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Hildegard Nörenberg Collection

Identifier: MC-120
The collection consists of correspondence between Hildegard Nörenberg and her family, friends, and acquaintances around the world, as well as extensive correspondence between Nörenberg and her longtime sweetheart Hans Albert Silberberg beginning in the 1920s until his death in 1932. The materials also include postcards, family photographs, personal documents, and travel ephemera collected during her life and career as a nurse and midwife. The materials discuss personal relationships, Nörenberg's career as a nurse and midwife, and world events such as the Vietnam War.


  • Majority of material found within 1924 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.


3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Hildegard Anna Maria Nörenberg was born March 13, 1904 in Berlin-Tegel, Berlin, Germany. She trained as a midwife at the Clinic for Obstetrics of the University of Tübingen between 1935-1936. She was an active member of The Order of St. John during that time, doing both midwifery and infant care. She did not graduate high school, but after receiving a score of “very good” on a qualifying examination, was given special permission to attend college in Berlin as a student of medicine. She passed her qualifying examination with a mark of “good,” allowing her to practice as a state recognized nurse in Germany.

She acted as head nurse of the Delivery and Maternity Department at the Johanniter Hospital in Bonn, Germany, from March 1956 to May 1956.

She immigrated to the United States on September 15, 1956, arriving on the Berndt Leonhardt. Originally taking up residence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she worked for short periods at both the Wilmington General Hospital in Delaware, and the Delaware State Hospital at Farnhurst. Despite the language barrier, she was well received and well recommended by both institutions. She later moved to Huntsville, Alabama, because her sister Maria resided there. Her brother-in-law, Werner Kuers, was employed at Marshall Space Flight Center after immigrating to the United States to work on Operation Paperclip. While in Huntsville, Nörenberg worked as a midwife. She applied for permanent citizenship via the Birmingham, Alabama district court in 1958. She moved to Birmingham in the late 1950s, where she continued to work as a midwife. She died in July 1977.

In America, as in Germany, Hildegard was a prolific letter writer. She traveled regularly, within and without Germany, her visits often lasting long enough that she would both send and receive correspondence while she was away from home. She carefully saved the correspondence from friends and family, but especially that which she exchanged during the 1920s-1930s with her close friend and long-time love, Hans Albert Silberberg. Hans was a music student, pianist, and composer. He was also a regular traveler, sending Hildegard letters and postcards from wherever he happened to be – including onboard a ship crossing the ocean. He died in 1932, at the age of 25.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Anne Marie Kuers Martin, 2018.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
Caroline Gibbons, Tawny Hillis
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America