Reta A. Madsen Papers


The description below provides some basic information about the origin of the collection, the materials available, and any restrictions in use that are in place. Note that the list of materials may not be complete as items may be added to the archives throughout the year. Use of the Webster Archives is by appointment only. See our Planning a Visit page for more information. If you have questions, contact the archives staff.


[portrait of Reta Madsen]

Date(s): mainly 1950s through 1990s

Physical extent: 19 folders

Name of Creator: Madsen, Reta

Administrative/Biographical History: Reta Madsen (née Anderson) was born on October 29, 1933, and raised primarily in Nashville, TN. She earned two degrees from Vanderbilt University. She then went on to complete a Ph.D. in English at Yale University and began her career as an English professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. From there she took a position in the English Department of Emory University in Atlanta, where she met and married William Madsen, also an English professor at Emory. The couple moved to St. Louis in 1968.

Reta joined Webster University in 1968 and later served 14 years as Chair of the English Department. There she built a strong faculty and a dynamic undergraduate curriculum, and focused the department on teaching and giving opportunities to non-traditional students. Upon her retirement from Webster in 1998, she was given the title Professor Emeritus.

After retiring from Webster, Reta taught drama classes to prisoners through Prison Performing Arts for more than a decade. She passed away in New York City on February 26, 2011.

Scope/Content: Contents mainly consist of various course notes, lectures, and papers written while she was a student.

System of Arrangement: alphabetical by folder title

Conditions of Access and Use: The collection is open for research use by appointment only.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright restrictions may apply.

Languages and Scripts of the Material: Materials entirely in English.

Finding Aids: Madsen box list

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Materials were donated by her family.

References: Memorial Service program, March 26, 2011

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