationships.
The papers of Catherine A Stirewalt, Martin Luther Stirewalt's daughter, are primarily correspondence written while she was a Lutheran Missionary in China from 1939-1949. This correspondence provides documentation of the Lutheran Church's activities in China prior to and after World War II. Catherine Stirewalt's letters provide a great deal of detail about the daily lives of missionaries in China and some information about the lives of the Chinese people working as instructors or attending the mission school. There is no correspondence from the period of the first two years of World War II when she was interned in the Weihsien concentration camp near Tsingtao, China. Other miscellaneous clippings, photographs, and writings in this series provide further documentation of her experiences in China.