Matilda Stoxen

Mis. Stoxen.tif


Matilda Stoxen

Biographical Text

Matilda Stoxen was born and raised in the Slope County area. She attended elementary school in Taylor, and continued her education at Valley City Normal School and Dickinson Normal School. She was a member of the first graduating class of Dickinson Normal in 1920.

In two years, she completed two years of high school and two years of college level work. The Dickinson Press of August 7, 1920, headlined a front page story by saying "Taylor Sisters Work Together in School Life," and went on to say It is not an uncommon thing for three sisters to graduate from the same school, but it becomes a unique distinction when three sisters who have graduated from the same educational institution secure teaching positions in the same school later on. Such is the case of three Taylor young ladies, the Misses Hulda, Clara, and Matilda Stoxen, who were awarded diplomas at the completion of Advanced courses at the close of the summer term of the Dickinson Normal School last week...the young ladies, all of whom have had previous teaching experience besides their Normal training, are especially well fitted in their profession.

As an elementary teacher, Miss Stoxen taught in rural schools around Taylor, as well as the public schools in New England and finally Dickinson Model High. It was while she was there that she came to the attention of Dr. May. In 1925 she joined the faculty of Model High at Dickinson Normal School, agreeing to finish the school year for someone who had become ill. That year, she taught several classes of women's physical education, directed the high school play, and tutored high school students in general history (her major at the University of Minnesota).

At the end of spring quarter in 1926, Dr. May offered Miss Stoxen the position as librarian at the college if she would do post-graduate studies in library science. This she did, attending summer sessions at the University of Minnesota for several years. She received her master's degree from that institution.

In addition to her library duties, she taught high school English, physical education, and general history. At that time, there were approximately 2,100 books in the library. When the library was named for her, in 1961, there were 28,000 books.

Miss Stoxen was one who acted in the best interests of the college in her own quiet and unobtrusive way. She coached plays for ten years, including twenty major productions, founded Alpha Psi Omega fraternity for drama students, wrote the Wintercount for the annual Homecoming banquets for many years, was an active member of AAUW, and ardently and zealously worked to promote the Alumni Association. Delta Kappa Gamma, St. Cecilia Club, and Retired Teachers of Dickinson also claimed her as an active member.

During many of her summers, she visited, at her own expense, libraries on other campuses to discover the most efficient and friendly usage which could be rendered to students in search of knowledge.

She and her sisters established the Taylor Nursery in the mid 1950s and kept possession of their parents' farm in that area. For 25 years, she was the choir director and organist in her church in Taylor, where she maintained her residence.

Miss Stoxen saw the library grow from a disorganized array of books and magazines to a building housing tens of thousands of volumes, and brought order to the repository to which she devoted her life. Students now have access, through the library, to more than eleven million volumes and periodicals.

Today, Stoxen Library is filled with computers as well as reference books. The Library is a member of ODIN, the online Dakota Information Network; contains over 90,000 volumes; more than 600 current print periodical subscriptions; has access to more than 6,000 online periodicals; and has federal and state documents collections which are accessible via the Library’s web page. But the most important part of the library is the students who use it as they study and learn. Each of them is proof positive that Matilda Stoxen contributed, in her own quiet way, to the good of "The College on The Hill." Stoxen Library serves as a fitting honor that Miss Stoxen richly deserves.



“Matilda Stoxen ,” Dickinson State University Archive, accessed June 26, 2019,