A Guide to the Kellersberger Family Papers, 1837-1990
In 1849, at the age of 28, Getulius Kellersberger emigrated to the United States from Switzerland. He was an engineer and urban planner who worked with Frederick Olmstead on the design of Central Park in New York and later laid out the first map of the city of Oakland, California. When the Civil War broke out, Getulius Kellersberger returned to Central Texas, where the rest of his family had already settled. During the war, he designed and supervised the construction of the Confederacy's defenses at Fort Manhasset, including the famous "Quaker guns"--fake cannons made of plywood.
Getulius' son Julius (J.R.) Kellersberger was born in 1856 in San Francisco. In 1884 he bought a store in Cypress Mill, Texas, where he raised his family and was prominent in the civic and social life of the community.
Julius' fourth child, Eugene, was born in 1888. He grew up in Cypress Mill and attended the Whitis prep school and the University of Texas at Austin. He received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and decided to embark on a life of missionary service, treating lepers in the Belgian Congo. Dr. Kellersberger remained in Africa for 25 years, gaining renown for his treatment of leprosy and sleeping sickness.
Edna Bosch, Dr. Kellersberger's first wife, contracted sleeping sickness while in Africa but was cured through the use of a new drug. While recuperating in the United States, she was tragically murdered by her mother-in-law. Several years later Dr. Kellersberger married a fellow Christian missionary, Julia Lake Skinner. In his later years, he was a key figure in the activities of the American Leprosy Missions, becoming their general secretary in 1940. Eugene Kellersberger died in Texas in 1966.
Correspondence, diaries, printed material, photographs, creative works, legal documents, scrapbook material, map, and audio recording created and maintained by members of the Kellersberger family (1837-1990) document family members' lives and activities, most notably Getulius Kellersberger (1821-1902) and his grandson Eugene Kellersberger (1888-1966). The material is divided into three groups: the records of I. Eugene , II. Getulius, and III. other Kellersbergers and related family members.
The records in the first group include materials dealing with Dr. Kellersberger's medical contributions, such as his treatment of leprosy and sleeping sickness, as well as his role in the formation of American Leprosy Missions and his 25 years of medical missionary service in the Belgian Congo. Another series within this group concerns the trial of the woman accused of murdering Eugene Kellersberger's first wife, Edna.
Getulius Kellersberger's records describe his work as an engineer for the Confederate Army during the Civil War and as a city planner in New York and California. A copy of his memoirs is included. The third group of records focuses on other family members, such as Carl Matern, Eugene's grandfather on his mother's side, and Julius (J.R.) Kellersberger, Eugene's father. Other significant series are the correspondence and research notes of Annie Kellersberger Schnelle, Eugene's sister, and correspondence with Kellersberger family relatives in Switzerland.
This collection is open for research use.
Kellersberger Family Papers, 1837-1990, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by archives staff.
Detailed Description of the Papers