Henry and Effie Osborn at home

Henry and Effie Osborn

The inspiration for creating a blog for Hamline University’s archives was the nearly century-long collection of correspondence found in the Henry L. Osborn and Family Papers. Professor Osborn came to Hamline in 1887 and remained a presence on campus even after his retirement in 1933. The bulk of the correspondence, which begins with letters written by Osborn’s parents in 1849, is between Harry and his fiancée/wife, Effie, starting with their engagement in 1884.

Although they did not have a connection to Hamline at the time, we believe that you will find the correspondence during Harry and Effie’s engagement provides a fascinating glimpse into many facets of the period. Our intention is to post the letters (as PDFs) during the corresponding week 130 years later, beginning today.

“Do you wonder after all this that when your confession came at the last moment after I had lost all hope, and at such a time & in such a place, that I was completely dazed?” Osborn, Effie 1884-9-9

“Dont think it silly to say this but I can believe I can almost imagine what fainting for joy must be like.” Osborn, Henry 1884-9-9


The University Archives at Hamline University collects and preserves university records, publications, photographs, audio recording, moving images, artifacts, and other materials from the university’s early days in Red Wing to its present in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Henry L. Osborn and Family Papers are owned by Hamline University and may not be published or extensively quoted without the written consent of the Hamline University Archives (Hamline University, 1356 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104; 651-523-2080; archives@hamline.edu).