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Clifford and Jo Swanlund papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 24

Scope and Contents

The Clifford and Jo Swanlund papers (1943-2002; 2 cubic feet) document the lives and careers of Cliff Swanlund and Jo Carty Swanlund. The collection contains an extensive number of letters written by Cliff and Jo from the beginning of their relationship through the early years of their marriage. It also contains many letters written by Cliff's parents to him, while he was a student at Purdue University. The correspondence gives one a unique perspective not only on the family itself, but on outside events which occurred during this time period. The letters are a wonderful memorial to the love and devotion this couple shared throughout their lives. Some of the letters are in poor condition, due to aging of the paper. The photographs also give a glimpse into Purdue life at this time. Some of the photographs are in poor condition, but one can view the subjects. Besides the strong collection of letters, some photographs and albums, there are other ephemera and miscellaneous items related to the Swanlund's lives, such as an autobiography written about the Swanlund family, plus "My Story" written by Clifford A. Swanlund, Jr. The collection consists of four boxes, which are in the order received and the contents are in chronological order, for the most part.


  • 1943-2002
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1949-1953
  • Other: Date acquired: 07/09/2006


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Clifford Swanlund was born January 29, 1932, and Mary (Jo) Carty Swanlund was born June 16, 1933. They attended the same high school, Maplewood Richmond Heights in St. Louis (Maplewood), Missouri. In the summer of 1949, before Cliff entered Purdue University as a freshman, they began dating. They continued their relationship throughout Cliff’s four years at Purdue, as he worked toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. They wrote many letters to each other during their time apart, and their relationship grew closer. They were engaged August 23, 1952, a month before Cliff entered his senior year at Purdue. Cliff graduated from Purdue University in May 1953, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He and Jo were married on June 20, 1953 at the Maplewood Baptist Church. In July 1953, they began a two year tour in the Army with three months at Fort Belvoir, Virginia and five months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, followed by a year plus in Kitzingen, Germany. Upon their return home, they began a fifteen month Shell Oil Company training program at various (twelve) locations in Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana, Louisiana, and Texas. This culminated in assignment to New Orleans in mid-1956, where their son Chuck was born in 1959 and daughter Judy in 1961. The family moved to Houston in early 1964. Cliff continued to work for Shell Oil Company, and Jo’s professional career started in 1968 when she began volunteering at St. Joseph Hospital, Department of Psychiatry. Through her efforts, the Psychiatric Volunteer Service was initiated and developed as one of only a few organizations in the country that recruited and trained volunteers for in-patient visitation on psychiatric wards. She became Staff Director (Coordinator) of the PVS in 1970. She went on to serve other hospitals in their volunteer efforts, but her career came to an abrupt end due to a stroke. She and Cliff resided in their home in Maplewood, until Jo’s passing on April 27, 2002. They were married for 49 years.

Source: Information and finding aid photograph were taken from the autobiographical information provided in the collection.


3.00 Cubic Feet

1 cubic foot box, 1 mss. box, 1 small flat box other_unmapped

1.00 cubic_foot_boxes

1.00 flat_box

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

Arrangement Note

The collection is in chronological order.

Source of Acquisition

Clifford A. Swanlund, Jr.

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

20060907; 20080801

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Clifford A. Swanlund Oral History Interview, 2007.
Clifford and Jo Swanlund papers
Mary A. Sego, 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States