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Höfeln Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Höfeln

Scope and Content of the Collection

Letters to Charlotte Fischer (von Höfeln), with letters to and from other family members and some miscellaneous items.

Letters to Charlotte Fischer are mostly from friends and relatives in Germany, both before and after her immigration to the United States. They are almost all in old German script. There are a few letters addressed to her husband, Andreas von Höfeln, from friends in both the U.S. and in Germany. Letters from son Alexander Heflin include a few letters to his parents in German or a German/English hybrid, and many letters to his fiancé / wife Jessie Beathard, written in English. Topics of letters include Heflin's travels through Kansas (in an April 1879 letter he suggests that Eureka, Kansas might be a good place to settle), as well as the health/illness of family members and mutual friends.

There is also a journal in German (most likely Charlotte von Höfelin's), which includes poetry passages, Bible verses, and essays, written around 1849-1851, and some unidentified correspondence and poetry.


  • Creation: 1831-1897



Materials are in German, with some in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Höfeln Family Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Höfeln Family Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of the Höfeln / Heflin Family

German immigrant family who settled in middle and southern Illinois.

Andreas von Höfeln was a native of Northern Germany (Norden - Hanover) who was born around 1821 and immigrated to the United States through New Orleans in 1848. He was a wheelwright by trade.

Charlotte Fischer was born in Nuremburg, Germany, in 1819. She spent her youth in Göppingen and Kircheim-am-Tech, and immigrated to the United States (Peoria, Illinois) around 1851. She met and married Andreas von Höfeln there in 1852, and by 1858 the couple had moved to Washington, Illinois. They had four children, but only the oldest, Alexander, survived.

Alexander Andrew Heflin (the name was changed from Höfeln by at least 1881) was born in 1853. He was a telegrapher for the railroads in Kansas in the 1870s and 1880s; he wrote on letterhead from both the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and the Toledo, Peoria, and Warsaw Railway. Heflin wrote to his fiance, teacher Jessie Beathard, from Glasford, Illinois and Emporia, Kansas. They married in 1881, and the two settled in the town of Wenona, Illinois, and raised four children.


0.6 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Chiefly letters from Germany to Charlotte Fischer, both before and after her emigration to Illinois in 1851 and her marriage to Andreas von Höfeln in 1852. Also includes correspondence with their son, Alexander Andrew Heflin, who worked for railroads in Kansas, and between Heflin and his wife, teacher Jessie Beathard Heflin.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 22 4


Gift, Louise Heflin Stuart, 1984.

Processed by

Alison Hinderliter, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Höfeln Family Papers, 1831-1897
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States