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Carl Haessler Papers

Identifier: LP000031

Scope and Content

The papers of Carl Haessler reflect both his personal and professional activities described above. A more complete documentation of the Federated Press can be obtained at Columbia University where Haessler donated one hundred FP correspondence file drawers in 1957.

Important subjects and personalities covered in the collection are: Biographical material on Carl Haessler, 1908-1972 Draft Counseling, 1966-1972 Federated Press, 1930's-1960's Ford Motor-NLRB Hearings, 1941 Homer Martin, 1937-1939 Newspaper Guild of Detroit, 1960's Walter P. Reuther, 1930's-1970 United Rubber Workers: "It's Labor", radio transcripts, January-June 1948

Among the correspondents are: Federated Press Staff - inter-office correspondence Lina Haessler - Carl's mother Sinclair Lewis - author Fred Mack - a college friend Max C. Otto - University of Wisconsin professor, friend and biographer of Haessler
Series Description: Series I, Personal Files, 1908-1972: This series contains correspondence, articles written by Haessler, lecture materials, PhD thesis, court-martial and prison experiences and other biographical material on Carl Haessler.

Series II, Federated Press, 1930's-1956: This series is a short reflection of Carl's activities as managing editor of the FP. The files contain certificates, by-laws, correspondence, executive board minutes, subscriber lists, staff memos and several years of FP_ news releases.

Series III, Draft Counseling, 1966-1972: This series relates to Haessler's work aiding young men objecting to the Vietnam War. The material includes booklets, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors' News Notes, articles, leaflets, newsclips and other draft information.

Series IV, Subject Files, 1935-1972: This series reflects the topical interests of Carl Haessler, Much of the material is Haessler's own research for the FP. The series covers a wide range of subjects and are made up of newsclips, press releases, pamphlets, speeches, radio broadcast transcripts, reports, articles and a small amount of correspondence.


  • 1908 - 1972
  • Majority of material found within 1916 - 1961


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Carl Haessler was born 5 August 1888 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father was a builder's hardware contractor and his mother was a teacher in the Milwaukee school system. Carl attended public school in Milwaukee and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor Degree in Latin in 1911. It was also in this year that he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship. From 1911 to 1914 Carl attended Balliol College Oxford. During his years at Oxford, Haessler became interested in the socialist movement and joined the Fabian Socialists. Returning to the United States in 1914, Haessler became a member of the American Socialist Party. He also began a teaching career in the Philosophy Department of Illinois University. He received his PhD upon completion of his thesis, "The Failure of Scottish Realism." In 1917 Illinois dismissed Haessler from his post for his political activity against American involve-ment in World War I. For one year Haessler was employed by Victor Berger, editor of the labor-socialist paper, the Milwaukee Leader. In June 1918 Haessler was drafted into the army. Carl accepted the drafting, but in bootcamp refused to put on the army uniform. The military court-martialed him under the Articles of War. Carl received a twelve year sentence at hard labor. He served two years in Fort Leavenworth and Alcatraz before his sentence was commuted by Presidential pardon in August 1920. Haessler returned to the Milwaukee Leader for a short period before joining the staff of the Federated Press. The FP was formed by labor and liberal editors at the national "Farm-Labor" conference held in Chicago in the fall of 1919. In 1922 Haessler becam managing editor and secretary-treasurer, holding these positions until the organization became dormant in 1956. In 1937, at the behest of the CIO, Haessler became the union's public and press relations man in Flint, Michigan during the sitdown strikes. He also served the labor movement by editing the United Auto Worker until 1941 and for nineteen years edited Tool and Die Engineering News. Haessler also founded or edited many UAW locals' papers. In 1963 Haessler established a draft counseling service to aid objectors being drafted into the Vietnam War. His other activities included lecturing and writing articles. Haessler died 8 December 1972 after a long illness.


11 Linear Feet (22 MB)


Pamphlets, leaflets, handbills, clippings, articles, radio scripts, and union newspapers collected by Mr. Haessler, who was managing editor of the Federated Press (1922-56); editor of the United Auto Worker and many local union papers; a member of the public relations staff of the United Rubber Workers; and was responsible for public relations and publicity for various groups and organizations. Subjects include civil rights, social reform, socialism in Britain, labor legislation, the NLRB, and federal court hearings on the Ford Motor Company (1930-41). An oral history interview with Mr. Haessler is available.


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 4-6), Series 3 (Box 7) and Series 4 (Boxes 8-22). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The papers of Carl Haessler were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in two installments. The first was donated in November of 1972 and the second after Mr. Haessler's death in December of that year by his wife, Lucy Haessler.

Related Materials

UAW Oral Histories,


Approximately 50 photographs of a personal and professional nature, i.e. Haessler, as dozens of cartoon impressions for the FP have been placed in the Archives' Audiovisual Collections. Numerous books and pamphlets covering labor education have been placed in the Archives' Library. A list of library materials is located later in this guide.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in December 1978.
Guide to the Carl Haessler Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA