Museum logo

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Collection Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.) records
Collection Number I/O:58
Dates of Creation 1893-1995
Extent of Description 234.25 linear feet, 508 boxes
Language English, Swedish
Creator Upsala College (East Orange, N.J.)
Other Creators Beck, Lars Herman, 1859-1935
Froeberg, Peter, 1873-1954
Erickson, Carl Gustav, 1877-1936
Lawson, Evald Benjamin, 1904-
Fjellman, Carl Gustaf, 1919-
Felder, Rodney O., 1927-
Schramm, David E. , 1936-
Karsten, Robert E. , 1930-
DeLomba, Paul V.
Access Conditions The records are open for research.
Administrative or 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 offered land in 1898 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 condition. 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 the entire debt and 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 built, 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 integration 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 1980s 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 college, both the student body and the campus the economic situation worsened. Even a $4 million dollar loan from its Lutheran sister colleges in the Midwest was not enough to keep the situation solvent.

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



Scope & Content The records cover most aspects of the life and scope of Upsala College from its founding in 1893 to its closing in 1995.

** Please note that student transcripts are held by Felician College in New Jersey. Please contact Felician College for student transcripts or employement verification: www.felician.edu **

The records are divided into the following series:
Series I - Presidential papers, 1893-1995. This series contain the following sub-series:
1. Lars Herman Beck 1st President, 1893-1910
2. Peter Froeberg 2nd president, 1910-1919
3. Carl Gustav Erickson 3rd President, 1920-1936
4. Evald Benjamin Lawson 4th President, 1938-1965
5. Carl Gustaf Fjellman 5th President, 1966 -1976
6. Rodney O. Felder 6th President, 1977-1984
7. David E. Schramm 7th President, 1986-1988
8. Robert E. Karsten 8th President, 1988-1994
9. Paul V. DeLomba, 9th President, 1995
Series II - Dean's papers. This series contains the following sub-series:
1. Dean Frans August Ericsson, 1925-1940s
2. Associate Academic Dean William J. Alexander, 1968-1992
Series III - Board of Trustees minutes, 1921-1990
Series IV - Financial Documents and Comptroller records, 1954-1989
Series V - Assessments, Self-Studies, Accreditation records, 1928-1995
Series VI - General Administrative papers, 1930-1995
Series VII - Faculty papers, 1893-1995
Series VIII - Student organizations and papers, 1893-1995
Series IX - Department of Education papers, 1950s-1985
Series X - Personal Papers from the Upsala College Archives -
Personal papers of Walter Gustafson 1907-1973 and Axel Reynold Wallin, 1895-1953
Series XI - Upsala College History, 1895-1993
Series XII - Women's Auxiliary, 1925-1958
Series XIII - Alumni Papers, 1893-1991
Series XIV - Photographs, 1895-1990
Series XV - Architectural plans and drawings, 1898-1993
Series XVI - Wirth Campus papers, 1977-1992
Series XVII - Memorabilia


Finding Aid Link Finding Aid Link
Comments