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Hanser Family Collection, 1800-1965.

The Hansers: (left to right) Hugo, Franz, Otto
  • Collection Number: M-0020
  • Collection Size: 2.7 linear feet

Biographical Note

The Hansers: (left to right) Hugo, Franz, Otto

The Hansers: (left to right) Hugo, Franz, Otto

Carl Johann Otto Hanser was born on 7 September 1832 in Schopflohe, Bavaria, Germany, as the sixth child of Pastor Franz Hanser and his wife, the former Euphrosyne Johanna Renger. He was educated at the local public school as well as at the Gymnasium in Augsburg. His education was enhanced by his father teaching him Latin at an early age. He enrolled at the University of Augsburg in 1846. However, he had to discontinue due to his parents’ financial situation. Otto served as a soldier in the war against Denmark, and then he went to sea. On his second sea voyage to New York he deserted and joined his brother Hugo (who has emigrated in 1849) in New Jersey.

From there the two brothers headed west to St. Louis, where Otto enrolled in Concordia Seminary on 30 August 1852. All his life he was plagued with painful headaches, which caused him to interrupt his studies at the seminary. Once again he chose to become a sailor. He finally returned to his theological studies in 1858 and successfully graduated in January 1860.

His first call brought him to South St. Louis in Carondelet, where he served for two years. His next call was to Zion Lutheran Church, Boston, Massachusetts, where he was installed in October 1862. Otto Hanser was well known for his missionary work in the Eastern District. He was instrumental in founding congregations in East Boston, Roxbury, Crossing and Plymouth and earned the name “The Father of conservative Lutheranism in New England”.

In October 1872 Otto received and accepted a call to Fort Wayne, Indiana, as the president of Concordia College, where he remained until 1879. He then moved back to St. Louis and served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard for almost thirty years. He also served on the Missouri Synod board for foreign mission and the board of control for Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He edited the “Missionstaube” and also wrote “Irrfahrten and Heimfahrten” (Odysseys and the Journey Home).

Otto Hanser was married three times. His first wife, from 1861 until her death in 1872, was Augusta Stählin of Augsburg. They had six children: Adolph (b. 13 Jun 1862); Rudolph Carl (13 Dec 1863 – 7 Sep 1899); Otto (24 Feb 1865 – 17 Nov 1881); Selma (21 Mar 1867 – 7 Oct 1912); Helena (b. 26 Mar 1868); Augusta (13 Dec 1972 – 22 Sep 1890). Otto’s second wife, Meta Schroeder, passed away soon after the birth of their son Heinrich (19 Dec 1874 – 3 Aug 1875) after only one year of marriage. His third wife was Margarthe Deprez, whom he married on 24 October 1875. Their three children where Johanna (b. 3 Sep 1876), Hermann (b. 22 Sep 1877) and Arthur (b. 21 Jun 1880). C. J. Otto Hanser died on 10 January 1910 in St. Louis.

Wilhelm Georg Hugo Hanser was born in Schopflohe, Bavaria, Germany, on 13 July 1831. He was the fifth child born to Franz and Euphrosyne Hanser and was also educated in the local public school and later at the Latin School and the St. Anna Gymnasium in Augsburg. He emigrated to America at the age of 18. Four years later he enrolled in Concordia Seminary and graduated in May 1856. His first call brought him to Fishersville, Canada. (Some documents state Rainham, Ontario, Canada) He served this congregation for four years. In 1860 he accepted a call to Johannisburg, Niagara County, New York, where he served for seven years. These years near Buffalo were overshadowed by controversy and disagreement stemming from the teachings of the Buffalo Synod and Pastors Grabau and von Rohr. Hanser’s next call brought him to Baltimore, Maryland, to become the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he served until his death in 1885.

Hugo Hanser married the former Karoline Meier of St. Louis on 24 October 1856. They had seven children: Caroline Louise (2 Sep 1857 – 23 Mar 1943); Professor Otto Friedrich Theodor (15 Aug 1859 – 21 Feb 1834); Carl Robert Hugo (28 May 1861 – 2 Aug 1932); Rev. Oscar Albert Rudolf (9 Sep 1863 – 2 Oct 1924); Martha (b. 18 Jan 1871); Euphrosina (b. 13 Aug 1873); and Friedrich (b. 30 Jun 1898). He died in Baltimore, Maryland, on 29 July 1885.

Otto Franz Theodor Hanser was born on 15 Aug 1859 in Rainham, Ontario, Canada (some records say Fishersille, Ont., Can.), as the second of seven children of Rev. W. G. Hugo Hanser and his wife Karoline Meier. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in June 1881 and received a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University, where he received a doctorate in 1882 while he assisted his father with his mission work in Baltimore and Virginia.

He was ordained and installed in January 1882 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in New York City. He also started to teach Greek, Latin and English in what is now Concordia College, Bronxville, New York. His next call brought him to Rockville, Connecticut, where he served from 1886 to 1901. Then he served a congregation in Racine, Wisconsin, for one year. In August 1902 he accepted a call to Huff, Indiana, where he stayed until 1907. On 11 August 1907 he was installed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and served this congregation until he moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1910. His last call was in Brooklyn, New York, where he served in the Altenheim starting on 10 November 1912.

Otto F. T. Hanser was married on 10 October 1882 to the former Marie Sophia Spilman of Baltimore. They had six children, of whom three died in infancy. The three surviving children were Agnes Marie (b. 5 Oct 1887), Walther Otto (14 Mar 1890 -22 May 1956) and Otto Craemer (b. 30 Apr 1891). Otto F. T. died on 21 February 1934.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains papers of several of the Hanser family members. The majority of the material belongs to Carl Johann Otto Hanser and his brother Georg Wilhelm Hugo Hanser. Other folders contain papers of Franz Hanser, their father who remained in Germany, and of Theodor Franz Otto Hanser, Hugo’s son. There is a series for each of the persons described above.

The C.J.O. Hanser series includes the chronologically arranged correspondence file (f.6) for the entire Hanser collection, since the recipients and/or writers of the various letters could not be determined in many cases. The majority of the letters appear to have been to or from C. J. O. Hanser. Another large portion of this series is the sermon file, which is arranged in the order of the church year, using the Latin festival names for the various Sundays. There is also a sermon book in f.49 that contains five sermons preached in Aschaffenburg in 1886-87 and dedicated to “my bride”. This book must have been written by C. J. O. Hanser, since his brother Hugo died in 1885, and in one of Hugo’s obituaries it is mentioned that one Hanser sister lived in Aschaffenburg (Germany) and was visited by brother Otto at the time of Hugo’s funeral. Furthermore, a bound but fragile volume of handwritten C. F. W. Walther sermons, copied by C. J. Otto Hanser, is part of this collection in f.50.

Folder # 4 contains miscellaneous biographical items including a typewritten text of the “Address Given at the Internment of Mrs. Elisabeth Kalb on 26 December 1938.” Mrs. Kalb was born on 23 April 1872 as the twin daughter of Wilhelm and Sophie Stählin. C. J. O. Hanser’s first wife’s maiden name was Stählin, and she came from Augsburg, Germany. Genealogical research using the album found in f.#2, reveals that Mrs. Kalb is the niece of Augusta Hanser (nee Stählin).

A translated and typed copy of the C. J. O. Hanser’s book “Irrfahrten und Heimfahrten,” published in 1910, can be found in f.62 There are also several articles in the collection mentioning a significant coin collection that was contributed by the C. J. Otto Hanser family to the seminary and ultimately placed in Concordia Historical Institute. This collections is still a part of CHI’s holdings today. There is also a great array of pictures available of Otto Hanser.

The G.W. Hugo Hanser series consists of two original diaries that are transcribed into a typed format and partially translated into English. Extensive genealogical research had been done on the Hugo Hanser family. This is also part of this series, including a large blueprint family tree filed in oversized materials. The sermons of Hugo Hanser are also arranged by the church year. A copy of Philipp Melanchthon’s Consilia fiue Ivdica Theologica, printed in 1600 and belonging to Hugo Hanser, was placed in CHI’s Library. Folder # 75 was removed after the final labels had been printed.

The Otto Franz Theodor series consists of 3 autograph books, various biographical material and a diary that is not transcribed or translated.

Donor Information

The majority of the Hanser material was donated by Hugo Hanser’s son, Professor Otto Franz Theodor Hanser, and by Agnes Hanser, Otto F. T.’s daughter.

Folder List

Carl Johann Otto Hanser

  • f.1: Application for Citizenship
  • f.2: Album belonging to Augusta Hanser
  • f.3: Album – material found in it
  • f.4: Biographical Material
  • f.5: Cartoon “Der Lumpensammler”
  • f.6: Correspondence 1855-1903
  • f.7: Donor Information
  • f.8: Fragments
  • f.9: General Material
  • f.10: Missionstaube
  • f.11: Newsclippings
  • f.12: New Testament in Greek
  • f.13: Notes
  • f.14: Notebook: Homilarium
  • f.15: Notebook: Vergleichung der Predigten
  • f.16: Photos
  • f.17: Printed Material
  • f.18-60 Sermons
    • f.18: Advent
    • f.19: Christmas
    • f.20: New Year
    • f.21: Epiphany
    • f.22: Septugesima
    • f.23: Sexagesima
    • f.24: Quinquagesima
    • f.25: Reminiscere
    • f.26: Oculi
    • f.27: Latare
    • f.28: Judica
    • f.29: Lenten I
    • f.30: Lenten II
    • f.31: Lenten III
    • f.32: Lenten IV
    • f.33: Lenten V
    • f.34: Palm Sunday
    • f.35: Maundy Thursday
    • f.36: Good Friday
    • f.37: Easter Sunday
    • f.38: Quasimodogeniti
    • f.39: Misericordias
    • f.39a: Jubilate
    • f.40: Cantate
    • f.41: Rogate
    • f.42: Exaudi
    • f.43: Pentecost
    • f.44: Ascension Day
    • f.45: Trinitatis I
    • f.46: Trinitatis II
    • f.47: Trinitatis III
    • f.48: Trinitatis IV
    • f.49: Book dedicated to his wife
    • f.50: By C. F. W. Walther, copied by Hanser
    • f.51: Confession (Beichte)
    • f.52: Confirmation
    • f.53: Dedication of Church (Kirchweih)
    • f.54: Funeral (Beerdigung)
    • f.55: Mission
    • f.56: Not written by C. J. O. Hanser
    • f.57: Day of Thanks & Prayer (Bet- und Danktag)
    • f.58: Reformation
    • f.59: Repentance (Bußpredigt)
    • f.60: Special
  • f.61: Writings: Irrfahrten und Heimfahrten – English translation
  • f.62: Writing: various

Wilhlem Georg Hugo Hanser

  • f.63: Biographical Material
  • f.64: Church Difficulties in Johannisburg
  • f.65-71 Diary:
    • f.65: No. I (Original)
    • f.66: No. I (Photocopy of Original)
    • f.67: No. I (Transcription)
    • f.68: No. II (Original)
    • f.69: No. II (Photocopy of Original)
    • f.70: No. II (Transcription)
  • f.71: No. II (Summary Translation)
  • f.72: Franz Hanser Material
  • f.73: Genealogy
  • f.74: Miscellaneous
  • f.76: Newsclippings (other)
  • f.77: Photos
  • f.78: Report Card
  • f.79-84: Sermons
    • f.79: Advent/Christmas
    • f.80: Epiphany
    • f.81: Holy Week/Easter Season
    • f.82: Pentecost Season
    • f.83: Trinity Season
    • f.84: Special

Otto Franz Theodor Hanser

f.85: Autograph Books (3 each)
f.86: Biographical Material
f.87: Diary (original)

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