Christian F. M. Westphal Immigrant and Family Correspondence, 1856-1918

Collection Overview

Title: Christian F. M. Westphal Immigrant and Family Correspondence, 1856-1918

Record Series: MsC-87

Record Group:


Creator: The Westphal family

Date: 1856-1918

Extent: 2 boxes (0.83 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Language: The original material is almost entirely in German, but there are also English language translations.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Descendants of the Westphal family gave this collection to the Special Collections & University Archives in April 2016.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

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The material had already been sorted by correspondent and time period when it arrived.

Scope and Content

This is an exceptional collection of correspondence that documents the experiences of the Westphal family and its immigration from Germany to the United States.  The collection gives an excellent picture of ways in which the family adjusted to life in the United States over a long period of time.

Nearly all of the correspondence is in German and in the old Continental cursive hand. 

Overall, the material is in good physical condition.  The gift also included extensive and expert research on the history of the Westphal family by descendant Ellen Hanusa Wonderlin.  This excellent piece of scholarship will be an invaluable aid in using this collection. 


Box 1

The collection, sorted by correspondent and time period

Box 2

Passages, a history of the Christian F. M. Westphal family, by Ellen Hanusa Wonderlin, 2006

Processing Information

Collection processed by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, April 2016; updated, May 31, 2016 (GP). Last updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017. Linear feet count updated on August 7, 2017.