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Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.) records, 1893-1995


Collection Title:    
Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.) records

Collection Number:

1893-1995 and undated

493 boxes (209.5 linear feet) and 4 oversized boxes

English, Swedish

Beck, Lars Herman, 1859-1935
Froeberg, Peter, 1873-1954
Erickson, Carl Gustav, 1877-1936
Lawson, Evald Benjamin, 1904-1965
Fjellman, Carl Gustaf, 1919-2011
Felder, Rodney O., 1927-1997
Schramm, David E., 1936-
Karsten, Robert E., 1930-
DeLomba, Paul Victor, 1935- 
Subject Headings:
Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.)
Universities and colleges.
Swedish Americans—Education
Education, Higher--Administration.
Swensson, Jonas, 1828-1873

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.

Upsala College was a Swedish-American college, founded by the Augustana Synod, in East Orange, New Jersey form 1893 to 1995. The records largely consist of papers of the presidents and other administrative offices. Also contains some faculty publications, records of student organizations, photographs and scrapbooks depicting campus life and some audiovisual materials.  


Conditions Governing Access:    
Collection is open for research. Some personnel files in Series VII: Faculty Paper restricted until 2075.

Technical Access:    
The Swenson Center does not own playback equipment required for use of some video recordings in this collection.

Reproduction and Use:    
Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the Swenson Center and the copyright holder. 

Preferred Citation:
[item identification], in I/O:58 Upsala College records, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. 


The Upsala College records were donated to the Swenson Center by the last president of the College, Paul V. DeLomba on May 15, 1995. 

Source of Acquisition:    
Gift of Upsala College in 1995 (1995.45). 

Past accruals added to the collection, but not documented. Ceremonial mace added in 2013 (2013.17).

Location of Copies:    
Digital reproductions of some photographs and artifacts in this collection are available in the PastPerfect Collections Database by searching “I/O: 58” at

Related Materials:    
MSS P:346 Peter Froeberg family letters, autobiography, and other materials, 1894-1954

MSS P:317 Upsala College Professor David F. Barry papers

Processed By:    
Robert Pearson and Christina Johansson. Additional processing and finding Aid updated in 2018 by Lisa Huntsha.


Administrative/Biographical History:    
Upsala College was founded at the annual Augustana Synod meeting in Rock Island, Illinois, in 1893.  Lars Herman Beck was called by the Augustana Synod to become the 1st President.  Beck met with the first 16 students in a church basement in Brooklyn in October of 1893.  After having held classes in various church basements throughout Brooklyn, the school was in 1898 offered land and some monetary funds by the New Orange Industrial Association in rural Kenilworth, New Jersey.  The first building on the new grounds was "Old Main," followed by a dormitory, a Commercial Hall and a gymnasium.  Upsala became a four year degree college in 1903 and graduated its first students with B.A. degrees in 1905.  Beck resigned from the position of President in 1910.  

An Upsala College graduate, Rev. Peter Froeberg assumed the presidency in 1910.  Froeberg's most important task at Upsala became fund raising. The college's finances were in a desperate financial condition and during the first few years, Froeberg often borrowed money in his own name to pay the debts. He finally secured a mortgage from Scandia Life Insurance Company in New York, which was large enough to pay off all the debts end the foreclosing procedures.   

C.G. Erickson assumed the presidency of Upsala College in 1920 and served the College until 1936.  Erickson was instrumental in reorganizing the curriculum and the faculty and the student body increased from 300 to 1,500 during his tenure. He also led the New York and New England conferences of the Augustana Synod in raising $465, 000 to redevelop the school.  In 1923, the college also purchased 45 acres of land in East Orange, New Jersey, where a new campus was erected. 

The Rev. Evald Benjamin Lawson became president of the College in 1938, a position he held until he died in 1965.  During Lawson's long tenure as president the college expanded physically and new buildings were buildt, the Beck Hall, residence halls, library and a chapel.  Lawson was an enthusiastic representative for the College and he formed close ties between with the synod and the College.

Carl Gustaf Fjellman assumed the presidency in 1966.  Fjellman oversaw the completion of the Puder Hall of the sciences in 1968, the College Center, and a new town house complex, which were both built in 1970.  Multiculturalism and intergration became key issues for the administration during Fjellman's presidency.  A few factors that most likely contributed directly to new challenges for Upsala administration in the late 1960s was the economic downturn in the urban area of East Orange and the riots in neighboring Newark in 1967. 

Rodney Felder became the sixth president in 1976 and stayed at Upsala until 1984.   During this period the school expanded and added a  second campus (Wirths) in Sussex County.   

David E. Schramm was elected president in 1986 and stayed in that position for only two years.  The College was suffering from both declining enrollment during the 80s and tax base from the city of East Orange.   

Robert E. Karsten became the president of Upsala College in 1988 when the school was suffering from serious economic problems.  After decades of downsizing, Karsten worked diligently to increase the student enrollment and improve the academic standards of the students admitted.  He brought in both a number of international students and students outside the immediate commuting area.  He also initiated renovations of buildings and major cleaning of the grounds.  Despite the committed leadership of Karsten and improvements of the both the student body and the campus the economic situation worsened.  A $4 million dollar loan from sister colleges in the Midwest was not enough to keep the College solvent. 

Paul V. DeLomba was hired in 1994 by the Board of Directors to close the College and Upsala College closed on May 31, 1995.

Scope and Content:
The records covers much of the life and scope of the College from its founding in 1893 to the closing in 1995.  Included are the papers of the Presidents, the records from the Dean's offices, the minutes of the Board of Directors, the comptroller, and other administrative offices.  The collection also contains  faculty publications, records of student organizations such as the Swedish literary society Samfundet De Nio, and photographs depicting early campus life.   

Please note: Student transcripts are held by Felician College in New Jersey.

System of Arrangement:    
The collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Presidential Papers 
Subseries 1: Lars Herman Beck 1st President, 1893-1910
Subseries 2: Peter Froeberg 2nd president, 1910-1919
Subseries 3: Carl Gustav Erickson 3rd President, 1920-1936 
Subseries 4: Evald Benjamin Lawson 4th President, 1938-1965
Subseries 5: Carl Gustaf Fjellman 5th President, 1966-1976
Subseries 6: Rodney O. Felder 6th President, 1977-1984
Subseries 7: David E. Schramm 7th President, 1986-1988
Subseries 8: Robert E. Karsten 8th President, 1988-1994
Subseries 9: Paul V. DeLomba, 9th President, 1995
Subseries 10: Presidential Reports, 1937-1992

Series II: Chancellor and Deans’ Papers
Subseries 1: Chancellor Walter W. Weller, Jr., 1976-1977
Subseries 2: Dean Frans August Ericsson, 1925-1949
Subseries 3: Associate Academic Dean William J. Alexander, 1968-1992
Subseries 4: Vice President and Dean H. Edwin Titus, 1982-1991

Series III: Board of Trustees 

Series IV: Financial Documents
Subseries 1: Comptroller Carl Glans records, 1954-1989
Subseries 2: Grants, 1978-1991

Series V: Assessment, Self-Studies, Accreditation 

Series VI: General Administrative Files 

Series VII: Faculty Papers

Series VIII: Student Papers  

Series IX: Department of Education 

Series X: Personal Papers from the Upsala Archives 

Series XI: Upsala College History

Series XII: Women’s Auxiliary 

Series XIII: Alumni Papers 

Series XIV: Architectural Plans and Drawings

Series XV: Wirths Campus

Series XVI: Photographs

Series XVII: Artifacts

Series XVIII: Audiovisual Materials

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