October 29, 2022

Florence Brugger, 1901-1988 [RG5457.AM]


RG5457.AM:  Florence Brugger, 1901-1988

Papers:  1910-1978

Columbus, Platte County, Neb.:  Social Worker

Size:  4.5 cu. ft.


Florence Brugger was born March 27, 1901 in Columbus, Nebraska to a locally prominent family. Her Swiss-born father, Melchior Brugger (1854-1935) was an educator and banker in Columbus. Florence’s mother, French-born Mathilde Stenger Brugger (1861-1957), actively participated in the women’s suffrage movement. Florence had two brothers and two sisters.

A graduate of Columbus High School, Florence received her bachelors degree in Economics and Sociology from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1922. During the 1920s and 30s, Florence held a variety of jobs, including work with the Omaha Humane Society, the YWCA of New Britain, Connecticut, the Women’s Protective Association of Cleveland, Ohio, and the International Institute of San Francisco. In 1934, Florence earned her masters degree in social welfare from New York University.

After completing school in 1934, Florence accepted a position as the first psychiatric social worker at Queen’s Hospital in the territory of Hawaii. During World War II and the years that followed, Florence worked for the Red Cross and was stationed in various countries, including Egypt, the Philippines, and Japan. In 1951, Florence became chief social worker of the Veterans Hospital of Lincoln, Nebraska and held the position for 15 years. While working in Lincoln, she also taught at the University of Nebraska graduate school of social work.

Florence was active in many national and local groups during her lifetime. She was a charter member of the Soroptomist Club International of Honolulu, a longtime member of Social Workers of America, Nebraskans for Peace, the Asian Culture Center of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Columbus Area Arts Council. Florence donated money and books to many organizations, including the Platte County Historical Society and Central Community College-Platte Campus.

Florence died at Columbus Community Hospital on October 22, 1988. She arranged for her body to be donated to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for medical research.


This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in 3 series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Writings; and 3) Miscellaneous materials.

Series 1, Correspondence, is the largest of the series and includes letters to and from Florence. Most of the correspondence is between Florence and her immediate family.

Series 2, Writings, consists of Florence’s school papers, short stories, and diaries.

Series 3, Miscellaneous materials, contains biographical materials, certificates of achievement, and newspaper clippings.


Series 1 – Correspondence

Box 1


    1. Correspondence, 1910-1920

    1. Correspondence, 1922

    1. Correspondence, 1923

    1. Correspondence, 1924

    1. Correspondence, 1925, January-September

    1. Correspondence, 1925, October-November

    1. Correspondence, 1925, December

    1. Correspondence, 1926, January

    1. Correspondence, 1926, February-April

Box 2


    1. Correspondence, 1926, May-June

    1. Correspondence, 1926, July-October

    1. Correspondence, 1926, November

    1. Correspondence, 1926, December

    1. Correspondence, 1927, January

    1. Correspondence, 1927, February

    1. Correspondence, 1927, March-December

Box 3


    1. Correspondence, 1928

    1. Correspondence, 1929

    1. Correspondence, 1930

    1. Correspondence, 1931

    1. Correspondence, 1932

    1. Correspondence, 1933, January-June

    1. Correspondence, 1933, July-December

    1. Correspondence, 1934

Box 4


    1. Correspondence, 1935

    1. Correspondence, 1936

    1. Correspondence, 1937

    1. Correspondence, 1938

    1. Correspondence, 1939

    1. Correspondence, 1940

    1. Correspondence, 1941

    1. Correspondence, 1942, January-February

    1. Correspondence, 1942, March-December

Box 5


    1. Correspondence, 1943, January-April

    1. Correspondence, 1943, May-July

    1. Correspondence, 1943, August-December

    1. Correspondence, 1944, January-February

    1. Correspondence, 1944, March-April

    1. Correspondence, 1944, May-December

    1. Transcriptions of letters written during time in Egypt, 1943-44

    1. Correspondence, 1945

    1. Correspondence, 1946

    1. Correspondence, 1947

    1. Correspondence, 1948

Box 6


    1. Correspondence, 1949

    1. Correspondence, 1950, January-May

    1. Correspondence, 1950, June-December

    1. Correspondence, 1951

    1. Correspondence, 1952

    1. Correspondence, 1954

    1. Correspondence, 1956

    1. Correspondence, 1958

    1. Correspondence, 1959

    1. Correspondence, 1960

    1. Correspondence, 1964

    1. Correspondence, 1966

    1. Correspondence, 1978

Box 7


    1. Correspondence, undated

    1. Correspondence, undated and missing pages

Series 2 – Writings

    1. Florence’s diaries, 1914, 1915-1919

    1. Florence’s diaries, 1920-24, 1925-29

    1. Florence’s travel diary (1927) and locked diary

    1. Writings by Florence

    1. Short stories by Florence

Box 8


    1. Short stories by Florence

    1. Florence’s dissertation, Chinese-American Girls in New York

    1. Biography of Florenceís trip to Egypt, 1942

Series 3 – Miscellaneous Materials

    1. Biographical materials, including obituary, job history

    1. Florence’s certificates of achievement

    1. Miscellaneous newspaper clippings

    1. Photocopies of newspaper clippings

    1. Miscellaneous writings by other people

    1. Reports from Queen’s Hospital in Hawaii, 1935-37


04-2005   EC/tmm

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