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Henry and Effie Osborn at home

Henry and Effie Osborn

So far, we haven’t come across documentation of Harry and Effie’s wedding and honeymoon but we may still find it in the Henry L. Osborn Family Papers, as there are many letters that have yet to be transcribed. The couple did go to Purdue for the 1886-1887 school year but the next year Harry joined the faculty of Hamline University as Joseph Dean Professor of Biology and Geology. (Letters Effie wrote to her mother and sister during their first year in Saint Paul can be found at the Minnesota Digital Library [http://reflections.mndigital.org/]). Harry remained at Hamline for more than 45 years, also serving as dean of the faculty and twice as acting president. Although they never returned East to live, Effie’s mother and sisters eventually joined them in Saint Paul. Harry died there on January 2, 1940, and Effie followed him on June 4, 1945.

Harry and Effie’s engagement correspondence is just a fraction of the collection. Also included are letters they wrote to each other during later separations (mostly transcribed at this point), correspondence to and from family members and others, travel journals, lecture notes, drawings, diaries, photographs, and realia. If you are interested in learning more about the couple or have information about them, please contact Hamline University’s archivist by telephone, mail or email (see below).

This project would not have been possible without the incredible dedication of long-time archives volunteer George Vane, who spent about ten hours a week over seven years transcribing letters in the Osborn Family Papers. Thank you, George! And, another thank you to all of our readers for joining us on this journey into the past!


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The Henry L. Osborn and Family Papers are owned by Hamline University and may not be published or extensively quoted without the written consent of the Hamline University Archives (Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104; 651-523-2080; archives@hamline.edu).