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Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 136

Scope and Contents

The Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf collection, 1564-2009 and undated (bulk 1900-2009), includes records of Oakleaf's book and autograph collecting activities, including personal correspondence, as well as autographs of members of the Swedish and Danish royal families. The collection also includes family papers and biographical information. The Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf collection is arranged in the following series: Autograph Collection, 1564-1927 and undated (collected circa 1900), contains signed letters from members of the Swedish and Danish royal families. Editions of Frithiof’s Saga (Friðþjófs saga frœkna), 1900-1909 and undated, contains Oakleaf’s personal correspondence about collecting editions of Frithiof’s Saga, invoices for his book purchases, correspondence and other items relating to Clement B. Shaw (a translator, composer, and acquaintance of Oakleaf’s), photocopies of the title pages of each edition of Frithiof’s Saga, and other miscellaneous materials. Oakleaf Family Papers, 1928-2009 and undated, contains newspaper articles from and biographical information about the Oakleaf family, specifically Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf, his father Benjamin P. Oakleaf (or Peter B. Oakleaf), his son Josephus L. Oakleaf, his grandson, Joseph B. Oakleaf, and his great-grandson, Jon B. Oakleaf.

Dates

  • 1564-2009 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1900-2009

Language of Materials

English and Swedish

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf (1858-1930) was born in Moline, Illinois. His parents were Peter and Mary Oakleaf, both Swedish immigrants. In 1869, the family moved to Kansas, where Joseph completed school. He eventually moved back to Moline, passing the bar exam in 1886 and opening his own law office two years later. Oakleaf was active in many historical societies. He was the president of the Rock Island County Historical Society, director of the Illinois State Historical Society, and member of the Chicago Historical Society, the Kansas Historical Society, and the Mississippi Valley Historical Society. In 1879, Joseph married Josephine Anderson and had one son the following year, named Josephus L. Oakleaf. Josephus later attended Augustana College briefly before transferring to Cornell University.

During his lifetime, Oakleaf collected a number of editions of Frithiof’s Saga (Friðþjófs saga frœkna), an epic poem from Norse mythology. He was cited as an authoritative figure on both the original Swedish version of the poem as well as the numerous translations he collected around the turn of the twentieth century. He also collected autographs of Swedish and Danish royalty dating from the sixteenth century to Oakleaf’s lifetime. He is most often noted as a collector of material related to Abraham Lincoln. Oakleaf's collection of Lincolniana related material is held by the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Extent

0.3 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)

Abstract

Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf (1858-1930) was a lawyer and book collector from Moline, Illinois. He was known for the historical collections he accumulated, including one of the world's largest collections of material related to Abraham Lincoln. In addition to Lincolniana, Oakleaf also collected autographs and editions of Frithiof's Saga. The Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf collection, 1564-2009 and undated (bulk 1900-2009), includes records of Oakleaf's book and autograph collecting activities, including personal correspondence, as well as autographs of members of the Swedish and Danish royal families. The collection also includes family papers and biographical information.

Arrangement

Chronological.

Custodial History

Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf donated his autograph collection to the Augustana College Museum on October 8, 1927. On November 6, 1984, a packet of biographical information about Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf was added to the collection. More recent material appears to have been added by Special Collections staff over time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Autograph collection received from Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf, October 1927.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original editions of Frithiof's Saga retained by donor.

Related Materials

Oakleaf MSS, Lilly Library, Indiana University Oakleaf MSS II, Lilly Library, Indiana University

Processing Information

Processed by Natalie Markovich, 2009. Revised by Rebecca Hopman, 2010. Updated by Helen Reinold, 2011. Revised by Atticus Garrison, May 2016.

Title
Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf collection, 1564-2009 and undated (bulk 1900-2009).
Status
Completed
Author
Atticus Garrison
Date
May 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

Contact:
639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States