The Geiger family papers are primarily made up of correspondence written or received by Henry and Mildred Palmer Geiger, who lived in Galena, Illinois, and Sheldon, Iowa, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection includes letters that the couple wrote to each other during their courtship and letters that Henry received from his wife, siblings, parents, and children while he served with the Illinois National Guard during the Spanish-American War and with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. Henry Geiger wrote over 100 letters to Mildred Palmer between 1890 and 1894, during their courtship. Though he lived in Galena, Illinois, he frequently spent time in Chicago and Scales Mound, Illinois, while serving with the 6th Illinois National Guard. His letters, often lighthearted, provide details about their relationship and social lives and, to a lesser extent, describe his military service, which included duty in Chicago during the 1894 Pullman Strike. During the summer of 1893, he discussed his experiences at the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. He visited national pavilions, rode the Ferris wheel, and went on other excursions. The collection holds only a few of Mildred's responses before their marriage.
Henry Geiger received around 30 letters while serving in Company M of the 6th Illinois National Guard Regiment during the Spanish-American War. His siblings, parents, and other family members provided news from Galena, Illinois, and occasionally commented on the progress of the conflict. Henry served at Camp Alger and in Puerto Rico in the summer of 1898, and he wrote 1 letter during his service (August 21, 1898). His sister "Eda" enclosed a small woven United States flag in her letter of August 13, 1898. Henry also received around 35 letters from his wife and children when he was serving in various units during World War I; they discussed family news, the war, education, and their separation. Henry's brothers occasionally wrote about their careers.
In addition to Henry and Mildred's family letters, the collection contains 6 letters addressed to Effie Fowler, a schoolteacher who lived in Slater, Missouri, from 1905-1906 , including one letter of recommendation and other personal correspondence.
The Travel Manuscripts series is comprised of two sets of travel notes made while the unidentified authors visited Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, and Japan (6 index cards) and Israel (2 copies, 2 pages each).
The Financial records are receipts, accounts, and a check related to the financial affairs of the Geiger family and to Mrs. Lucy C. Wing of Marshall, Missouri. A small account book holding 2 pages of Wing's partially printed accounts is also included.
The Printed Items series consists of 4 newspaper clippings and an advertisement. Among the clippings are a recipe and an obituary for Mary Katherine Weinsheimer, Henry Geiger's mother. The advertisement in German announces Anna Heise's performance in Die Verfolgte Unschuld on May 3, 1930, in Philadelphia.