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Peter Froeberg family letters, autobiography, and other materials, 1894-1954


Collection Title:    
Peter Froeberg family letters, autobiography, and other materials

Collection Number:    
MSS P:346    

1894-1954 and undated

1 box (.5 linear feet)

Swedish, English

Froeberg, Peter, 1873-1954
Subject Headings:    
Froeberg, Sven, 1880-1966
Heng, Susan Belding Froeberg
Augustana Theological Seminary (Rock Island, Ill.)
Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.)
Immigrants--Employment--United States.
Immigrants--Education--United States.
Emigration & immigration--Swedish--United States--1890-1920.
First Lutheran Church (Brockton, Mass.)
Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kan.)
Letters--19th century.
Letters--20th century. 

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

Letters from Peter Froeberg (Augustana Theological Seminary graduate and president emeritus of Upsala College) to his brother, Sven Froeberg, after immigrating to the United States. Letters describe their experience as immigrants trying to find employment, education, pastoral work, and familial matters. Peter serves as a mentor to his younger brother. Collection also contains background information on the brothers, Peter Froeberg’s autobiography, and audio recordings of Peter and photographs of Peter’s family. 


Conditions Governing Access:    
Collection is open for research.

Technical Access:    
Use of a cassette deck is necessary for audio 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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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 MSS P:346, Peter Froeberg family letters, autobiography, and other materials, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. 


Letters were received and kept by Sven Froeberg, Peter Froeberg’s brother. Sven had no descendants and upon his death Olga Froeberg (Sven’s youngest sibling) served as executor of his estate. At some point Olga passed these letters on to Theodore Froeberg, Peter’s oldest son. After Theodore’s death, Susan Froeberg Heng (Theodore’s daughter) kept the letters before donating them to the Swenson Center. 

Source of Acquisition:    
Gift of Susan Belding Froeberg Heng in 2017. 

Related Materials:        
I/O:58 Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.) records

Processed By:    
Finding aid written by Lisa Huntsha, 2017 following DACS description convention.


Administrative/Biographical History:    
Peter Froeberg (Måns Petter Fröberg) was born in Tingsas Parish, Småland, Sweden on October 23, 1873 to Gustaf Magnuson and Eva Petersdotter Fröberg. He immigrated to America in June 1890 to meet his sister in New York. Peter and his siblings took the last name Froeberg upon immigrating. Peter worked for two months on a vegetable farm in Hemstead, Long Island, then for Elias Johnson in a book and stationary store in Brooklyn. He enrolled when Upsala Academy opened in 1893, as the first pupil to register. In 1898, he graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois after just two years. Peter then became a lay preacher in Connecticut before enrolling in Augustana Theological Seminary and becoming ordained in 1902. He then served as pastor in Orange, Massachusetts and established other Lutheran churches in New England. He then served in Bridgeport, Connecticut for seven years before accepting a call to the presidency of Upsala College at that time in Kenilworth, New Jersey. He was charged with raising money to pay off the college’s debts. After succeeding in this task and receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity, Peter returned to his pastoral work. In 1918, he went to First Lutheran Church in Brockton, Massachusetts where he served until his retirement in 1945. He held many offices and served on various boards throughout his career including the Upsala College board, President of New England Conference Luther League, President of Boston District, President of Brockton Ministers Union, Orange School Board, Lutheran Children’s Home (Avon, Massachusetts), Immigrants and Seaman’s Home (East Boston), Swedish Old People’s Home (Worcester), Foreign Missionary Board of the U.L.C. (Baltimore), and Brockton Public Library. Peter married Annette Anderson of Princeton, Illinois on June 3, 1903. Annette was a pianist and served on various women’s societies of the church, including as President of the Woman’s Home & Foreign Missionary Society of the Brockton Church. Together they had 10 children; Arlene Linnea (1904), Signe Annette (1906), Helga Margaret Camilla (1908), Theodore Carl Peter (1910), Dorothy Louise (1915), Gustav Joseph (1917), Bertil Lennart (1919), Leroy Hilding (1922), Kenneth Erland (1924), and Paul Eugene (1926). Peter died November 16, 1954. Sven Froeberg was the second son to Gustaf Magnuson and Eva Petersdotter Fröberg, and brother to Peter Froeberg. He was born in 1880 in Tingsas Parish, Småland, Sweden. He immigrated to America in June 1893 at the same time as his older sister Anna. Sven was only 13 at the time and attended public school while Peter partially supported him. When Peter moved from New York City the brother’s correspondence began. Sven was a student at Upsala College, but then transferred to Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, even after Peter strongly suggested he go to Augustana College instead. He later earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1908. He taught for some time at Upsala College, teaching many courses in the sciences, philosophy, and psychology. He was unhappy at his salary, and left to accept a position at University of Michigan. He was only at Michigan for two years before moving on to Pennsylvania State College, University of Utah, and finally Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota where he remained for 25 years. He also worked with the war department during World War I. After retiring in 1945, he moved to Delano, Florida and died on October 11, 1966. There is a 25 year gap in the letters (from 1920-1945). It is believed the brothers were estranged over difficulties at Upsala College. 

Scope and Content:    
Letters were written by Peter Froeberg and sent to his brother, Sven Froeberg, over the course of 65 years. The location of Sven’s letters to Peter is not known. 

Background information was compiled and letters were numbered by Susan Froeberg Heng, donor. Susan had the first 98 letters translated from Swedish to English by Dr. Maria Erling.

System of Arrangement
System of arrangement was imposed by Susan Froeberg Heng. Items are arranged by background information (including photographs and descendants list), translated letters (chronological), original letters (chronological), and audio cassettes. 

Collection Inventory:    
Box 1
1.    Acknowledgements of Susan Belding Froeberg Heng (donor) & Table of Contents
2.    Background information on Peter Froeberg
3.    Photographs of Peter Froeberg and family (originals and photocopies)
4.    Photographs of houses matching the address of Peter’s letters in Rock Island, Illinois, 1896-1902 (taken by Susan Heng)
5.    Background information on Sven Froeberg
6.    Autobiography of Peter Froeberg (Måns Petter Fröberg)
7.    Descendants of Peter and Annette Froeberg
8.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1894-1899, #1-34 (English translations)
9.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1900-1903, #35-54 (English translations)
10.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1903-1908, #55-98 (English translations)
11.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1894-1899, #1-20 (Swedish)
12.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1898-1900, #21-40 (Swedish)
13.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1900-1903, #41-59 (Swedish)
14.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1903-1905, #60-87 (Swedish)
15.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1905-1911, #88-125 (Swedish)
16.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1911-1920, #126-166 (Swedish)
17.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1945-1949, #167-180 (Swedish, English)
18.    Letters from Peter Froeberg to Sven Froeberg, 1949-1954, #181-198 (English)
19.    Two audio cassette tapes labeled “Peter Froeberg”

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