Areas of Study

MSS 63 – Lauritsen, Wesley

Papers of Wesley Lauritsen, 1917-1986

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 63


Title: Papers of Wesley Lauritsen, 1917-1986

Quantity: 2.5 Linear Feet (5 document boxes)


Note: This document last updated 2006 January 3.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Unknown.

Processed by: Unknown.

Processing Note:

Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives:


  • [Guests at the Unveiling of the Edward Miner Gallaudet statue] [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 187-4


  • Wesley Lauritsen [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits
  • Photograph album of Robert Werdig [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Photograph Album AL 63
  • Photograph album of Wesley Lauritsen and LaReine Roper [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Photograph Album AL 95


  • Papers, Wesley Lauritsen, 1949-1961. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS

Vertical Files

  • Wesley Lauritsen. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Wesley Lauritsen was born on January 20, 1898 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He came to America when he was five years old and attended the Minneapolis Public Schools from 1904 to 1912. Lauritsen lost his hearing at age 14 in December 1912 after falling to the frozen ground from the roof helping his father to shingle the roof. He always referred to his deafness as a “Blessing in Disguise.” Eventually, Lauritsen attended the Minnesota School for the Deaf from 1915 to 1917 and went to Gallaudet College. He graduated from there with a Bachelor’s degree in 1922 and received his Master’s degree 11 years later. In 1963, Lauritsen was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Gallaudet University.

His career began at the Kendall School for a year from 1921 to 1922 then he moved back to Minnesota. Lauritsen taught at the Minnesota School for the Deaf for 40 years and he was also the athletic director. He was one of the active faculty members; he was also involved with the school publication, The Companion, for 21 years and helped other male faculty members to provide daily lectures for the students. Also in 1963, he wrote the centennial history of the school. After leaving the school system, he worked for the American Lutheran Church and had his own private business until full retirement in 1985.

He met his first wife, LaReine Roper, at Gallaudet College and they were the only couple to get married in the Minnesota School for the Deaf school auditorium in 1925. They had three children together. After his first wife’s death in 1972, he married his second wife, Ida Bren in 1973. Lauritsen was very devoted to his alma maters and the Minnesota School for the Deaf eventually named their gym after him in 1972.

He was also very involved in the deaf community; Lauritsen was a member of the Faribault Chapter for the National Fraternity for the Deaf, Minnesota Association for the Deaf, and the Charles Thompson Hall in St. Paul.

Mr. Lauritsen passed away on January 2, 1992 at age 93. His motto in life was “Good Work is never lost.”

Scope and Content

The Wesley Lauritsen collection consists of five boxes. Majority of the papers involves articles, clippings and letters that Lauritsen wrote. Also, there are information about his times at Gallaudet College and his awards that he received after. Also, there are documents about the organizations that he was involved with. Scrapbooks are also placed in this collection.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No Series

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 Articles Written by Wesley Lauritsen 1922-1963
1 2 Articles Written by Wesley Lauritsen 1922-1963
1 3 Athletic Books 1946-1985
1 4 Church 1931-1985
1 5 Clippings 1917-1922
1 6 Gallaudet College 1917-1986
2 1 Gallaudet College 1917-1986
2 2 Gallaudet Memorial 1926-1931
2 3 Honors 1929-1985
2 4 Honors 1929-1985
2 5 Lauritsen, LaReine 1972-1973
2 6 Lauritsen, Wesley 1946-1986
2 7 Letters 1941-1980
2 8 Letters and Articles 1941-1985
3 1 Magazines (Part 1) 1915-1965
3 2 Magazines (Part 2) 1915-1965
3 3 Magazines & Clippings 1934-1967
3 4 Master’s Thesis 1933
3 5 Minnesota School. for the Deaf 1922-1986
3 6 National Fraternal Society of the Deaf 1950-1985
4 1 Sign Language n.d.
4 2 Speeches & Letters 1922-1980
5 1 Scrapbooks n.d.

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