University of Michigan-Flint
Frances Willson Thompson Library
Genesee Historical Collections Center
|Name of the collection:||Kroeger Family Papers|
|Quantity:||1 linear ft. + 369 photographs and 12 reels of film|
|Acquisition:||These were donated to the Genesee Collections Center by donor no. 224 in March, 1992.|
|Access:||There are no restrictions on access.|
|Photographs:||360 transparencies (slides), 9 photographs, and 9 reels of 8 mm film were removed and are stored separately.|
|Processed by:||Paul Gifford, April, 1992.|
Three generations of the same family are represented in this collection. The central person, however, is Ernest R. Kroeger. He was born in the early 1880s in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, to Charles and Mary Elizabeth (Meyerpeter) Kroeger. His father, who died in 1920, made wagons in his own shop. Ernest had a sister, Ella Grebe, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and two brothers, Frank R. (1892-1919), Sheboygan Falls City Clerk, and Fred C., a World War I veteran who followed his father's footsteps as a wagon maker and mechanic.
Ernest Kroeger moved about 1906 to Kearsarge, Houghton County, Michigan, where he found employment in a copper mining company office. On June 12, 1909, in Calumet, Michigan, he married Bertha Gray of Calumet, a Methodist of Cornish background. They lived in Calumet until about 1922, when they moved to Flint, Michigan. He worked as a machinist and then foreman at Buick Motor Division. In 1946, he retired and the couple moved to Davie, Florida, where they purchased a home and remained until their deaths. Bertha (Gray) Kroeger died in 1951 and Ernest followed in 1964. They had two children, Graydon (born November 30, 1912) and Theodora V., both of whom lived in Flint. Theodora, who never married, was an office worker and an employee of the Chevrolet Motor Division.
This is a comprehensive collection of correspondence and other papers and photographs. Nearly all of the correspondence is between family members. The earliest is from Ida (Meyerpeter) Allman to her sister Mary E. (Meyerpeter) Kroeger, dating from 1888. But the bulk of the earliest correspondence is addressed to Ernest R. Kroeger. His correspondents were his mother and brothers and a Civil War veteran named Theodore C. Hawkins. Most of the topics consists of news about family members in Sheboygan Falls. There are some letters from Fred Kroeger while in service in World War I. One significant item from the Calumet years is a copy of the Miners' Bulletin, the newspaper of striking Calumet copper miners in 1914. The collection of postcards has some value apart from the pictures. A number are from Charles George, Bertha Kroeger's brother-in-law, who moved to Flint in 1910. Several postcards from the teens describe his impressions of Flint and the job market there. There are also a number of letters to Bertha from her relatives. After retirement in 1946, most of the letters are from Bertha to Theodora Kroeger until the former's death in 1951, followed by letters from Ernest to Theodora. Topics include daily routines, gossip, and activities.
This collection has limited utility for Flint topics. Nevertheless, there are letters and, as mentioned above, postcards from relatives who had preceded Ernest and Bertha Kroeger to Flint. There are items pertaining to the Buick Retirement Club. An amateur photographer, Ernest Kroeger began taking color transparencies about 1940. The slides include a number of Flint scenes, including Bishop Airport, the construction of an underpass on Saginaw Street, a parade, and also some Ann Arbor scenes, all dating from the early 1940s. There are also a number of 8 mm films from the same period which feature Flint scenes.
The primary value of the collection is in the description of routine life, as a diary might be used. Comments on politics, radio programs, housework, finding work and economics, and many other topics abound.
BOX 1 LETTERS TO VARIOUS FAMILY MEMBERS, 1888- Kroeger, Mary E. (Mrs. Charles), 1888-1919 Kroeger, Ernest R. 1905-1906 1907 1908 1909-1911 1912-1914 1915-1918 1919-1927 1944-1964 Letters of sympathy on Bertha Kroeger's death, 1951 Kroeger, Bertha (Gray), 1907-1951 Kroeger, Theodora 1924-1947 1948 1949 1950 1951-1952 1953 1954 1955-1956 1957-1963 1964 Undated To other family members OTHER PAPERS Kroeger, Ernest R. Engineering examination, [191-?] Certificates, etc. General Birth, wedding, death announcements, etc. Commencement programs, school report cards, etc. Programs, 1923, 1934 Receipts, bills, etc. Newspaper clippings POSTCARDS 1905-1961 (1 of 2) (2 of 2) - includes undated [separate container]: FILMS Sheboygan Falls, Chicago, 1939 Motor Festival parade American Legion parade, Milwaukee, Sept. 16, 1941 Copper Country (Keewenaw peninsula, Michigan), 1939 Horticultural gardens, Lansing; Detroit Zoo; Oxbow Lake, Michigan Flint (black and white) Flint scenes; air scenes Michigan scenes Washington; Pennsylvania; 1939 World's Fair 1940 World's Fair; Washington; Pennsylvania 3 unidentified reels