Norman C. Stageberg Papers

Archives Record Series: 14/03/14

Norman C. Stageberg, (1905-1984). Papers, (1942-1980). 4 linear feet.



Norman Clifford Stageberg was born April 7, 1905, at Owatonna, Minnesota. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1926, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1932, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1946.

Before coming to UNI, Stageberg was a teacher at Valley Springs, Minnesota, from 1926-1929, and served as head of the English department at Faribault, Minnesota High School from 1929-1939. From 1942-1946 he served in the U.S. Army. He again served in the military from 1951-1953 with the Air Force as an instructor at Air University and the University of Alabama.

Norman Stageberg joined the UNI faculty in 1946 as Assistant Professor of English. He retired in 1972 with the rank of professor, which he achieved in 1960. He was a highly respected scholar with expertise in languagues, linguistics, ambiguity, and meaning.

Stageberg was most noted at UNI for creating a pioneering program in TEFL, Teaching of English as a Foreign language, in the 1960s.

Stageberg married first, in 1937, Alma, who died in 1975; then second, in 1975, Elaine McDavitt, a UNI faculty member, who died in 1979; and third, June Suzuki Talbott, a member of the UNI library staff.

Stageberg died on March 18, 1984. Under the terms of his will, he donated his professional linguistics collection to the UNI library. That collection remains intact in the Rod Library Special Collections division.

June Stageberg provided funds in Professor Stageberg's memory to furnish the Special Collections reading room. That gift was commemorated with a ceremony in Special Collections on April 18, 1997.



In the summer of 1997, June Stageberg donated this collection of papers to the Rod Library. The collection consists primarily of three categories of material: (1) material related to Professor Stageberg's textbooks; (2) material related to his classroom teaching; and (3) material relating to his continuing research interests in ambiguity and meaning. There is overlap among these three categories.

The current arrangement of these papers closely follows the rough subject arrangement in which Professor Stageberg kept his material.


Container Inventory


Box 1

Academic credentials, personnel file, and curriculum vitae; speech texts and notes; correspondence about textbooks; textbook permissions


Box 2

Notes for textbooks; structural ambiguity articles; structural ambiguity in writing; Stageberg publications


Box 3

Air Command and Staff School lectures; examinations; Communication 1 and 2 course packets; Grammar--class notes; English II class assignments including: Out of context, Change of wording, Synonyms, Omissions, Analogies, Fact-Opinion, Objective reports, and Emotive language; class worksheets and assignment sheets


Box 4

Abstract language and abstractions; Advanced Phonology; ambiguity--examples; analogy; Applied Linguistics; cause; classification; context; contrastive analysis


Box 5

Definitions; deskdictionaries; dialect maps and notes; Dutch-English; either-or; emotive words; generalization; generative grammar; Gleason--problems; grammar--clippings; idiocies (Iowa); intentional orientation; juncture--stress, pitch--clippings


Box 6

Language--clippings; logic--dilemmas, statistics; Malayan; meaning; meaning--multiple, shifted; metaphor; morphology; novel and short story; observation--inference; Old English; phonetics; phonetics--clippings; pidgin languages


Box 7

Problems in English grammar; propaganda; reification; semantics--clippings; sexism in language; slang; sonograms; sound symbolism; structurel ambiguity--Rus on Cummings; TEFL; television lecture--Shakespeare's sonnets; usage; vocabulary--clippings; Whorfian Hypothesis


Box 8

Notes on Ambiguity

Collection organized by Gerald Peterson, University Archivist, September 1997; finding aid created by Gerald Peterson and Susan Basye, December 1997.

Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913