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William J. Wellisch Papers

Identifier: M390


This collection contains personal material gathered, acquired, and created by William Wellisch (1938-2015) during his travels among and studies of Latin and South American cultures. These materials include textiles, objects, and photographs, many framed in glass and wrapped to prevent breakage.


  • 1980 - 2000


Biographical / Historical

William Wellisch was born in Vienna, Austria on July 3, 1938. His parents fled Austria in 1940, among the last Jewish families to leave before the Nazis closed the borders. The family settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota and became naturalized citizens in 1945. William received a BA in Sociology and from the University of Minnesota in 1959. In 1965, he received a second BA for Secondary Education. In 1968, he received an MA from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Sociology. While he finished his coursework for his doctorate, he never completed his dissertation and so never formally received his PhD. At 21, he was arrested in Minneapolis for distributing circulars and pamphlets in a park, but was able to successfully argue that the arrest was a violation of his first amendment right to free speech. In 1961-1962, he took a 12,000 mile, 17-month hitchhiking trip through Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Latin and South America. William Wellisch taught for 11 years at the Community College of Denver, Red Rocks Campus. He also volunteered for Amnesty International, and was an active campaigner for animal rescue. He was briefly married to a woman named Judy Wellisch, from 1968-1972 or 1973. He adopted her daughter, Brandi Lynn Wellisch Pate, but little is known about this part of his life.


15.5 Linear Feet

16.54 Linear Feet (17 containers)

Scope and Contents

This collection is currently sorted into three (3) series. Series 1: Biographical. Series 2: Photographs. Series 3: Textiles and Objects.

Separated Materials

Map of Goiânia, Brazil cataloged separately at SPEC COLL MAPS G5404.G64 1992 .E3

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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