Bookmark this page or copy and paste URL to Email message

Francis J. Uplegger papers, 1867-1964 (bulk 1917-1960)

MS 299

Collection Summary

Creator: Uplegger, Francis J., 1867-1964
Collection Name:Francis J. Uplegger papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1867-1964 (bulk 1917-1960)
Physical Description:5 linear feet
Abstract:Includes correspondence, writings, Bible translations, sermons, reports, and audiotapes, chiefly from 1917-1960, of Francis J. Uplegger, 1867-1964, and his son, Alfred Uplegger, relating to their work as Lutheran missionaries on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.
Collection Number:MS 299
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Francis J. Uplegger was born in Rastozk, Germany on October 29, 1867, and died on the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona on June 13, 1964. Educated in Germany, he emigrated to the United States at age nineteen and enrolled at Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained pastor of Saint John's Congregation in Hermansfort, Wisconsin, in July, 1891 and continued an active preaching career until his retirement, nearly 70 years later, in February, 1961.

His son Alfred Uplegger followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a Lutheran minister. In 1917 he moved to Arizona to be a missionary to the Apache Indians on the San Carlos Reservation. Two years later Francis Uplegger joined him on the reservation and ministered there for the rest of his life.

Adept at languages, Francis quickly began to learn how to speak and write the Apache language. He went on to compile the first Apache dictionary. He also wrote approximately twenty-five Gospel hymns in Apache and translated several important Lutheran liturgical documents and portions of the Bible into Apache.

Held in high esteem by many of the members of the tribe, he was affectionately called "Old Man Missionary." He assisted the tribe in drawing up a constitution in 1930-31 that was later used as a model by several other tribes. In 1957 Concordia Theological Seminary conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon him. Francis Uplegger was married to Emma Plass, who had come from Germany to be his bride in 1891. Their children were Dorothea, Gertrude, Johana, and Alfred.

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, writings, Bible translations, sermons, reports, and audiotapes, chiefly from 1917-1960, of Francis J. Uplegger, 1867-1964, and his son, Alfred Uplegger, relating to their work as Lutheran missionaries on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.

The Biographical and Background Materials consist of photocopies of two magazine articles about the Upleggers and their work at the San Carlos mission and a photocopy of the newspaper obituary of Francis Uplegger. Also included are school-related materials from Alfred Uplegger's days as a student, and miscellaneous materials from Alfred's life prior to his move to Arizona in 1917.

The Mission Records, 1917-1964, consist of miscellaneous material, reports, and correspondence. The miscellaneous materials range from such items as song lyrics and baptismal certificates to architectural plans for new buildings. The reports were prepared by Alfred Uplegger and provided quarterly updates to the mission sponsors on such matters as numbers of new converts and the financial condition of the mission. The correspondence consists primarily of letters to and from Alfred Uplegger regarding activities at the mission and events on the reservation at large.

Many of the letters are to and from fellow Lutherans in Uplegger's home state of Wisconsin. Other letters involve business-related matters such as insurance accounts and supplies for the mission. Major correspondents include Edgar Guenther and Paul Brockmann.

The Family Correspondence, 1901-1925, consists of letters from Francis and Johana Uplegger to Alfred Uplegger, letters from other relatives, such as uncles and cousins, to Alfred, and letters from friends and acquaintances to Alfred. Some of the letters are written in German.

The Works of Alfred Uplegger involve sermons and miscellaneous material. The sermon-related material consists of notes and outlines of sermons and sermons on reel-to-reel audiotape. The audiotapes are in records carton boxes, separate from the written material in manuscript boxes. The miscellaneous material consists of items ranging from song lyrics to essays to Bible study outlines.

The Works of Francis Uplegger likewise involve sermons and a wide assortment of other items. Since he eventually learned to preach in Apache, there are sermon notes in both English and Apache. There are also portions of the Bible translated into Apache. Many of the audiotapes contain sermons preached in Apache by Francis, along with ones preached in English by Alfred. Included in his Works are also lessons on how to speak Apache and several short stories which he wrote, along with a longer narrative work entitled "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache."

Some material in German and Apache.


This collection is organized into five series:
I. Biographical and Background Materials, 1892-1916
II. Mission Records, 1917-1964
III. Family Correspondence, 1901-1925
IV. Works, Alfred Uplegger, 1917-1964
V. Works, Francis Uplegger, c. 1920-c. 1960





It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Brockman, Paul
Guenther, Edgar
Uplegger, Alfred -- Archives
Uplegger, Francis J., 1867-1964 -- Archives

Corporate Name(s)
Evangelical Lutheran Mission -- (San Carlos, Ariz.)

Geographic Name(s)
San Carlos Indian Reservation (Ariz.)

Apache Indians -- Missions
Apache languages
Lutheran Church -- Missions -- Arizona
Missionaries -- Arizona -- Archives
Missions -- Arizona

Genre Form(s)

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Francis J. Uplegger papers(MS 299).Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Biographical and Background Materials, 1892-1916
The first folder contains a history of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission among the Apache Indians on the San Carlos Reservation from 1892 to March, 1903; the articles of incorporation of the Joint Synod of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Nebraska; photocopies of two articles about the Upleggers; and the obituary of Francis Uplegger. The following three folders contain turn-of-the-century editions of Lutheran periodicals in German; class notes and school assignments belonging to Alfred Uplegger; and an assortment of items ranging from business cards to newspaper clippings to exercise instructions. All of these materials date from prior to the Upleggers' move to Arizona to become missionaries to the Apaches.
11 History of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission among the Apache; Articles of Incorporation of the Joint Synod of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Nebraska; photocopies of magazine articles about the Uplegger family. , 1892-March 1903
12 Lutheran newspapers, in German. , 1899-1906
13 Class notes and school assignments. , c.1908-c.1915
14 Miscellaneous items. , c.1913-c.1916
Series II: Mission Records, 1917-1964
The first folder contains a wide variety of items, including drawings, invoices, certificates, and lyrics. The next two folders contain mission reports. The following twelve folders contain mission correspondence.
15 Miscellaneous. , c.1917-c.1927
16 Reports. , 1917-1924
17 Reports. , 1925-1933
21 Correspondence. , 1917-1918
22 Correspondence. , 1919
23 Correspondence. , 1920
24 Correspondence. , 1921-1922
25 Correspondence. , 1923
26 Correspondence. , 1924
27 Correspondence. , 1925
28 Correspondence. , 1926
29 Correspondence. , 1927
210 Correspondence. , 1928
211 Correspondence. , 1929-1938
212 Correspondence. , 1950-1964
Series III: Family Correspondence, 1901-1925
The first folder contains letters from Francis Uplegger to various persons. The next two folders contain letters from Francis Uplegger to Alfred Uplegger. The third folder contains letters from Johana Uplegger to Alfred. The fourth contains letters from other relatives, such as uncles and cousins, to Alfred. The last two folders contain letters to Alfred from friends and acquaintances.
213 Francis Uplegger. , 1901-1904
214 Francis Uplegger (to Alfred Uplegger). , 1912-1915
215 Francis Uplegger (to Alfred Uplegger). , 1917-1925
216 Alfred Uplegger (from Johana Uplegger). , 1913-1917
217 Alfred Uplegger (from various relatives). , 1914-1925
218 Alfred Uplegger (from friends). , 1904-1915
219 Alfred Uplegger (from friends). , 1916-1925
Series IV: Works, Alfred Uplegger, 1917-1964
The first eleven folders contain sermon-related material, including outlines, illustrations, and Biblical texts. The last three contain miscellaneous material such as essays, lyrics, and lists. Reel-to-reel audiotapes of sermons by Alfred Uplegger, dating from 1957-1964, are available in boxes seven and eight.
31 Sermons. , No Dates
32 Sermons. , 1917-1921
33 Sermons. , 1922-1925
34 Sermons. , 1926
35 Sermons. , 1927
36 Sermons. , 1928
37 Sermons. , 1929
38 Sermons. , 1930
39 Sermons. , 1931
310 Sermons. , 1932
311 Sermons. , 1933-1936
312-14 Miscellaneous: Unarranged. , No Date
Series V: Works, Francis Uplegger, c.1920-c.1960
Sermon outlines, including extensive translations of Biblical texts into the Apache language. Reel-to-reel audiotapes of sermons by Francis Uplegger, dating from 1957-c.1961, are available in boxes seven and eight. Most of these audiotape sermons by Francis Uplegger are in the Apache language. Among the stories, by far the lengthiest is the one entitled "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache." It is nineteen chapters in length, and is partly an autobiographical account of Francis Uplegger's experiences with the Apache people and partly a theological essay about the spiritual beliefs of the Apache and the Apaches' place within the Christian framework of history. The other stories are much briefer, and are essentially works of fiction designed to illustrate and teach Biblical ethics and doctrines. One folder contains teaching material on the Apache language. Nearly all of the unarranged material consists of documents written by Francis Uplegger in German.
41 Sermons: Genesis to Deuteronomy. , c.1920-c.1960
42 Sermons: Genesis to Malachi. , c.1920-c.1960
43 Sermons: Gospel According to Matthew. , c.1920-c.1960
44 Gospel According to Luke. , c.1920-c.1960
51 Sermons: Gospel According to John. , c.1920-c.1960
52 Sermons: Romans to Galatians. , c.1920-c.1960
53 Sermons: Ephesians to Revelation. , c.1920-c.1960
54 Sermons on various texts and topics. , c.1920-c.1960
55 Sermons from the year 1956. , 1956
61 "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache," chs. 1-4. , c.1920-c.1960
62 "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache," chs. 5-7. , c.1920-c.1960
63 "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache," chs. 8-12. , c.1920-c.1960
64 "The Desire of the Nations Among the Apache," chs. 13-19. , c.1920-c.1960
65 "The Engagement in the Church at Quidnors". , c.1920-c.1960
66 "Glennis". , c.1920-c.1960
67 "The Judgment in the Green Court" - Part 2. , c.1920-c.1960
68 "The Oath and the Agreement". , c.1920-c.1960
69 "A Remarkable Night at Quidnors". , c.1920-c.1960
610 "A Visit at Nadowawigoning". , c.1920-c.1960
611 "What Satisfies - Queries and Answers". , c.1920-c.1960
612 Lessons on the Apache Language. , c.1920-c.1960
613-18 Unarranged. , c.1920-c.1960
Sermons on Audiotapes: Unarranged. , 1957-1964
71 20th Sun. After Trinity, unknown.
71 F.U. Apache 'Hagaedo shithgo zhodagae' A.U. English, 10/29/1958.
72 Pentecost San Carlos Arizona, F.U. Apache Song 15 'Ninlgiv DiNiv'goz dzonn Bika' No. 15, F.U. Apache Sermon, A.U. English Prayer for Sick, 1958.
72 Ninlgiv DiNiv'goz dzonn Bika' No. 15, F.U. Apache sermon, A.U. English sermon, 5/17/1959.
73 92nd birthday party, Apache pot-luck in Surprise, 10/25/1959.
74 San Carlos Arizona, 3rd Sunday after Easter Jubilate, F.U. Apache sermon, 4/27/1958.
74 5th Sunday after Easter Rogate, F.U. Apache sermon, A.U. English sermon, 5/11/1958.
75 F.U. Special Ordination 40 yrs., Rev. Sitz. and Dr. Koch, unknown, 3 tapes.
76 18 Sun. after Trinity and Communion, 10/12-15/1958.
77 R.R's children singing, Rev. F.U. Apache song 'Hayah Dinh'ya', unknown.
78 F.U. Apache sermon, A.U. English sermon, 'Yushti-shikiyu', 9/7/1958.
79 Peridot school children. No.5 Nirgoztsann, No.15 Ninhliv, No. 21 Hayah-Dinhya, 5/15/1959.
710 Peridot Mission children Apache-English songs, 1955-1956.
711 Mission school children, unknown.
712 Peridot children Apache songs, 5/9-10/1956.
713 Pentecost - Entire Service, 5/1/1955.
713 F.U. sermon in-house, Apache songs in Englist, 4/1/1956.
714 Rev. Sitz. nd Rev. Uplegger, 65th Anniversary in the ministry, 10/28/1956.
715 Rev. F. Uplegger 9th Sunday after Trinity and 68th Anniversary of Ordination, 7/26/1959.
716 Easter Apache sermon, 3/29/1959.
716 Sunday after Easter, 'Ninhilg'iv diniv'goz dzonn biko', 4/5/1959.
717 Easter 1958, 4/6/1958.
718 Good Friday, F.U. Apache sermon, A.U. English sermon, unknown.
719 Easter Apache song 'Ninhlqiv di-niv'goz-dzonn bika',
720 Apache sermon (Pontius Pilate) lecture, Apache songs, Baptism - Esther May Sprengeler, 3/8/1959.
721 Judica, A.U. English sermon, 3/23/1958.
721 Palmarum, F.U. Apache sermon, 3/30/1958,
721 Palmarum Sunday, 3/22/1959
8 Sermons on Audiotapes: Unarranged. , 1957-1964
81 Mission Festival - San Carlos Apache Indian Mission, Yushdih, Yushdih page 17, Sermon by Alfred Burdette, 10/23/1960
82 Funeral service - San Carlos Lutheran Church, 6/18/1964.
83 I heard the voice, Glory be to the father, Sweet hour of prayer, He leadeth me, 10/11/1959.
84 Advent, Christmas/ F.U. Sermon Apache, Christmas program, 12/25/1958.
85 Rev F. Uplegger Sermon. Gift from Mr. La Mante, 11/11/1956-7.
86 1st Sunday in Advent, Communion, Yushdih! Shikiyu, English Sermon, 11/30/1958.
86 2nd Sunday in Advent, Apache Sermon, The coming of the lord, The signs of the time, 12/7/1958.
87 1st Sunday in Lent, Yushdih! Shikiyu No. 17, 3/6/1960.
88 Apache song, Apache sermon, English sermon, 11/16/1958.
89 Advent Sunday - Try!, 12/1952.
810 10th Sunday after Trinity, Communion, F.U. Apache Sermon - song 18, 8/2/1959.
811 F.U. Last, duck over!, Nov 1 - 8, 11/1959.
812 Gary Newman reading. Apache - English songs, Peridot children, 1959?
813 Ev. Luth. Mission, Advent Christmas. 2nd and 3rd Sunday in Advent,1962.
814 Sermon Apache. 2nd Sunday after Easter. All English. Mother's day Sermon, 05/1960.
815 Synod report. Rev Hartzell, 10/4/1959.
816 F. Uplegger, A. Uplegger. Rogate, Trinity. Ihidna! Ihidna! Apace sermon, English sermon, prayers, 5/3/1959.
817 Mission Festival. Rev. Marcus Nitz. Thanksgiving D.E.U. Apache and English songs, 10/20/1963.
818 F.U. Rogate Prayer. Apache sermon. English sermon, 4/6/1956.
818 Mother's day sermon A.U. Rogate Sunday, 5/3/1959.
819 4th Sunday in advent. F.I. Algki/" Davh Ihe'yu Agodz'a", 12/1957.
820 Mission festival. Rev. H. C. Nitz, 11/11/1964.
821 Judica Sunday in lent. F.U. 92+ yrs old - preaching in Apache. A.U. English + liturgy, 1960.
822 Easter. A.U. Fergus Sneezy. No 16 Ihidna ! Life true life, 1964.
823 Sermons. F. Uplegger. Leprosy - thanks for new life. Da-Bighedu-Shith go zhovgo - No. 13. Always with delight 1, 09/1957.
824 Peridot children. Christmas songs. F.U. Apache and English, 12/19/1960.
825 Cut off first part of "The Glory" P. 16 Issisgoh Agolsihni. Algkidavh Tleyu Agodza P. 9, unknown.
826 F.U. sermon. Workers in the vineyard. Ap. Song 13 Ila bighdn Shitth go zhovgp. Listening to the gospel. A.U. sermon, 2/14/1960.
827 F.U. Glendale, unknown.
828 3rd Sunday in advent. F.U. apache sermon F. U. English, 12/1957.
829 16th Sunday after Trinity. F.U. Apache. A.U. English, 9/21/1958.
830 Peridot children. Bethy, unknown.
831 F.U. Apache songs. No. 13 Listening to the gospels. No. 15 Apache spring song. 5 peridot children, 5/14/1959.
832 Apache song and sermon. By Dr. F. Uplegger 91.5 yrs old. Blessings on my way, 4/26/1959.
833 Apache song and sermon. By Dr. F. Uplegger 90.5 yrs old. Where are you going? Apache song no. 21, 5/18/1958.
834 Apache sermon F. Uplegger. Apache song No. 6. He who made the earth. Heaven, 5/13/1956.
835 Come unto me, ye. Before thee, God, who? Etc., 6/7/1959.
836 1st Sunday after Trinity. Nivgostzann. F.U. Apache sermon 91.5 yrs old. A.U. english sermon.