Otto R. Hauser Papers, 1860-1972

Summary Information
Title: Otto R. Hauser Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1860-1972

  • Hauser, Otto R., 1886-1972
Call Number: Milwaukee Mss CF; PH 3219; Tape 1210A; CA 665

Quantity: 0.8 c.f. (2 archives boxes), 4 tape recordings, 1 film, and 131 photographs

Archival Locations:
UW-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives / Milwaukee Area Research Ctr. (Map)
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Papers of a former Baptist minister and Milwaukee Socialist leader who served as secretary to Mayor Daniel Hoan; primarily including minutes, reports, organizational materials, speeches, photographs, a film, and other papers of American Relief for Germany, an organization which raised money for German relief after World War II; school notebooks, two 1907 diaries, a lengthy recorded autobiography, and other biographical materials; and fragmentary items concerning Socialists, Milwaukee Blacks, Immanuel Baptist Church, and Roger Williams Hospital.

Language: English

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Otto Robert Hauser was born in Tubingen, Germany on May 11, 1886. His father, Christian Jakob Hauser, was a teacher and young Hauser grew up in a comfortable, middle class environment. He attended the Tubingen Gymnasium and in 1904 entered the university of Tubingen, where he studied philosophy and law. In 1906 Hauser ended his studies and emigrated to the United States. In Chicago Hauser found employment with Marshall Field and Co. and later in a succession of manual labor positions. At the same time Hauser experienced a spiritual crisis that eventually led him to the Rochester Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1912 Hauser became minister of a church in Englewood, a poor area of Chicago, where he helped to establish a food cooperative. In 1915 he accepted a call to Immanuel Baptist Church (later the First German Baptist Church) in Milwaukee, Wis. where he remained until late 1927 when he resigned to enter politics. During those years, he presided over the construction of a new church and of the Baptists' Roger Williams Hospital and Home for the Aged.

In 1916 Hauser joined the Socialist Party, in whose activities he had become increasingly involved. He held a variety of posts in the party including serving as director of the Milwaukee Leader. In 1928 he ran for governor on the Socialist ticket against Walter Kohler, Sr. He tried again in 1934, this time running for Congress, and although he lost, he finished in a respectable second. Between 1932 and 1940, Hauser was secretary to Milwaukee's Socialist mayor, Daniel W. Hoan. After Hoan's defeat in 1940, Hauser turned to real estate, joining his brother in forming Hauser Housing Service.

In 1945 Hauser helped to organize American Relief for Germany, and he served as its president throughout its existence from 1945 to 1951. In 1947 he traveled throughout Germany and his report of living conditions helped to arouse popular concern for the necessity of rehabilitating Germany. Hauser's efforts enabled American Relief for Germany to send almost $3.5 million in aid. In appreciation the German Federal Republic awarded him the Cross of Merit, First Class in 1956.

Hauser continued in the real estate business until his retirement in 1963. He died in Madison on February 24, 1972.

Scope and Content Note

The Hauser Papers are divided into three sections: family papers, personal papers, and subject files, the most extensive of which concerns his leadership in American Relief for Germany, Inc.

The FAMILY PAPERS consist of Christian Jakob Hauser's Franco-Prussian war diary and military service book and a genealogical chart covering four generations.

PERSONAL PAPERS, the majority of which are in German, include documents from the Universitat Tubingen, notebooks from his courses in law and philosophy at the University, two 1907 diaries (the first of which contains a lengthy handwritten autobiography), biographical clippings, some miscellaneous correspondence, and a lengthy recorded autobiographical reminiscence. This oral history, which provides the most comprehensive coverage of Hauser's life and varied activities, includes many details concerning his early education, his life in Chicago, his ministry, and his political philosophy.

With the exception of the files on American Relief for Germany, the SUBJECT FILES are quite fragmentary. Concerning this organization there are incorporation and legal materials, minutes, correspondence with government and relief officials in both the United States and Germany, and Hauser's prepared speeches, reports, and notes of ARG activities and achievements. Also included here is a film, Airlift to Berlin (1949), used for fund-raising purposes; a commemorative album concerning the Universitat Tubingen; and photographs depicting living conditions in Germany during the late 1940's.

Also in the subject files are miscellaneous items relating to Immanuel Baptist Church and the Roger Williams Hospital, a few speeches, and pamphlets dating from Hauser's two political campaigns, his secretaryship to Mayor Hoan, and his opposition to war and facism, and his support of Milwaukee Blacks.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Otto R. Hauser, Wauwatosa, Wis., 1966, and O. Robert Hauser, Milwaukee, Wis., 1968-1976. Accession Number: M66-1, M66-7-1, M75-38, M76-85

Processing Information

Processed by Ron Perkins and Margaret Hafsted (1968) and Paul Rood (Joanne Hohler and Carolyn Mattern, 1977 and 1989).

Contents List
Milwaukee Mss CF
Box   1
Folder   1
Series: Hauser Family Papers, 1870-1871, n.d.
Series: Personal Papers
Tape 1210A
Oral history interview, 1972
Milwaukee Mss CF
Box   1
Folder   2
Biographical clippings, 1915-1969
Box   1
Folder   3
General correspondence, 1909-1970
Box   1
Folder   4
Documents, Universitat Tubingen
Box   1
Folder   5-8
Course notebooks, 1905
Box   1
Folder   9
Poetry and diaries, ca. 1907
Series: Subject Files
Box   2
American Nazi Party, 1936-1943
American Relief for Germany, Inc.
Box   2
Incorporation papers and organizational material, 1946-1951
Box   2
Minutes, 1945, 1946-1951
Box   2
Reports and notes, 1950-1951
Box   2
Folder   5
Correspondence, 1946-1959
Box   2
Folder   6
Financial records, 1946-1951
Box   2
Folder   7
Box   2
Folder   8
Universitat Tubingen photo album, 1947
PH 3219
Photographs depicting people and living conditions in Germany, about 1945-1949
CA 655
Milwaukee Mss CF
Box   2
Folder   9
Anti-war materials, 1920, 1932-1935
Box   2
Folder   10
Emancipation of Blacks, 1936-1963
Box   2
Folder   11
Immanuel Baptist Church, 1925-1927
Box   2
Folder   12
Roger Williams Hospital, n.d.
Box   2
Folder   13
Socialist Party, 1919-1936