Esping Family Papers

MSS 97
0.25 linear feet


Esping family.


English, Swedish


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Access points:

Esping, Otto William.
Esping, Axel.
Esping, Julius.
Andreen, Gustav Albert, 1864-1940.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

Finding aid prepared by:

Allison James, 2007.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Custodial History
Family History
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Container List
Related Materials


The photocopy of the diary of William Otto Esping was received July 1, 1981 from Marybeth Peterson of Minneapolis, Minnesota.



The Esping family emigrated to Illinois from their home in Döderhult, Sweden in 1853. Their name's origin, "asping" or "snake," refers to the movement of ships on water and was awarded to the Esping ancestors who helped construct the king's ships. The family line and genealogy is extensive, but this collection focuses mainly on Julius Esping, his wife Sophie Bezelius, and their direct line. They had seven children: Julius Lambert, Otto William, Ludwig, Oscar Axel (often called Axel), Wilhelmina, Gustaf Robert, and Hilda Hilda married Andrew Andreen and their son, Gustav Andreen, would go on to be president of Augustana College in 1901. Julius and Axel were members of the 45th Infantry of Illinois during the Civil War. Axel was killed in action on June 25th, 1863 during the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. It is unclear whether or not he was awarded a commission the day of his death.



The Esping Family papers contain four series: Diary, Correspondence, Civil War, and Genealogy.

The Diary of Otto William Esping, 1869-1875 series consists of a photocopied English translation of the diary with an introduction and genealogical notes by the translator, Emory Johnson.

The Correspondence, 1872-1920 series includes letters between Otto William Esping and his nephew Gustav Andreen, as well as those written by Esping family members Axel, Ida, T.F., Mary, Emma, Paul and Lydia.

The Civil War, 1911 and undated series contains letters from Gustav Andreen to the U.S. Secretary of War and the Adjutant General inquiring about the rank and status of his relative Axel Esping the day he died in battle. Also included are the Secretary's responses and a newspaper clipping with the history of the Illinois 45th Infantry. "Julius L. and Axel Esping in the Civil War" is an unsigned bound manuscript in Swedish.

The Genealogy, 1949-1983 and undated series contains research on the Esping family history by E. Gilbert Swanson and other family members. These documents are in both Swedish and English and includes a working version of the Esping Genealogy Chart.



Box 1
      Series I. Diary of Otto William Esping, 1869-1875
            Diary of Otto William Esping, 1869-1875

      Series II. Correspondence, 1872-1920
            Letters from Otto William Esping, 1872-1920
            Letters from other Esping family members, 1892-1911 and undated
            Letters from Gustav Andreen, 1911-1920

      Series III. Civil War, 1911 and undated
            Letters and clippings, 1911 and undated
            "Julius L. and Axel Esping in the Civil War" bound manuscript, undated

      Series IV. Genealogy
            Family tree research, 1949 and undated
            Correspondence, 1977-1983



MSS 4 Gustav Andreen papers; MSS 314 Gould D. Molineaux diaries

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