Solberg, Winton U. (1922-2019) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Solberg, Winton U. (1922-2019)

Historical Note:

Winton Udell Solberg (1922-2019) was visiting professor of history (1961-62); associate professor of history (1962-69); professor of history (1969-92); chair of the Department of History (1970-72); and professor emeritus (1992-2019) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He was a noted university administrator and a historian of American intellectual and cultural history who wrote two volumes on the history of UIUC.

Solberg was born on a farm near Aberdeen, South Dakota, on January 11, 1922, to parents Bertha G. Tschappat and Ole A. Solberg. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of South Dakota in 1943. Upon finishing school, he served in the US Army's Allied Expeditionary Forces during WWII as the second lieutenant of a heavy weapons platoon in the 115th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. He served in the Army of Occupation in Germany following WWII, and his Army service continued until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1982, including a stint as an instructor and assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1951-54). Solberg continued his education following WWII at Harvard University, earning a MA (1947) and a PhD (1954) in American history. He taught at Yale University (1954-58) and Macalaster College (1958-1961) before joining the history faculty at UIUC in 1961. Solberg specialized in American intellectual and cultural history, and he wrote on a variety of topics, including the creation of the US Constitution, the Puritan Sabbath in early colonial America, scientific thought in early America, the history of higher education, and the University of Illinois. His major publications include Redeem the Time: The Puritan Sabbath in Early America (1977); The University of Illinois, 1867â??1894: An Intellectual and Cultural History (1968); The University of Illinois, 1894-1904: The Shaping of the University (2000); and Creating the Big Ten: Courage, Corruption, and Commercialization (2018).

Solberg was active in his field, including serving as Vice President of the American Association of University Professors (AUUP) (1974-76), member of the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (1968-73), and president of American Society of Church History (1981-88). He was recognized by the University of South Dakota with an honorary doctorate (1987) and the UIUC Chancellorâ??s Medallion (2017).

Solberg married Constance Walton on November 8, 1952, and together they had three children. He died on July 10, 2019.


"Professor Emeritus, Winton Solberg, Chronicles How Big Ten Brought Order to College Football, Then Lost Its Way," Department of History (UIUC), April 27, 2018, accessed May 28, 2020,

"Winton Udell Solberg," News-Gazette, July 12, 2019, accessed May 28, 2020,

"Winton Solberg wins Chancellor's Medallion," Department of History (UIUC), June 26, 2017, accessed May 28, 2020,

"Winton Udell Solberg," Prabook, accessed January 26, 2021,

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