History of the CSB Archives

In 1961, the College of Saint Benedict was separately incorporated from the Saint Benedict’s Monastery. In 1979 President Emmanuel Renner, OSB, established an Archives Committee in preparation for an independent college archives; however, the records of the College of Saint Benedict were not moved until 1992. During this interim period Lizette LaSavage, a history major, organized the records in the President’s Office, particularly in the area of CSB and SJU Coordinate Relations. On October 30, 1992, the records pertaining to the college since 1961 were transferred from the Monastery Archives to the College Archives. The newly established College Archives was located in the former offices of the CSB Nutrition Department on the third floor of St. Gertrude Hall, under the direction of Sister Jeannette Klassen, who worked especially hard in the early 1990’s to collect and process records for easy use. After she was called away to another community, the good work she started was put on hold until the summer of 1994, when Susan Harrison was hired to establish a formal archives department. 

In its first year, the primary issue was assessing the records and resources of the College. The second year, 1996, was related to building a presence on campus. In 1997 the dominant issue was lack of work space. In FY1998, the primary challenge was moving and settling in to the new home in the basement of Corona Hall.  In 2000, Susan Harrison resigned as Archivist.

From 2001 until 2006, acting Archivist and history professor Sister Carol Berg and volunteer Archivist Sister Emmanuel Renner (history professor emerita and former CSB President) began processing the acquisitions that had amassed and integrating them into various collections using the PastPerfect archival software program.

In 2001, the College of Saint Benedict Archives received the Joe O’Connell collection of art, photographs, and manuscript materials, a collection which has been inventoried, processed, and made available to students and researchers with the aid of several student employees, especially art student Steven Lemke, history student Teresa Walch, and Joe’s grandson, SJU student Brian Thavis. 

In 2005, Peggy Landwehr Roske (SBHS ’73, CSB ’77, UW-Madison MALS ’82), CSB and SJU public services librarian, was appointed as part-time CSB Archivist and, with the ongoing and invaluable help of Sister Emmanuel Renner, the work continued following Sister Carol’s retirement in May 2006.  In July, 2006, following the resignation of Bro. David Klingeman as half-time Archivist for St. John’s University, Peggy Roske was appointed to the full-time joint position of CSB and SJU Archivist.  In July 2011 Elizabeth (Liz) Knuth joined the Archives staff.  In October 2011 Sister Emmanuel retired from her volunteer position after decades of devoted service to the College.


Sister Grace: Archivist, Historian,” The Benet, May 1960. p.3.

Page last updated October 2020.