Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Geiger Family Papers, 1890-1939

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff, September 1997, and Meg Hixon, June 2012

Summary Information
Title: Geiger family papers
Creator: Geiger, Henry, b. 1871 and Geiger, Mildred Palmer
Inclusive dates: 1890-1939
Bulk dates: 1890-1918
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
Abstract:
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.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1996. M-3230.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Geiger Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Travel Manuscripts
  • Series III: Financial Records
  • Series IV: Printed Items

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Henry Geiger was born in Illinois in August 1871, the son of Charles A. Geiger (d. 1926), a German immigrant, and Mary Katherine Weinsheimer (b. 1850). Mary and Charles married on October 25, 1870, and had eight children: Henry, Emma, Wallace, May, Edith, Earl, Wilbur, and Herbert. The family lived in Galena, Illinois.

Henry Geiger began courting Mildred Palmer before 1890, and they married between 1896 and 1898. He served as captain for Company M of the 6th Regiment, Illinois National Guard, and he traveled with them to Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. During World War I, he was a musket instructor at Camp Cody, New Mexico; a member of Company C of the 125th Machine Gun Battalion; and a member of the 34th Division's 109th Ammunition Train in France. In his civilian life, Geiger worked as a bricklayer in Galena, and he later owned a construction contracting business in Sheldon, Iowa, where he lived with his wife and children.


Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Camp Cody (N.M.)
    • Camp Russell A. Alger (Va.)
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Description and travel.
    • Courtship--United States.
    • Galena (Ill.)
    • Illinois. National Guard. Infantry Regiment, 6th.
    • Israel--Description and travel.
    • Marshall (Mo.)
    • Military life.
    • Puerto Rico.
    • Pullman Strike, 1894.
    • Scales Mound (Ill.)
    • Sheldon (Iowa)
    • Slater (Mo.)
    • Southeast Asia--Description and travel.
    • Spanish-American War, 1898.
    • United States. Army. Ammunition Train, 109th.
    • United States. Army. Machine Gun Battalion, 125th.
    • Women teachers--United States.
    • World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--United States.
    Contributors:
    • Geiger, Charles A., d. 1926.
    • Geiger, Mary Katherine Weinsheimer, b. 1850.
    • Geiger, Wallace.
    • Wing, Lucy C.
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Advertisements.
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Receipts (financial records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-14
     March 24, 1890-August 3, 1895
    Box   2 Folders   1-13
     January 2, [1896]-[1915]
    Box   3 Folders   1-10
     October 17, 1917-November 13, 1939, and  undated
     
    Travel Manuscripts [series]
    Box   3 Folder   11
     Undated
     
    Financial Records [series]
    Box   3 Folder   12
     [October 12], 1917-June 3, 1926
     
    Printed Items [series]
    Box   3 Folder   13
     1930 and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    A list of the collection's letters, arranged by author, is available in the Manuscripts Division.