Charles A., Elizabeth, and Charles E. Kading Papers, 1893-1976


Summary Information
Title: Charles A., Elizabeth, and Charles E. Kading Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1893-1976

Creators:
  • Kading, Charles A., 1874-1956
  • Kading, Charles E., 1907-1992
  • Kading, Elizabeth Holste, 1877-1925
Call Number: Wis Mss TX; Mss 426; M75-382; M78-495; M93-252; PH 1173

Quantity: 5.2 c.f. (13 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder); plus additions of 0.4 c.f., 343 photographs, 6 transparencies, and 1 drawing

Repository:
Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Abstract:
Papers of Charles A. Kading, a Watertown, Wisconsin lawyer and Progressive Republican Congressman; of his wife, Elizabeth, a lawyer and president of the Wisconsin State Board of Control, and of their son, Charles E., a lawyer and county court judge. The senior Kading's congressional career is documented in correspondence demonstrating his constituents' concerns and his contacts with the Fox River Improvement Association, the Portage Deep Waterway Committee, and the United States Federal Radio Commission. Also present are speeches and other material related to the elder Kadings' employment as educators with the Theresa, Wisconsin school system, which ended in 1900. The Charles E. Kading papers pertain to his Naval training in World War II, his years as a member of the Watertown City Council, and his fight as a Jefferson County court judge against a rule requiring complete financial disclosure by judges.

Language: English, German

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-wis000tx
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Biography/History

Charles A. Kading

Charles A. Kading, attorney and Congressman, was born in Lowell Township, Dodge County, in 1874, to parents who had immigrated from Germany in 1866. He was educated at the Horicon High School and attended summer school at the University of Wisconsin. In 1899, while serving as principal of the Theresa, Wisconsin school, he and his assistant, Miss Elizabeth Holste, decided to resign and enroll in the northern Indiana Law School at Valparaiso. They chose Valparaiso because it had continuous sessions throughout the year, plus Saturday classes.

In June of 1900 both Kading and Miss Holste received their law degrees. They were married that fall, and set up practice as Kading and Kading in Watertown, Wisconsin. This began a quarter century of a very successful law partnership.

Mrs. Kading, as well as her husband, became well known as a trial lawyer, but after the birth of their son, Charles Earl, in 1907, she confined her practice to office counseling and the preparation of briefs. She served for more than ten years as court commissioner of Dodge County, and in 1921 was appointed a member of the Wisconsin Civil Service Board. In 1923 she was made a member of the State Board of Control and became its president, directing the operation of the 17 institutions housing wards of the state. Badly in need of rest, in 1925 Mrs. Kading started on a vacation with her son; but in Colorado the car overturned and she was instantly killed.

Charles A. Kading early made a reputation as an earnest and capable public servant, as well as lawyer. He was Watertown's city attorney from 1905 to 1912, district attorney for Dodge County from 1906 to 1912, and mayor of Watertown between 1914 and 1916. In the latter capacity he aided the city greatly in building a $100,000 high school, securing the Fuehrman property as a public square, and expanding Riverview Park. In 1912, and again in 1914, Kading made unsuccessful bids to become the state's attorney general.

Throughout these years he was a Democrat, but at some time in the middle twenties Kading became a Republican, identifying himself with the Progressive wing of the party. As a Republican he was elected to Congress from the Second District in 1926, 1928, and 1930. In 1932, and again in 1934, he was defeated due to the reorganization of his old district and the popular swing to Democratic candidates. When Kading returned from Congress in 1933 he resumed the practice of law in Watertown, this time with his son, Charles E., as his partner.

In addition to his public offices and law practice, Kading owned at one time as many as fifteen farms (20 to 450 acres) and an apartment house in Milwaukee. He died in Watertown in June 1956.


Elizabeth H. Kading

Elizabeth Holste Kading was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, on July 17, 1877. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Sommers, died when she was a small child, and she was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Holste, whose name she assumed. She graduated from Watertown High School and became an assistant principal of the graded schools at Theresa, Dodge County, Wisconsin, of which Charles A. Kading was principal.

Both she and Kading attended law school at Valparaiso University, Indiana, and graduated in June of 1900. They were married on November 7, 1900, and shortly afterward, opened a joint law office in Watertown, which became one of the most widely known and successful firms in the state. As an able lawyer, Mrs. Kading received acclaim equal to that of her husband.

After the birth of their son, Charles E. Kading, in 1907, Mrs. Kading devoted her time to raising the child, thus reducing her participation in the law partnership. When Charles E. entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison at the age of 15, Mrs. Kading took a suite of rooms there to be nearer to him.

In 1921, she was appointed a member of the civil service commission of Wisconsin, and served until 1923, when she was appointed a member of the state board of control. She served as president of the state board for more than a year, but was forced to resign due to ill health. After spending several months in a sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, Mrs. Kading and her son took a western vacation during the summer of 1925. On July 31, the car flipped over in Colorado, and she was crushed to death; Charles suffered only minor injuries.


Charles E. Kading

Charles E. Kading was born on June 11, 1907, in Watertown, Wisconsin, the son of Charles A. and Elizabeth Holste Kading. He excelled in his studies and was known as a “child prodigy” in Watertown. At age 15 in 1922 he entered the University of Wisconsin. After his junior year at the university he accompanied his mother on a western vacation, during which she was killed in an auto accident. Kading graduated in 1926, received a law degree from the university two years later, and joined his father's law firm in 1929.

On July 12, 1930, he married Josephine Nelson; they had two children, Kathryn, born October 22, 1935, and Nelson, born February 3, 1942. In 1935, Kading ran unsuccessfully for circuit court judge.

During World War II, Kading served in the United States Naval Reserve, and was commissioned as a lieutenant after spending several years with the Naval Air Training Command in Tennessee and Florida.

In 1952, Kading was appointed acting secretary of the newly-formed Rock River Control Association, an organization whose goal was to convince Jefferson county officials to open the dam in the spring. The case was eventually won by the association.

Reentering politics in the late 1950s, he was elected to the Watertown city council. From 1956-1958, Kading served as acting manager of the council. From 1961 to 1977, Kading served as Jefferson County Judge of Branch #1, but resigned after a legal battle ensued when he refused to comply with Rule 17 of the Code of Judicial Ethics, which requires the disclosure of financial holdings. He died September 26, 1992.


Arrangement of the Materials

This collection was received in multiple parts from the donor(s) and is organized into 6 major parts. These materials have not been physically interfiled and researchers might need to consult more than one part to locate similar materials.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Charles E. Kading, Watertown, Wisconsin, July 18, 1956, July 11, 1958, 1975, and 1977. Accession Number: M75-382, M77-407, M78-495, M93-252


Processing Information

Processed in part by Sara Leuchter (archives intern) and Joanne Hohler, July 24, 1978.


Contents List
Wis Mss TX
Part 1 (Wis Mss TX): Original Collection, 1896-1937
Physical Description: 4.0 c.f. (10 archives boxes) 
Scope and Content Note

These papers, presented in the 1950s, consist largely of correspondence and, with one exception, relate chiefly to the years when Charles A. Kading was a member of Congress, 1927-1933. Correspondence for the years 1923 and 1924 is concerned with Mrs. Kading's work as president of the State Board of Control. According to a 1953 field report by Historical Society staff, Mr. Kading sorted through the papers before releasing them to the Society and is thought to have “destroyed much.” Of the papers received, about one third were concerned with Kading's efforts to get pensions and compensation for ex-soldiers and their widows. As veterans information is available from the Veteran's Bureau, and the correspondence was of little consequence, this group of papers was not retained. The Kading papers are arranged chronologically, by month only. An appendix to this finding aid contains an index to selected correspondents' letters. Prominent correspondents include Charles Goff, Charles E. Broughton, Herman L. Ekern, William Theodore Evjue, Carlisle V. Hibbard, Halbert L. Hoard, Philip Fox La Follette, Robert M. La Follette Jr., O.J.G. Peters, and Edward Voigt. A few non-correspondence items are filed following the correspondence.

Matters with which Kading's Congressional correspondence deals vary widely in importance. By far the larger number of letters are concerned with satisfying requests from constituents--sending them bulletins, helping them to get appointments, helping them to extend rural mail service, helping to secure post ofice buildings, taking up grievances against the government etc. While in Congress he was a member of the Accounts, Elections No. 1, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Rivision of the Laws, and Labor committees, and yet none of his actual committee work is revealed in these papers.

Occasionally, one finds a letter to a constituent, or to his brother, John F., in which Kading expresses his position as a lawmaker; and by these it is shown that he opposed Prohibition, supported organized labor, and opposed a Federal sales tax. Letters showing Kading's political associations in his district are a little less meager; for instance, there is material on the elections of 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932, and 1934. The two latter years yield some information on Progressives in that year and problems raised by redistricting.

Two small groups of papers merit special mention. (1) From 1926 to 1933 letters were exchanged between Charles A. Kading and O.J.G. Peters of Portage, Chairman of the Portage Deep Waterway Committee, concerning the Portage canal. There are also letters from the U.S. Army Engineers in 1928 on the advisability of dredging the upper Fox River. (2) Between 1928 and 1930 there are several letters referring to a proposal to revoke the license of many small radio stations in order to increase the power of larger ones. Some interpreted this proposal of the Federal Radio Commission as an attempt to control radio stations for political reasons. Several small Wisconsin stations, including WIBA, Madison, and WIBU, Poynette, would have suffered by this move.

Among the miscellaneous items filed at the end of the correspondence is a business survey and report on Sheboygan made April 30, 1929 in connection with efforts to obtain a new post office. Also found there are campaign expense records for 1906-1910 and other financial records.

Correspondence
Box   1
1915, 1917, 1918, 1923-1926
Box   2
, 1927-1928 June
Box   3
, 1928 July-1929 October
Box   4
, 1929 November-1930 May
Box   5
, 1930 June-1931 April
Box   6
, 1931 May-1932 February
Box   7
, 1932 February-June
Box   8
, 1932 June-December
Box   9
, 1933-1934 August
Box   10
, 1934 September-1937 March
Box   10
Clippings
Box   10
Biographical items
Box   10
Miscellany
Box   10
Campaign memoranda and expenses for 1906, 1908, and 1910 (Volume 1)
Box   10
Account book and Assets and Liabilities, 1907-1911 (Volume 2)
Mss 426
Part 2 (Mss 426): Additions, 1893-1976
Physical Description: 1.2 c.f. (3 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder) 
Scope and Content Note

These additions to the Kading papers were organized in 1978, and are primarily records pertaining to Kading's son, Charles E., although there are substantial papers concerning the elder Kading and his wife sufficient to warrant a separate series for each family member. The papers are mostly personal in nature, and do not document the Kading family law practice, Charles A. Kading's years in the House of Representatives, or Mrs. Kading's terms as president of the state board of control. As some material concerns more than one family member, overlaps occur in several files. The additions are divided into the following series: the Charles A. Kading papers, the Elizabeth H. Kading papers, the Charles E. Kading papers, and the Unattributed papers.

The CHARLES A. KADING series contains records dissimilar to those in the main collection. The incoming correspondence is scattered from 1893-1935; most concerns Kading's years in the Theresa school system. In later correspondence are letters from his wife and son during the fatal trip west in 1925, and letters of condolence after the accident. The outgoing correspondence, in February and March 1935 deals specifically with the campaign of Charles E. Kading for circuit court judge.

The financial material includes two bound journals which record the prices and inventory of books in the Theresa school system. The bankbook dates from 1900-1904, and many of the larger entries represented investment money that local German farmers entrusted to the Kadings.

Miscellany includes certificates of examination which enabled him to teach in Theresa, certification of his entrance into the law profession in Indiana, and assorted notes.

The ELIZABETH HOLSTE KADING series includes scattered correspondence from 1900-1925, mostly concerned with her years as a teacher in Theresa, Wisconsin. Except for two composition books dating from her secondary school education, there is little documentation of her early life. Mrs. Kading's speeches are concerned with national holidays, Watertown events, and school graduations; most are undated. The miscellany includes diplomas, testimonials, notes, and poems.

The CHARLES E. KADING series forms the largest segment in the additions. In the incoming correspondence are letters written in the period shortly after his mother's death, and also responses to his inquiries about commission as an officer in the Armed Services during World War II. The outgoing correspondence relates to Kading's unsuccessful campaign for circuit court judge in 1935 and to his involvement with the Armed Services during the war. Also found is his letter of resignation as judge to Governor Patrick Lucey in December 1976.

The file concerning Kading's relationship with Dr. Charles Goff of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee includes correspondence between them, and a copy of Goff's study of the abandonment of the council-manager position in Marinette County. Kading had produced a similar study on Watertown, and Dr. Goff traded advice and information with him concerning the problem.

The UNATTRIBUTED PAPERS series contains notes, poems, and writings for which authorship cannot be ascertained from the papers. Also included is a family scrapbook of newspaper clippings related to the Kading law practice, Charles E. Kading's scholastic achievements, and Mrs. Kading's obituaries. Certificates to practice law for Elizabeth Kading are filed separately with general oversize material.

Series: Charles A. Kading
Correspondence
Box   1
Folder   1
Incoming, 1893-1935
Box   1
Folder   2
Outgoing, 1935 February - March
Financial Records
Box   1
Folder   3
Journals, 1899
Physical Description: 2 volumes 
Box   1
Folder   4
Bankbook, 1900-1904
Box   1
Folder   5
Bar Examinations, 1900
Speeches
Box   1
Folder   6
, 1904-1933
Box   1
Folder   7
, undated
Box   1
Folder   8
Individual Voting Record in the House of Representatives, 1927-1932
Physical Description: 2 volumes 
Box   1
Folder   9
Miscellany
Box   1
Folder   10
Memorial Book, 1956
Series: Elizabeth H. Kading
Box   1
Folder   11
Correspondence, Incoming, 1900-1925
Secondary School Education, circa 1885
Box   1
Folder   12
Compositions
Box   1
Folder   13
Composition Books
Language:
German
Box   1
Folder   14
Examinations Questions Book
Speeches, circa 1895-1925
Box   1
Folder   15
Holiday
Box   1
Folder   16
Other
Box   2
Folder   1
Bound
Box   2
Folder   2
Miscellany
Series: Charles E. Kading
Correspondence
Box   2
Folder   3
Incoming, 1926-1945
Box   2
Folder   4
Outgoing, 1935-1976
Naval Career
Box   2
Folder   5
Vital Statistics and Commission Papers, 1942-1946
Box   2
Folder   6
Naval Air Technical Training Center Roster and Log, 1943-1944
Box   2
Folder   7
Naval Service Fighter Plans and Training Manuals, 1943-1945
Box   2
Folder   8
U.S. Naval Air Station Regulations and Training Book, 1945
Box   2
Folder   9
Rock River Control Association, 1952
Watertown City Council
Box   2
Folder   10
Activities, 1956
Box   2
Folder   11
City Government Reports, 1956
Box   2
Folder   12
Activities, 1958
Box   2
Folder   13
Future Capital Construction Plans, 1958
Box   3
Folder   1
Correspondence with, and Case Study on Marinette County by, Dr. Charles Goff, 1960-1961
Hearings on Rule 17
Box   3
Folder   2
Legal Briefs, 1975 August
Box   3
Folder   3
Chronology, Argument, and Preliminary Statement
Box   3
Folder   4
Proceedings
Box   3
Folder   5
Campaign Leaflets
Box   3
Folder   6
Writings, Creative
Series: Unattributed Papers
Box   3
Folder   7
Notes, Letters, Poems
Box   3
Folder   8
Scrapbook of Clippings
Oversize Folder  
Certificates, 1899, 1900
M75-382
Part 3 (M75-382): Additions, undated
Physical Description: 343 photographs and 1 drawing 
Scope and Content Note: Photographs of the Kading family, primarily composed of studio portraits, but also including images of Watertown and postcards from around Wisconsin.
M78-495
Part 4 (M78-495): Additions, 1930s-1970s
Physical Description: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box) 
Scope and Content Note: Materials, 1930s-1970s, consisting of papers of Charles E. Kading, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge. Included are pamphlets of the Wisconsin Progressive Party, constitution and by-laws of the Jefferson County Progressive Club, proposals to the Watertown City Council, and legal decisions.
M93-252
Part 5 (M93-252): Additions, 1896-1900
Physical Description: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box) 
Scope and Content Note: Memorabilia, including souvenirs and programs for commencement exercises at the Theresa School, 1896-1900, and at the Lowell School (Dodge County; August C. Kading, teacher); and the program for Charles' and Elizabeth's graduation from law school, 1900.
PH 1173
Part 6 (PH 1173): Additions, 1912
Physical Description: 6 transparencies 
Scope and Content Note: Lantern slides used in the campaign of Charles A. Kading for mayor of Watertown, Wisconsin, 1912.
Appendix: Index to Letters to and from Selected Correspondents in Part 1 (Wis Mss TX)
  • Broughton, Charles E.:  1927-1932
  • Ekern, Herman L.:  
  • :  To: 1928 March 1
  • :  To: 1928 February 15
  • :  From: 1928 February 16
  • :  From: 1928 February 20
  • Evjue, William E.:  Copy of letter from Evjue to Robert M. La Follette Jr., 1930 December 5. Kading's reply to Evjue, 1930 December 12
  • La Follette, Philip F.:  
  • :  To: 1928 June 28
  • :  To: 1932 February 2
  • :  To: 1932 April 22
  • :  To: 1937 January 14
  • :  To: 1937 January 15
  • :  From: 1928 June 26
  • :  From: 1928 July 13
  • :  From: 1930 November 5
  • :  From: 1932 April 27
  • :  From: 1937 January 18
  • La Follette, Robert M., Jr.:  
  • :  To: 1926 April 23
  • :  To: 1927 December 12
  • :  To: 1927 December 14
  • :  To: 1928 November 15
  • :  To: 1929 June 13
  • :  To: 1929 November 23
  • :  To: 1931 July 15
  • :  To: 1932 January 25
  • :  To: 1932 February 2
  • :  From: 1933 February 6
  • :  From: 1927 October 17
  • :  From: 1927 November 5
  • :  From: 1927 November 10
  • :  From: 1928 November 6
  • :  From: 1928 December 8
  • :  From: 1929 June 8
  • :  From: 1932 February 1
  • :  From: 1933 January 3
  • Hibbard, Carlisle V.:  
  • :  To: 1932 June 28
  • :  From: 1932 June 23
  • Hoard, Halbert Louis:  To: 1932 April 22
  • Peters, O.J.G.:  To: 1926-1933
  • Voigt, Edward:  To: 1926-1929