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ALBRECHT, OTTO  (1838-1932)

Papers, 1860, 1928, n.d.

2 folders

Otto Albrecht immigrated to the United States in 1860 with his brother August.  They were both from the Braunschweig region of the Kingdom of Hannover, Germany.  The Albrechts' decision to leave Hannover was based upon their desire to escape conscription.  Otto later held many patents in the steel industry.  In 1866 Otto married Eliza Renouf, raising a family of two daughters, Emma and Marie Louise.

Otto Albrecht's papers focus around a letter sent to his parents in November of 1860.  His letter covers a variety of topics but concentrates upon the state and national elections of 1860.  Otto describes in great detail the parades honoring Andrew Curtin, the recently elected governor of Pennsylvania.  He also recounts events concerning Abraham Lincoln's campaign in Philadelphia.  Of particular interest is a reference to "a certain Carl Schurz," the German political activist who campaigned for Lincoln and the Republican Party throughout 1860.  Also included in the collection is a family tree and a letter describing the contents of Albrecht's letter.

The Otto Albrecht papers were given to the Balch Institute by Frederick Platt in 1983.

The box list of the Register of the Otto Albrecht Papers is one page long and available upon request.  The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping and handling.


Papers, 1877-1980

3 folders

Helen R. Beiser's mother, Agnes Hamer Beiser, was born to Wilhelm and Emilie Fensterer Hamer in Cape Town, South Africa in 1878.  Wilhelm Hamer and his bride Emilie had immigrated to Cape Town from Germany in November of 1877, the voyage lasting until February of 1878.  Wilhelm got a job as a journalist, but later moved to Kimberly, South Africa to prospect for diamonds.  Failing as a prospector, Hamer was hired as an accountant for a diamond mine and died in an accident around 1886.  His wife remarried, but after her second husband failed to return from the wilds of South Africa, she returned to Germany with her two children around 1890.  Emilie died shortly thereafter from an overdose of medication.  Agnes, who was twelve at the time, and her brother Otto, ten, were turned over to separate foster parents.

Helen R. Beiser was born to Arthur and Agnes Hamer Beiser in 1914, the youngest of three children.  Her father, Arthur, had immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Germany around 1900.  After working in New York City for two years, he was hired by the United States Blue Print Paper Company in Chicago as their treasurer.  By 1914 Beiser had risen to the presidency of the company, a position he would hold until his death in 1945.  Beiser was also co-founder and an active member in the International Association of Blue Print and Allied Industries (IABPAI).  Beiser held the positions of president, treasurer, and chairman of the finance committee.  Beiser met Agnes Hamer while on a business trip to Europe.  They were married in 1902 and settled in the Chicago area.  Agnes Beiser died in 1943.

The Beiser Family Collection is composed of genealogical material compiled by Helen R. Beiser, diaries from her maternal grandfather, Wilhelm Hamer, and recollections of her childhood as well as observations from her travels abroad.

The most valuable items in the collection are Hamer's diaries.  His writings document the voyage from Germany to Cape Town, South Africa during the months of November 1877 to February 1878.  Hamer's observations deal with his immediate surroundings, fellow passengers, details of the ship and crew, and expectations of a new life in South Africa.  Included in the diary is a short article intended for publication in a German language magazine.  The article includes Hamer's perceptions of Cape Town and its inhabitants.  Other writings include several passages from the Bible and a text of a German publication dealing with religious education.  The diaries have been translated into English.

Helen R. Beiser's writings consist of a series of short essays recounting her childhood and her travels around the world, as well as within the United States.  A photo collection of forty-two photographs has been separated into the visual catalog as Photo Group 134.  Included are photos of the Hamer and Beiser families, portraits of Arthur and Agnes Beiser and photos of relatives living in Germany and the United States.

The Beiser Family Collection was given to the Balch Institute by H R. Beiser in 1983.

The box list of the Register of the Beiser Family Papers is three pages long and available upon request.  The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping and handling.


Papers, 1837-1874

4 folders

August Bodler and his wife Katharina came from Lindau, Bavaria, to the United States ca. 1850 with their four children: John, Annette, Frederick, and Augusta.  The family settled in the area of Bergen Hill, New Jersey.  August and his brother Bernhard ran a macaroni factory in the city of Hudson.  In 1856 the partnership was dissolved and August purchased his brother's shares in the Pennsylvania Land and Farm Association.  In the late 1850s August relocated with Katharina and their children to Germania, in Potter County, Pennsylvania.  Here August took up farming.  August died in Germania in 1887, followed by Katharina in 1892.

John and Frederick Bodler apparently remained in Germania as farmers.  John Bodler served in the Civil War from 1862 to 1865, in Company K, 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers.  In 1867 he married Sophie Elizabeth Hubers, whose parents Johann Heinrich and Sophie Elizabethe Hubers had come from the Frankenthal district in Bavaria.  Augusta and a fifth child, Willy, who had been born in New Jersey, settled in the Spokane, Washington area.  Annette married a German and moved to Germany.

The collection provides a considerable amount of demographic information on the extended family.  Of greatest interest is an account book which may be used in examining details of the development of the farm and of the work of the family on it.

The bulk of the collection is documents relating to family events, most of which originated in Bavaria.  Included are official statements of the birth of Sophie Elizabethe Staehler and her marriage to Johann Friedrich Hubers in 1837, and an 1845 statement verifying the birth of Johann Friedrich Hubers in 1804.  Also present are an 1865 certificate of discharge for John Bodler, a marriage certificate for John Bodler and Sophie Hubers, and a recent family genealogy.

The remainder of the collection consists of business documents generated by August Bodler: statements of 1856 transactions between August and Bernhard Bodler, several other statements, and the account book for August Bodler, covering the years 1854-1874.

The majority of the papers are in German, including the account book; English translations are provided.  The collection was donated by Mrs. Edgar Dunning in 1983.


Correspondence, 1836

1 folder

The collection consists of a letter to John Romich in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, containing general news.

In German.


Document, 1863

1 item

This discharge certificate was given to Brahl at the time of his discharge from the New York Volunteers, 54th Regiment.  In enabled him to receive his pay.

In English.


Correspondence, n.d.

1 folder

This letter from a Union soldier to his sister and brother-in-law describes the progress of the war.

In German.


Document, 1817

1 item

A receipt for the passage and indenture of Rosana Zi[e]gler to Sebastian Ziegler.  Her destination was Philadelphia.

In English.


Document, 1822

2 pages

Eberwine was born in Stuttgart, Wurttemberg and immigrated to Philadelphia via Antwerp in 1819.  This document is a manuscript declaration of intention for United States Citizenship, signed August 5, 1822, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

In English.


Correspondence, 1915

1 page

Francke was a German-born historian who taught at Harvard University.  In this letter, Francke declines to attend a meeting of the Melting Pot as he is "too much absorbed in the immediate fate of Germany."

In English.


Certificate of Incorporation, 1913

1 folder

This collection consists of a certificate of incorporation for the German-Realty Building and Loan Association, issued in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 17, 1913 and signed by the Governor.

The certificate was donated by Thomas Sroka in 1982.


Records, 1860

1 volume

A stock subscription book issued to the firm of Schurmann and Brothers for the Deutsches Theatre in Philadelphia.  The first page explains how to buy stock in the company.

In German.


Papers, n.d.

0.25 ft.

Gobrecht served the Reformed Church in Philadelphia, York, Tochickon (Bucks County) and Lancaster County in the late eighteenth century.  The collection consists of manuscripts of his sermons.

In German.  Translations available for some sermons.


Papers, 1803-1805

1 volume

A notebook containing penmanship exercises including copied Bible verses and the alphabet.  There are also two recipes.

In German.


Papers, 1792-1913

0.25 ft.

Friedrich Hintz (also spelled Hinz), a carpenter, was born in Wiszain, Poland, and came to the United States in 1853 from Konigsberg, Germany (Prussia).  He lived in East Cambridge and Roxborough, Massachusetts.  In 1856 his wife Maria and their three daughters joined him in Massachusetts.  The family later settled in New Ulm, Minnesota.  The daughters grew up to become teachers, and one returned to Germany after her marriage.  Maria Hintz's sister and her family also emigrated to the United States.

The collection, though small, provides considerable information regarding the experiences of Friedrich Hintz as a new immigrant.  In seven letters to his wife and family, he describes his voyage, his living conditions, and his urban surroundings.  Particularly noteworthy are his descriptions of his work as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, of hard times and of American politics.  His advice to his family is extensive and includes information on saving for and planning their emigration to the United States.  Correspondence from his wife's family after Maria Hintz's emigration with their daughters describes difficult conditions in the old country and hopes for their own trip to America.  At least one of Mrs. Hintz's sisters later emigrated to American with her family, although it is not clear if Friedrich and Maria Hintz were able to advance passage for any of the relatives in Germany.

While many of the documents such as the vaccination certificate and the passports are primarily of visual interest, the correspondence, personal papers and documents pertaining to Friedrich Hintz's professional qualifications and experience can provide valuable testimony as to the voyage of the mid-nineteenth century immigrants to a new land, the life they found there, and the strength of the ties to the family left behind.

The heart of the collection consists of Freidrich Hintz's seven letters to his wife and children during their separation in 1853-56 and two letters from Maria Hintz's family after she emigrated.  These letters have been translated by a member of the library's volunteer staff for the convenience of the researchers who do not have facility with nineteenth century German script.  The translations are literal and are intended only to be used as an aid in reading the original German letters.

The collection also includes several business letters and a variety of personal and professional documents.  These documents include poems, birth and baptismal certificates, passports for Friedrich (1853) and Maria Hintz and the children (1856), documents concerning Friedrich Hintz's apprenticeship and licensing as a carpenter in Koningsberg, and a land deed issued to him in 1859 by the German Land Association of Minnesota for land in New Ulm and several other documents pertaining to the association.  Miscellaneous items include handmade greeting cards, birth and marriage announcements, a vaccination certificate, newspaper clippings, and directions for making an afghan.

The bulk of the collection is in German.  Some correspondence and personal items are in English.

The box list of the Register of the Hintz Family Papers is one page long and available upon request.  The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping and handling.


Papers, 1851-1889

M. Whiteman purchase, 1974

This collection consists mostly letters dated 1851-1863, written to Mr. Christian Hormann and his family, who were living in Philadelphia.  There are also other items (listed below).

Of the six letters, four are from C.D. Reinking, who was Hormann's brother-in-law.  Reinking lived in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and apparently had a farm.  He frequently discusses land prices.  The latest letter in the group is from him to his sister, after Hormann's death.  The other two letters are from another relative, H.A. Senne, living in Williamsburgh, L.I.  He talks about having tried to locate the Hormanns for a long time.

Other items in the collection include:

 a description of an old tool, written for a society to whom the item was apparently being donated.  The signature appears to be "Fred."

 a receipt from Wanamaker's of dry goods purchased by F. Hormann.  This may be the "Fred" mentioned above, presumably a son of Christian Hormann's.

 a description of remedies for various ailments.  Prominent among these is an "Elixir for Long Life."  No name appears on this, but it appears to be a personal testimonial.

There is no direct reference in the material to the move from Germany to the U.S., though in one place, a German-sounding town is mentioned as the place of origin of some relative now living in this country.

Evidently there were several members of the family here, and they attempted to stay in close touch with one another.


1 folder

This collection consists of an indenture for one Mathias (last name illegible) from Durlach, Germany.  The document was signed November 1, 1732, and stipulates the terms of service for Mathias, who was to serve David Kaufman "of Oley in the county of Philadelphia" in exchange for his passage from Holland to America.  Terms of the agreement are standard for indentures of the period, with the exception that Mathias was indentured for only three years and nine months, which suggests that Mathias was a minor and the term of service would expire when he reached his majority.

The document was witnessed by John Ashmead, Jr., and Henry Pastorius.  The document is in poor condition, and has been mounted on cardboard.  A photocopy is available.


Papers, 1836-1856

1 volume

The collection consists of a notebook containing a list of the children born to Christianna Friederike and Johann Georg Kaiser between 1836-1853.  The eight children, two of whom died in infancy, were born in or near Philadelphia.

In German.


Papers, 1869-1911

7 folders

Eugen Klee was born in Germany in 1869 and sailed to the United States On September 20, 1893.  Letters from his father refer to an unpleasant incident which occurred just prior to his emigration, suggesting that the two events may have been connected.

Before his emigration, Klee worked as a teacher/administrator.  Soon after his arrival in the United States he became a very successful musician.  n addition to teaching music and playing the violin, he was director of the Kreuznacher Sangerbund, a choral society which may have part of the Nordamerikanischer Sangerbund.  He lived with relatives in Philadelphia, and letters to him mention other members of the family also in America.  There is no indication that he married.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters to Klee from his relatives in Germany.  His father's letters contain family news, fatherly advice, and numerous comments on America.  In addition there are other letters, personal documents, and miscellaneous papers.  Letters include several from friends or business associates.  Personal documents include an insurance form, report cards from Klee's schooldays in Germany, contracts from teaching positions in Germany, a birth certificate, an I.O.U. from someone to whom he had loaned money, a certificate of immunization, and his calling card.  Miscellaneous papers include newspaper articles (mostly from German publications), a notice of the engagement of a relative, a notice of the death of either a friend or a relative in Germany, a membership card for a society of musical directors, a poem written by his sister, an exercise book with English vocabulary and diary entries, and calling cards, poems, and other mementos from his voyage to the United States.

The papers are almost exclusively in German.

The box list of the Register of the Eugen Klee Papers is one page long and is available upon request.  The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping and handling.


Manuscripts, 1938-1965

4 folders

The collection includes four research papers, three of which are unpublished:

1. Bericht uber die Forschung smeglichkeiten einer deutschamerikanischen Arbeitsstelle (1938)

    [Published as Research Possibilities in the German-American Field  (Hamburg: Buske, 1980)]

2. "Einleitung zum Atlas des Deutschamerikanertums" (1955)

    [Introduction for a projected atlas of German American settlements]

3. "Die 'Amerikaarbeit' des DAI im Dritten Reich" (1965)

    [Activities concerning America by the Deutsches Ausland Institut during the Third Reich.  An apology by one of the men involved]

4. "German-American Language-Maintenance Efforts" (ca. 1962)


Records, ca. 1885

1 volume

The volume contains pages of handwriting exercises.

In German and English.


Document, 1845-1856

1 volume

Luckemann, a journeyman bookbinder, used this "wanderbuch" to travel through the German states and Switzerland and to the United States.  It was issued in Sonderhausen, Schwarzburg.

In German.  Translation available for some of text.


Papers, 1839-1848

1 folder

George Maitrott of Reichelsdorf in the province of Hesse, Prussia, emigrated to the United States in 1839, landing in Baltimore.  He was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1848.

This collection consists of travel permits for his trip, stamped by authorities in Breman and Munden, and a naturalization certificate.  The travel documents are in German, and are accompanied by typewritten English translations.

The collection was donated by Marjorie Maytrott in 1982.


Records, 1885

2 items

The records contain customs declarations consisting of lists of toys exported from Germany to the firm of Meyer and Schonemann in Philadelphia.

In English.  Gift of Maxwell Whiteman.


Verses, 1896

1 folder

This collection consists of two verses, apparently copied by Sarah Meyer as a penmanship exercise.  One verse is a hymn, the other is an edifying poem recommending emulation of the "busy bee." 

Both verses are in German.  The item was purchased in 1972.


Papers, 1917-1924

1 folder

This collection contains materials related to the history of an extended Pennsylvania German family.  These materials consist of notes on the history of the Nothstein and Gabel families, minutes of meetings from Nothstein family reunions, and biographical materials concerned with the most famous member of the Nothstein family, Peter Nothstein, who fought in the Revolutionary War.  Also present are notes, clippings, and fragments related to the Nothstein family.  Photographs have been removed to Photo Group 44.

In English.  Gift of Elizabeth Seidle Moyer.


Papers, 1832

1 volume

This book of hymn and song manuscripts is inscribed "Rosa C. Muhlenberg, From her Mother, January 1832," possibly of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In English and German.


Correspondence, 1865

1 item

The letter is by Mrs. Nies of Gates, New York to President Lincoln.  She requests the release of her husband Bernard, a German immigrant, from military service with the 180th Regiment, New York, on the grounds of lasting injuries received in the Battle of the Wilderness.

In English.


Document, 1821

3 pages

Pfieger, a tailor, arrived in Philadelphia in 1819 from Baden via Amsterdam.  The document is a manuscript declaration of intention to become a United States citizen, signed August 6, 1821, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

In English.


Records, 1920, 1923

1 folder

The German Daily Gazette Publishing Company published the Philadelphia Moraen-Gazette from 1892 to 1918.  In 1918 it changed its name to the Philadelphia Gazette Publishing Company and the newspaper became the Philadelphia Gazette Democrat (the library holds microfilm of the Philadelphia Gazette-Democrat).

This collection consists of a protest and complaint of the company to the International Arbitration Board of the American Newspaper Publishers Association and the International Typographical Union of North America, and an agreement between the company and the International Typographical Union.  The documents include information on the number of employees, wages paid, and on the guidelines for the composition of the paper, as well as descriptions of the specific grievances under discussion.

The collection was donated by Maxwell Whiteman.


Bylaws, n.d.

The German Daily Gazette Publishing Company published the Philadelphia Morgen-Gazette from 1892 to 1918.  In 1918 it changed its name to the Philadelphia Gazette Publishing Company and the newspaper became the Philadelphia Gazette Democrat (the library holds microfilm of the Philadelphia Gazette-Democrat).

The collection consists of a typescript of the bylaws of the German Daily Gazette Publishing Company.

In English.


Records, 1949-1951

1 folder

The German Daily Gazette Publishing Company published the Philadelphia Moraen-Gazette from 1892 to 1918.  In 1918 it changed its name to the Philadelphia Gazette Publishing Company and the newspaper became the Philadelphia Gazette Democrat (the library holds microfilm of the Philadelphia Gazette-Democrat).

The collection contains letters from West German citizens requesting assistance in immigrating to the United States, and permission to publish articles in the paper.

In German.  No translations are available.  The collection was donated by Maxwell Whiteman.


Papers, 1844-1903

1 folder

Reimann was a German immigrant who settled in New York State.  The collection includes correspondence, diaries, financial and legal records, genealogical information on the Cornwall and Lawrence families, and material on Reimann's service in the Civil War in Company H., 141st Regiment of New York State.  A photograph has been separated to Photo Group 49.

In English.


Interview, 1986

1 cassette

Helga Hoeppener was born in Bonn, Germany in 1920.  Her father, an engineer, was an Estonian who had attended school in Germany and could not return to Estonia because of the Russian Revolution.  Her mother was of Spanish ancestry.

Hoeppener was educated in Cologne in both public and Catholic schools.  She married a German of Belgian ancestry, Walter Michel, ca. 1937.  Her only child, a daughter named Liana, was born in 1940.

Hoeppener and her daughter spent much of World War Two in Vienna, while Walter Michel served in the German army.  After the war she began working as a translator for the U.S. Air Force at an airbase near Stuttgart.  Walter Michel, from whom she was estranged, died in 1958.

Hoeppner met her second husband, Walter Riley, who was stationed at the airbase where she worked, in the late 1960s.  They married in 1972 and came to the United States, as Walter Riley was retiring from the service.  They settled in Philadelphia.

This collection consists of a cassette recording of an interview with Helga Hoeppener Riley, conducted in June 1986 by Sumiko Kobayashi.  In the interview Hoeppener discusses her family, life in pre-Nazi Germany and during the war, and her experiences after the war, and compares life in Germany with life in the United States.  No transcript of the interview is available.  A photograph of Helga Hoeppener Riley has been separated to Photo Group 291.

This collection was donated by Sumiko Kobayashi in 1988.


Confirmation Certificate, 1881

1 folder

This collection consists of a confirmation certificate for Emma Jane Ritzy, dated October

22, 1881.  The ceremony was performed in the Reform Church in Heidelberg, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.  In addition to the basic information on the event, the certificate includes the text of a song. 

The certificate is in German.  This item was purchased in 1987.


Journal, ca. 1908

1 volume

The notebook contains an account, possibly by two different writers, of an emigrant's journey to the United States.  Includes impressions of other passengers, observations about the landing at Brooklyn and life in America, and a 1908 calendar in Russian and German.

In German, English, and Russian.


Document, 1852

1 item

A receipt made out to Charles F. Levin of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, for a year's subscription to "Der Amerikanische Bauer."  Scheffer and Beck was located in Harrisburg.

In English.


Papers, 1933

1 folder (6 items)

The Schick family originally lived in Denkendorf, Neckarkreis, Kingdom of Wurttemberg.  The Schick's immigrated in 1834 and settled near Gibsonville, Rocking County, Ohio.  The documents pertain to their home in Germany.  Included in this collection are:

    An internal passport from the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, April 30, 1833.

    Certificates of birth and baptism, c. 1833, for:

      Johannes Schick (father)

      Anna Marie Mezger Schick (mother)

      Johannes Andreas Schick (son)

      Johannes Schick (son)

    A family register listing the father, mother, and seven children, n.d.

Donated by Donald V. Stivison, 1986.


Records, 1863-1880

1 volume

This collection consists of a receipt book for a Philadelphia firm.

In English.  Gift of Maxwell Whiteman.


1 folder

The collection consists of a photocopy of a student's notebook containing language exercises in English and German.  The exercises are a series of basic phrases and their translations concerned with subjects including table manners, travel, and visiting.  The name of the student is unknown; the exercises were done in Evansville, Indiana in August 1884.

This material was donated by Ms. Mildred Oser in 1987.


Manuscript, 1800-1898

1 volume

This volume contains 193 hymns and later additions of a child's drawings of clothing and lists of names.

In German and English.


Papers, 1851-1874

4 items

The collection includes a steamship ticket, citizenship papers, and family history and genealogy.

In English and German.


1 Volume, 1866-1867

The collection consists of a daybook which records daily sales of a grocery and dry goods store in Salisburg Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

In English.


Certificate, 1855

2 pages

An exit visa.

In German.


Certificate, 1847

3 pages

This is a certification of German citizenship.

In German.