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Carl Haessler Papers

Identifier: LP000031

Scope and Content

The papers of Carl Haessler reflect both his personal and professional activities. 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 people: Biographical material on Carl Haessler, 1908-1972. Draft Counseling, 1966-1972. Federated Press, 1930s-1960s. Ford Motor-NLRB Hearings, 1941. Homer Martin, 1937-1939. Newspaper Guild of Detroit, 1960s. Walter P. Reuther, 1930s-1970. United Rubber Workers: "It's Labor"radio transcripts, 1948.

Important correspondents: Federated Press Staff. Lina Haessler (Carl's mother). Sinclair Lewis. Fred Mack. Max C. Otto.
Series Description. Series 1, Personal Files, 1908-1972. Correspondence, articles by Haessler, lecture materials, PhD thesis, court-martial and prison experiences, other biographical material.

Series 2, Federated Press, 1919-1969. This series is a reflection of Haessler's activities as managing editor of the FP. Certificates, by-laws, correspondence, executive board minutes, subscriber lists, staff memos, several years of FP news releases.

Series 3, Draft Counseling, 1966-1972. This series relates to Haessler's work aiding young men objecting to the Vietnam War. Booklets, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors' News Notes, articles, leaflets, clippings, other draft information.

Series 4, Subject Files, 1935-1972. This series reflects Haessler's wide-ranging topical interests. Much of the material was collected for his research for the FP. Clippings, press releases, pamphlets, speeches, radio broadcast transcripts, reports, articles, a small amount of correspondence.

Series 5, Scrapbooks, 1930s. This series comprises 2 deconstructed scrapbooks, all materials photocopied. One consists of clippings regarding the UAW ouster of Homer Martin in 1939. The other is various documents, posters and clippings about the history of the Federated Press, most dated 1936-1937.


  • 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. 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 on August 5, 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's degree in Latin in 1911. That year, he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship and, from 1911 to 1914, Haessler attended Balliol College, University of Oxford, in England. 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 the University of Illinois. He received a Ph.D. upon completion of his thesis, "The Failure of Scottish Realism." In 1917, Illinois dismissed Haessler from his post for his political activity against American involvement 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. He accepted the conscription but in bootcamp refused to put on the army uniform. The military court-martialed him under the Articles of War, and he 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 (FP), a news service that provided daily content to the radical and labor 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 became 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 that union's public and press relations man in Flint, Michigan, during the sitdown strikes against General Motors. He also served the labor movement by editing "The United Auto Worker" until 1941 and for nineteen years editing "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 on December 8, 1972, after a long illness.


13 Linear Feet (22 MB, 1 OS)


Carl Haessler (1888-1972) was managing editor of the Federated Press (1922-1956), 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. This collection is comprised of pamphlets, leaflets, handbills, clippings, articles, radio scripts and union newspapers collected by Haessler. Subjects include civil rights, social reform, socialism in Britain, labor legislation, the NLRB and federal court hearings on the Ford Motor Company (1930-1941). An oral history interview with Haessler is available.


Arranged in 4 series: Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 4-6), Series 3 (Box 7), Series 4 (Boxes 8-22), Series 5 (Box 23). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


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

Related Materials

UAW Oral Histories,


Approximately 50 photographs of a personal and professional nature and dozens of cartoon impressions for the Federated Press have been placed in the Reuther Archives Audiovisual Collections. Eight audiocassettes donated by Lily Haessler, in Reuther AV Small Collections Box 5. Ten photos in Reuther AV Small Collections Box 13. 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