Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

RS 13/11/14
Alfred P. Kehlenbeck (1906-1969)
Format, Dates

Descriptive summary

creator: Kehlenbeck, Alfred P. (Alfred Paul)
title: Papers
dates: 1927-1971
extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box)
collection number: RS 13/11/14
repository: University Archives, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.
language: English


Administrative information

access: Open for research
publication rights: Consult Head, Special Collections Department
preferred citation: Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Papers, RS 13/11/14, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.



Alfred P. Kehlenbeck (1906-1969) was a professor (1935-1945; 1950-1969) of German in the Department of Foreign Languages at Iowa State University. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Kehlenbeck authored several books on the German language and German-American dialects, including Essentials of Reading German. This collection includes biographical information, correspondence, and publications. Three of his published works on the German-American dialect are included in the collection, along with correspondence with his publisher, Rinehart and Company. Material related to the Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Memorial Scholarship is also included.


Biographical note

Alfred Paul Kehlenbeck was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on February 24, 1906. He received his B.A. (1927) and M.A. (1928) from the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D. (1934) from the University of Wisconsin. He also studied at the University of Munich and the Sprachatlasinstitut in Marburg, Germany.

Following graduation, Kehlenbeck worked in the German departments at Oberlin College and Coe College. He was then hired by Iowa State as Assistant Professor (1935-1941) in the Department of Modern Languages. He was later promoted to Associate Professor (1941-1945) and Professor (1945-1946). Kehlenbeck left Iowa State to take a position as Associate Professor of German at the University of Virginia (1946-1950). He later returned to Iowa State as Professor and Head (1950-1969) of the Department of Modern Languages.

Kehlenbeck conducted research and specialized in German-American dialects and published four works on this topic. He also worked with Rinehart and Company on the book Essentials of Reading German. He was an editorial consultant for the Britannica World Language Dictionary in 1955.

Kehlenbeck was a member of the Modern Languages Association and the American Dialect Society. He served as the president of the Iowa chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German and was also on the national committee responsible for revising the College Boards Examination in German. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He and his wife, Dorothy A. Severin, were married in Joliet, Illinois, on June 27, 1932. Dorothy Kehlenbeck served as the curator of Iowa State University's college history collection for a number of years. They had no children. He died in Ames, Iowa on August 4, 1969. In 1971, a house in Larch Hall was named in his honor.  The Alfred P. Kehlenbeck scholarship was started and is awarded to a student studying foreign language.


Collection description

This collection (1927-1971) contains biographical information, correspondence, and publications as well as information about the first Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Memorial Award. Correspondence with Rinehart Publishing Company regarding the book Introduction to Reading German are included and also some draft pieces of the book. This collection does includes three of his publications: Die Mittelniederdeutschen Laute Im Williamsburger Platt (1938), German Handbook (1941), and An Iowa Low German Dialect (1948).


Related materials

Related collections in the Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library include:

  • Dorothy Kehlenbeck Papers, RS 25/4/51



This collection is organized alphabetically with biographical information at the front.


Container list







Biographical Information (7 b/w photographs)




Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Memorial Award




Correspondence: General (1 b/w photograph)




Correspondence: Rinehart and Company

1951-1952, undated



Publications: Die Mittelniederdeutschen Laute Im Williamsburger Platt (1938), German Handbook (1941), and An Iowa Low German Dialect (1948)