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RG2996.AM:  Brugger Family

Papers:  c.1882-1987, and undated

Columbus, Platte County, Neb.:

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Melchior Brugger (1854-1935) emigrated with his family from Switzerland in 1873. They homesteaded at Nobeville near Columbus, Nebraska. In 1874 Melchior moved to Columbus where he taught school. From this beginning he went on to prominence with careers in education and banking. His wife, Mathilde Stenger Brugger (1861-1957), was a native of the Alsace region of France. She came to Nebraska with her family in 1873. The Bruggers were married in 1884. They established their residence in 1887 at 870 17th Avenue in Columbus, which would be the family home for over 100 years.

The Bruggers were long identified with the civic, cultural, and religious life of Columbus. They were influential in establishing and maintaining Columbus’ Public Library, and Mrs. Brugger did much work toward women’s suffrage.

The Bruggers had five children: Albert, Melvin, Elise, Helen (who married D.M. Beal), and Florence. Of special note is daughter Florence, whose career in psychiatric social work and interest in other cultures took her throughout the world. See RG5457 for more information about Florence Brugger. See also: RG2996.AU for recorded interviews relating to the Brugger Family, and RG2996.PH for photos of family members and the Brugger home.


This collection of papers of the Brugger Family is arranged in the following way:

Series 1 – Correspondence, 1824, 1906-1987 & n.d.

Series 2 – Writings, c.1909-c.1956

Series 3 – Miscellany, c.1882-1986 & n.d.

The materials in this collection relate to the life and history of the Brugger Family of Columbus, Nebraska, and to a smaller extent to the history of Columbus. Three areas of the collection provide an especially good source of information on the Bruggers and Columbus: the correspondence of Series 1 (some of this relates to times at which family members were on trips or away at school); the writings of Series 2, which include reminiscences of Melchior Brugger, memoirs of Mathilde Brugger, and other significant first-person accounts; and clippings in Series 3 that document facts about family members. Materials are generally arranged by family member or topic.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1906-1987 & n.d.

Box 1


  1. Correspondence, Frederique Charles, 1824

  2. Correspondence, Melchior Brugger, 1922-1923

  3. Correspondence, Mathilde Stenger Brugger, 1922, n.d.

  4. Correspondence, Elise Brugger, 1906-1923

  5. Correspondence, Helen Brugger Beal, 1906-1917, n.d.

  6. Correspondence, travels of Brugger sisters, 1959, 1972-1987

  7. Correspondence and receipts, American Society for the relief of French War Orphans, 1917

Series 2 – Writings, c.1909-c.1956

  1. Reminiscences of Melchior Brugger, 1934

  2. Memoirs of Mathilde Stenger Brugger, 1930-1932

  3. Reminiscences of Helen Brugger, 1910

  4. Family history by Theodore Brugger, 1932

  5. Notes on early church history in Columbus, Nebraska by Mathilde Brugger, c.1956

Series 3 – Miscellany, c.1882-1986 & n.d.

  1. Clippings re Brugger family (esp. Melchior, Mathilde and general family), c.1882-1986, n.d.

  2. Clippings and written histories of Stenger and Brugger homes, 1980, n.d.

  3. Clippings, letters, lists re women’s suffrage movement, 1914-1980

  4. Memorial service text, Melchior Brugger, 1935

  5. Memorial service text, Elise Brugger, 1971

  6. Birmele Family Tree


Subject headings:

American Society for the Relief of French War Orphans

Banks and banking. Columbus, Nebraska

Beal, Helen Frances (Brugger)

Brugger, Florence

Brugger, (Mathilde) Elise(beth), 1887-1971

Brugger, Mathilde (Stenger), 1860-1957

Brugger, Melchior, 1854-1935

Brugger, Theodore, -1948

Columbus, Nebraska — Churches

Columbus, Nebraska — History

European War, 1914-1918

Social work — Nebraska

Stenger Family

Women — equal rights

Women in Nebraska


07-22-1996   KFK

12-06-2004   TMM