Papers, mainly 1895 to 1929, of a prominent Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Socialist Party leader and politician, newspaper editor, German-American community leader, and the first Socialist Party member in Congress, and of his wife Meta, longtime member (and first woman president) of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, and prominent in the Socialist Party and in women's rights, education, and peace issues. Included is correspondence, Congressional files and mailings, scrapbooks, speeches and writings, Social Democratic Party and Social-Democratic Publishing Company records, papers of their daughters, and other papers.
Extensive family correspondence documents Victor and Meta Berger's personal and public lives and views. Victor Berger's general correspondence, some in German and Yiddish, contains information on Socialist Party politics, policy, and leadership, particularly in the 1920s; U.S. economic conditions and policies; the International Socialist Congresses of 1910 and 1925; divergent Socialist attitudes towards World War I; and the formation of the Conference for Progressive Political Action which endorsed Robert M. La Follette, Sr., for President in 1924. Also included is an unpublished biography of Berger by daughter Doris; legal documentation of Berger's 1918-1919 trial under the Espionage Act, and of subsequent hearings in the House of Representatives on the question of seating him; and campaign materials, 1894-1928, some in German and Polish.
Meta Berger's papers contain correspondence, 1907-1914; the manuscript of an unpublished autobiography; speeches and writings; notebooks written during her husband's trial, and during a 1935 trip to Russia; a diary of her travels to a disarmament conference in Geneva, 1932; and some Krak (Krack) and Schlichting family papers. Also included are miscellaneous personal papers of the Berger's two daughters, Elsa Berger Edelman and Doris Berger Welles Hursley.
Prominent correspondents include Jane Addams, Clarence Darrow, Eugene V. Debs, Morris Hillquit, Ada James, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., Emma Goldman, Samuel Gompers, Daniel Hoan, Fiorello La Guardia, H. L. Mencken, Gifford Pinchot, Lincoln Steffens, and Norman Thomas, as well as many other prominent national and international leaders.
The processed portion of this collection is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional accessions are described below.
This collection is completely available on microfilm. Portions are also available in paper form.
Other portions are available only on microfilm.
Exclusive distributor of the microfilm is Scholarly Resources, Inc.
Originals of some of the microfilmed materials are in the Social Democratic Party collection at the
Presented by Miriam Frink, Mequon, Wisconsin, 1969 and 1976; Deborah Welles Hardy, Laramie, Wyoming, Polly Welles Keusink, Brookings, Oregon, and Bridget Hursley Dobson, Los Angeles, California, 1989; and the Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1991. Material loaned for copying by the Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1993; and Frederick I. Olson, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, 1993.
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