Collection inventory

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John Niemi Papers

An inventoryof his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: Mar 2008

Biographical History

John Niemi (1933-2004) was born in Michigan to parents who emigrated to the United States from Finland. After graduating from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Michigan in 1952 and from Michigan State in 1954, he later earned a Master's Degree from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles (1967).

Niemi spent more than fifty years in the field of adult education, much of it at Northern Illinois University (NIU). His early experience teaching functionally illiterate Army enlistees in Alaska began a lifelong interest in adult education for military personnel, and led to a 25-year partnership between NIU and the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. In addition to his work at NIU, Niemi taught and conducted research at the University of Helsinki and other Finnish universities, and organized congresses that brought together American, Finnish, Russian, and Scandinavian adult educators. He wrote more than 150 articles and four books on adult literacy, mass media and adult education, and the use of technologies in the classroom.

He was a constant advocate for and inspiration to his students, and was recognized numerous times for his deep dedication to both the field of adult education and the individual students whom he encountered over his career. His honors include a Fulbright scholarship, an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki (1986), Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award from Gogebic Community College (1999), Distinguished Teaching Professor at NIU, Distinguished Teaching Alumnus at the University of California-Los Angeles, and Honorary Professor, Shanghai Second Institute. In 2001 he was named a Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland by the Republic of Finland. NIU's John A. Niemi Memorial Scholarship is named in his honor.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Niemi Papers includes a considerable amount of writing by Niemi, including course outlines, bibliographies, articles, papers, clippings, speeches, and presentations. Other material relates to topics relevant to Niemi's research and work, including volunteerism, cross-cultural communication, educational television, graduate programs at NIU and other colleges, and adult education in Finland, Russia and China. Three-quarters of one box relates to NIU's management of Clearinghouse ADELL, a central repository and disseminator of materials useful to educators of adults.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection remains in original order and in original folders. The inventory below is a box list; folder titles are those supplied.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has more than 50 collections of both individuals and organizations related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing. See also the Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Subject Headings


Niemi, John A.

Corporate Bodies

Commission of Professors of Adult Education.
Clearinghouse ADELL.
Northern Illinois University.


Adult education -- Alaska.
Adult education -- Archival resources.
Adult education -- Canada.
Adult education -- China.
Adult education -- Finland.
Adult education -- History.
Adult education -- Research.
Adult education -- Russia.
Adult education -- United States.
Adult education teachers -- Training of.
Continuing education.
Elementary education of adults.
Universities and colleges -- Graduate work.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Course outlines.
Minutes (administrative records)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Niemi Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John Niemi.

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