Guide to the Walter H.​ Brovald Papers,​ 1938-​1990

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Summary Information

Title: Walter H. Brovald Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1938-1990

Creator: Brovald, Walter H., 1928-

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss BG; Eau Claire Micro 26; Micro 1136

Quantity: 9.6 c.f. (6 archives boxes and 1 flat box), 3 reels of microfilm (35mm)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr.   

Abstract:  Papers of a journalism educator and editor/publisher (1954-1967) of the Cadott Sentinel, Cadott, Wisconsin, an award-winning weekly newspaper, including personal correspondence, photographs, and business and professional material. The business and professional papers consist of financial records and correspondence concerning his early career as a copywriter for the Arthur Towell advertising agency, his purchase of the Sentinel, his leadership in the Wisconsin Press Association, and his relationship with many journalists and Wisconsin politicians such as Lester Johnson, Gaylord Nelson, Alvin O'Konski, Vernon Thomson, and Alexander Wiley. Personal correspondence, which is predominantly outgoing, details his education at the University of Wisconsin during the 1940s and at the University of Minnesota during the 1960s, his career as a Methodist lay minister, and his work as publicist for the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners of the Americas. The latter files include photographs and newspaper columns concerning a 1965 trip to Nicaragua by the Partners. Also included are biographical clippings, diaries, research material and notes about Cadott, files on coursework at the University of Wisconsin, and a few examples of his writings.

Language: English


Journalist Walter H. Brovald was born in Necedah, Wisconsin on May 5, 1928. He grew up in Eau Claire and graduated from the local high school in 1945 and the University of Wisconsin in 1949.

Although Brovald's undergraduate major was English, he was a lifelong journalism and printing enthusiast, and he began printing a newspaper at the age of ten. During high school he ran his own commercial print shop and was sports editor for his high school paper and a sports reporter for various local newspapers. While a student at the University he worked for the Daily Cardinal and as a copywriter for the Arthur Towell advertising agency. From 1949 to 1952 Brovald was editor, then managing editor of the Stanley Republican, Stanley, Wisconsin. At this time, he began writing a column about small town life, “Behind the Eight Ball,” which he continued after he left the Republican. In 1952-1953 he tried his hand in radio as the assistant news editor for WEAU in Eau Claire.

In 1954 Brovald fulfilled a lifelong dream of operating his own weekly newspaper when he bought the Cadott Sentinel from publisher A. T. Nabbefeld. As publisher and editor of the Sentinel Printing and Publishing Co., Brovald put out the paper and operated a job printing business on the side. For this work he received 56 state and national awards for journalistic excellence. During the period 1960-1961 he served as president of the Wisconsin Press Association.

During his career in Cadott, Brovald was very active in the community's social, political, and religious life. He served as president of the local Lion's Club and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire area committee. From 1958 to 1961 he also served as a lay pastor to several Methodist churches in the area. Brovald was a founding member of the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, and in 1965 he traveled to Nicaragua as the Partner's public relations officer.

In 1966 Brovald left Cadott to study for an advanced degree in mass communications at the University of Minnesota, while his wife Lillian T. Brovald stayed behind to run the paper. After the paper was sold in 1967, Brovald settled in St. Paul and taught at the University.

Scope and Content Note

The papers primarily document the Wisconsin portion of Brovald's career in journalism. This was a period in which he achieved considerable professional prominence as the editor/publisher of a weekly newspaper, and although the documentation in this small collection is not complete, it does afford the researcher a rare archival glimpse of that type of journalistic activity. While the documentation concerning the operational and financial status of the paper is disappointing, the collection does paint a vivid picture of how the life of a small-town newspaperman differed from his metropolitan counterpart. In addition, there is extensive material about Brovald's personal life while a student at the University of Wisconsin and later in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, his work as a Methodist lay minister, and his involvement with the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners of the Americas. The latter files are of particular interest, for they include documentary photographs and newspaper columns concerning his 1965 trip to Nicaragua.

The collection is arranged into biographical material, business and professional files, personal files, and University of Wisconsin coursework. The distinction between the personal and professional files is not always distinct, however, and one will find that the business files contain some letters to and from journalists with whom Brovald shared a personal as well as a professional relationship, while the personal files contain extensive correspondence on his volunteer work as a publicist in behalf of the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners. The collection consists primarily of biographical clippings, correspondence, course work, and financial records, although there are also research materials and notes primarily concerning Cadott, diaries, and a few examples of his writings. The Cadott Sentinel itself is available on microfilm in the Society Library.

A substantial portion of the collection consisted of carbons of Brovald's outgoing correspondence typed on highly acidic paper. On order to preserve their content, this portion of the collection has been microfilmed. The originals were later destroyed.

The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL consists of newspaper clippings about Brovald, information on miscellaneous awards, and photographs generally documenting events in his personal and professional life.

The BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL FILES are subdivided into subject files, general correspondence, and financial records. The subject files, which are arranged alphabetically, include correspondence concerning employment and the purchase of a newspaper, his work to publicize the Wisconsin Centennial in 1948 while in the employ of the Arthur Towell advertising agency and letters exchanged with Carl Zielke and other officers and members of the Wisconsin Press Association. The latter file also includes copies of the column Brovald wrote during his year as president of the WPA. Also filed here are exchanges with various friends and associates in the journalism field. The file on the White Machine Co. of Eau Claire concerns a consistent user of the Sentinel's job printing services, the only such customer documented in the papers.

The general correspondence is very diverse in character. Of special note is the political correspondence filed here. These letters range from exchanges with Joseph R. McCarthy to complaints about local postal service. Other prominent correspondents include Dorothy Johnson, Lester Johnson, Ann Landers, Gaylord Nelson, Richard Nixon, Alvin O'Konski, William Proxmire, Vernon Thomson, and Alexander Wiley. The general correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name and chronologically thereunder. Unfortunately a substantial number of the letters are identified only by first name; these have been filmed chronologically at the end of the file for each letter of the alphabet in which Brovald originally placed them.

Although the financial records originally comprised about ten cubic feet of papers, these primarily consisted of invoices and other detailed records of little research value. However, despite the extensiveness of the detailed financial records in the original collection, complete summary data about the business was not present. There is, however, a virtually complete run of state and federal income tax returns, some financial reports, a ledger and cash journal for the period 1954-1955, working papers and expense sheets, and a complete run of check stubs.

The PERSONAL FILES contain probably the most interesting documentation in the collection. These files are subdivided into family correspondence and alphabetical subject files. The family correspondence contains carbon copies of the long, detailed letters which Brovald wrote to family members and a few friends while a student at the University of Wisconsin during the late 1940s. The correspondence is intermittent during the 1950s and 1960s, but it picks up again in 1966 when Brovald left Cadott to enroll in graduate school. During 1966 and 1967 he wrote almost daily to his wife, who was running the newspaper. Unfortunately, both of these time periods are documented almost solely by outgoing letters only.

The subject files contain diaries kept as a high school student during World War II, examples of his youthful journalistic endeavors, and an extensive correspondence concerning his work as a lay minister for area Methodist churches and other religious activities. The file on the Nicaragua Partners contains correspondence concerning publicity for the group and Brovald's 1965 trip to Nicaragua. Also filed here is some research material on the Nicaraguan press compiled in 1967 by Brovald while a student at Minnesota. (Included in this file is a letter from Anastasio Somoza.)

The UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN RECORDS consist of class notes, papers, examinations, and other materials documenting the instruction received by Brovald while an undergraduate.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information 

Presented by Walter H. Brovald, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1977. Accession Number: MCHC77-53

Processing Information 

Processed by Jeffrey A. Sinnott (FGH student), 1988.

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Johnson, Lester R. , 1901-1975
  • Nelson, Gaylord, 1916-2005
  • McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957
  • O’Konski, Alvin E. (Alvin Edward), 1904-1987
  • Thomson, Vernon W. (Vernon Wallace), 1905-1988
  • Wiley, Alexander, 1884-1967
  • Methodist Church
  • Partners of the Americas (Organization). Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners
  • University of Minnesota—Students
  • University of Wisconsin—Madison—Students
  • Wisconsin Press Association
  • Advertising
  • American Newspapers—Wisconsin—Cadott
  • Journalists—Wisconsin
  • Cadott (Wis.)
  • Nicaragua
  • United States—Foreign relations—Nicaragua
  • Wisconsin—Politics and government

Contents List

Eau Claire Mss BG 

Series: Biographical Material                        

Box   1 Folder   1

Biographical clippings                                                     

Box   1 Folder   2

Awards, 1954-1967                                                        

Series: Business and Professional Files

Eau Claire Mss BG 

Subject files                                                                  

Box   1 Folder   3

Cadott High School anniversary, 1957                              

Box   1 Folder   4

Cadott history, 1964-1974                                              

Box   1 Folder   5

Cadott: History and Heritage, 1964                                  

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136 Reel   1 Frame   1

Microfilm Copy                                                               

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   1 Folder   5

“Cadott Newspaper History, 1881-1914,” 1976                  

Box   1 Folder   6

Cadotte family research notes, 1964                                

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136  Reel   1 Frame   30

Colorado School of Mines, 1953                                       

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   1 Folder   7

Editor's tour of Ontario, 1962                                          

Box   1 Folder 8

Employers Mutual Insurance Company, 1960-1967 

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136  Reel   1 Frame   53

Grant County Herald (Margaret Barker), 1953-1954           

Reel   1 Frame   93

Harrison, R. P., 1952-1958                                              

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   1 Folder   9

Insurance, 1967-1968                                                    

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136  Reel   1 Frame   151

Las Cruces (NM) Sun, 1951-1952                                    

Nabbefeld, A. T. 

Reel   1 Frame   179

Correspondence re sale of Sentinel, 1954-1973                 

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   1 Folder   10

Undated material and sale contract                                  

Box   1 Folder   11

Radio Wisc scripts, 1949                                                 

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136  Reel   1 Frame   238

Stanley Republican (Richard Bridgeman), 1949-1955         

Reel   1 Frame   369

Towell (Arthur), 1948-1955, undated                               

Reel   1 Frame   493

WBEV, 1952-1953                                                          

Reel   1 Frame   501

WEAU, 1952-1954                                                          

Reel   1 Frame 535

White Machine Works, 1954-1961 Wisconsin Press Association 

Reel   1 Frame   624

Correspondence, 1951-1973                                           

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   1 Folder   12

Miscellany and president's column                                    

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136 

General correspondence                                                  

Reel   1 Frame   750


Reel   1 Frame   805


Reel   1 Frame   857


Reel   1 Frame   939


Reel   1 Frame   948


Reel   2 Frame   1


Reel   2 Frame   49


Reel   2 Frame   81


Reel   2 Frame   151


Reel   2 Frame   156


Reel   2 Frame   190


Reel   2 Frame   225


Reel   2 Frame   291


Reel   2 Frame   401


Reel   2 Frame   450


Reel   2 Frame   471


Reel   2 Frame   541


Reel   2 Frame   609


Reel   2 Frame   672


Reel   2 Frame   696


Reel   2 Frame   707


Eau Claire Mss BG 

Financial files                                                                 

Box   4 Folder   1

Advertising sheets, 1951-1955                                        

Check stubs 

Box   4 Folder   2-5


Box   5 Folder   1-3


Box   5 Folder   4

Expense sheets, 1956-1961                                            

Financial reports 

Box   5 Folder   5


Box   5 Folder   5


Box   5 Folder   6

General information, 1954-1966                                      

Box   7

Journal, 1954-1955                                                        

Box   5 Folder 7

Ledger, 1954-1955                                                        

Box   6 Folder   1

Legal documents on land holdings, 1938-1960                  

Box   6 Folder   2

Press run statistics, 1962-1966                                        

Box   6 Folder   3-4

Social Security and salary information, 1947-1967            

Box   6 Folder   5-8

Tax returns, 1946-1966                                                  

Box   6 Folder   9

Volume statistics, 1956-1967                                          

Box   6 Folder   10

Working papers for annual statements, 1956-1966            

Series: Personal Files

Family correspondence 

Box   1 Folder   13

Incoming correspondence, 1943-1945, undated                

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136 

Outgoing correspondence                                                

Reel   2 Frame   844


Reel   3 Frame   1


Reel   3 Frame   298


Reel   3 Frame   503


Reel   3 Frame   472


Eau Claire Mss BG 

Subject files                                                                  

Box   1 Folder   14

Cadott Library Board, 1964-1966                                     

Box   1 Folder   15

Chirayatha, Joseph D. (Kerala, India), 1963-1965             

Box   1 Folder 16

Congratulatory letters, 1958-1964  

Box   1 Folder   17-18

Diaries, 1941-1944                                                        

Box   2 Folder   1

Eau Claire high school alumni, 1945-1946                        

Box   2 Folder   2

Fort Lewis trip, 1961                                                      

Box   2 Folder   3

Graduate school in journalism, 1966                                

Box   2 Folder   4

Heart condition, 1943, undated                                       

Box   2 Folder   5

High school writings, 1939-1941                                      

Lay ministry 

Eau Claire Micro 26/Micro 1136  Reel   3 Frame   756

Correspondence, 1953-1967                                           

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   2 Folder   6

Material re Cadott and Lake Hallie churches, 1959-1967  

Box   2 Folder   7

Miscellaneous jobs, 1953-1954, undated                          


Box   2 Folder   810

Correspondence, 1965-1966                                           

Box   2 Folder   11

Correspondence re Nicaragua press, 1967                        

Eau Claire Mss BG  Box   2 Folder   12

Northern Baseball League history, undated                       

Box   2 Folder   13

Outside activities, 1957-1962, undated                            

Box   2 Folder   14

University of Wisconsin miscellany, 1946-1948                  

Box   2 Folder   15

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Committee, 19631971 

Series: University of Wisconsin Files

Box   2 Folder   16

American History, undated                                              

Box   2 Folder   17

Botany, 1946                                                                 

Box   3 Folder   1

British History, 1945-1946                                              

Box   3 Folder   2

Economics 1a, 1948                                                       

Box   3 Folder   3

English 32a, 1945                                                          

Box   3 Folder   4

English 37, undated                                                        

Box   3 Folder   5

English 139, 1948                                                          

Box   3 Folder   6

Examinations, 1947-1949                                               

Box   3 Folder   7

Geography, 1945                                                           

Box   3 Folder   8

Journalism la, 1945-1946                                                

Box   3 Folder   9

Miscellaneous courses, 1945-1949                                   

Box   3 Folder   10

Philosophy 41, 1947                                                       

Box   3 Folder   11

Philosophy 141, 1948                                                     

Box   3 Folder   12

Spanish, 1946