The papers of Karl Frederick Geiser consist of biographical information, clippings, correspondence, and writings concerning Geiser’s pro German stance and reaction by the Oberlin College administration, the community of Oberlin, and the nation. Included in the biographical file is a copy of the “Report of the Committee on the Case of Professor Karl F. Geiser” (1919). This report provides insight into how Geiser’s writings and teachings were viewed by the College trustees, administration, and faculty. The correspondence series includes a series of incoming and outgoing letters (May 14, 1918; May 23, 24, 26, 1919; and, November 8, 1934) concerning Karl Geiser’s pro-German attitude. Other letters concern funding to publish the translation of Werner Sombart’s Der Moderne Kapitalisimus. Correspondents included Edward I. Bosworth (copy of letter), the Trustees of Oberlin College, and William Bohn.
The writings and clippings series provide further evidence of the concern, both locally and nationally, about Geiser’s views of Germany and Hitler. The writings files contain works by Geiser in which he wrote about the Western Reserve, America and its role in World Cooperation, Roosevelt and Foreign Outlook, and Democracy and Autocracy. (See inventory for listing.) Writings about Geiser include Oberlin History Professor Geoffrey Blodgett’s “Overtaken by Events: Understanding Hitler’s Germany” (manuscript, 1991) and “Embattled Professor: Oberlin College Debates the Third Reich” (Timeline, Aug-Sept. 1992).
The photographic series consists of glass and film negatives (both safety and nitrate) with prints taken by Geiser and family members. Pictures include the Oberlin Golf Course, Geiser, and his family. Negatives record exterior and interior of their three homes in Oberlin, several Oberlin College buildings, and places in Germany (early 1900s).
Series I. Biographical File, 1919-1920, 1926, 1928-1929, 1935-1938, 1942, 1951
Includes a copy of the “Committee on the Case of Karl Geiser” (1919), correspondence concerning Geiser’s death, Oberlin College employment records, and releases about Geiser’s pro-German stance.
Series II. Correspondence (incoming and outgoing), 1916-1946 (28 letters)
This series contains letters written to and from Geiser concerning his pro-German stance. The correspondents include the Oberlin College Trustees, William F. Bohn (assistant to the President), and Edward I. Bosworth. Other letters concern funding for the translation of Werner Sombart’s Der Moderne Kapitalisimus. The letters include handwritten originals, typed originals, typed copies, and are arranged chronologically.
Series III. Clippings, 1926, 1931-1941, 1951, n.d.
Copies of articles concerning campus and nation reaction to Geiser’s pro-German stance and the Germans. Publications include The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Elyria Chronicle Telegram, and the Oberlin Alumni Magazine.
Series IV. Writings, 1912-1913, 1915, 1923-24, 1933, 1991, 1992
Consists of writings by Geiser and writings about Geiser. Geiser’s works include photocopies of two early titles (1912 and 1913) concerning the Western Reserve and reprints of “America and World Cooperation” (1924) and “Roosevelt and the Foreign Outlook—Problem of Germany” (1933). Writings about Geiser include a copy of the 4 January 1919 book review of Geiser’s Democracy and Autocracy by The New York Tribune, and Geoffrey Blodgett’s “Embattled Professor: Oberlin College Debates the Third Reich” (Timeline, Aug-Sept. 1992) and “Overtaken by Events: Understanding Hitler’s Germany” (manuscript, 1991).
Series V. Photographs, ca. 1906-1949, 1987
Comprises Subseries 1, photographic prints, and Subseries 2, negatives (glass and film). Subjects include Geiser’s family and friends, family homes in Oberlin and in Germany, a few photos of people and places in Germany, the Finch family, Oberlin College buildings and environs, and the Oberlin Golf Course. Also included is a list of the photographs by Geiser held at the Heidelberg College Archives.