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RG3768.AM:  Esther (Gunnison) Kingdon, 1893-1972

Papers:  1920-1921; 1933

Hamilton County, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado:  Translator, Writer, Librarian

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Esther Gunnison, daughter of Alfred and Sophia (Johnson) Gunnison, was born in 1893 in Hamilton County, Nebraska.  She received an A.B. in English Literature from Greeley (Colorado) State Teachers College, having financed her education by teaching at rural Colorado schools.  After serving as a translator of Scandinavian languages for the Veterans’ Bureau in Washington, D.C., she spent a year at Oxford University in England, 1920-1921.  Upon her return from Oxford, Gunnison taught in Casper, Wyoming, where she met Justin Kingdon.  They married on August 15, 1924 in Denver, Colorado.  Esther eventually became involved in the Denver, Colorado Public Library System.  Her title when she retired was “Readers’ Advisor.”  She died in 1972.


This collection consists of four folders of papers relating to Esther Gunnison.  The first three folders relate to her time at the University of Oxford in 1920-1921.  The first folder contains letters written to her brother, Paul R. “Jim” Gunnison.  They discuss her school experiences, vacation in London, and trips throughout Europe.  A photocopied newspaper clipping containing excerpts of letters Esther Gunnison sent to her sister, while at Oxford, is also included.  The second folder holds Gunnison’s diary from 1920-1921.  Much of the information from the letters and diary appear in the article, “Esther Gunnison: A Nebraskan at Oxford, 1920-1921,” Nebraska History, vol. 59, no. 1, Spring 1978.  The third folder contains several miscellaneous items relating to the University of Oxford, including Esther’s certification as an Oxford student and a list of American members of Oxford University.  The last folder a photocopy of Esther Gunnison’s article “Ryssby, the First Swedish Settlement in Colorado,” which appeared in The Colorado Magazine, July 1933.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1920-1921

  2. Diary, 1920-1921

  3. University of Oxford materials, 1921

  4. “Ryssby, the First Swedish Settlement in Colorado,” The Colorado Magazine, July 1933.


Subject headings:

Educators — Colorado

England — Description and travel

Europe — Description and travel

Gunnison family

Kingdon, Esther (Gunnison), 1893-1972

Swedes in Colorado

University of Oxford

Women in Colorado


AIF                      12-12-1979

Revised TMM      11-20-2018