• IdentificationMidwest MS Rapp
  • TitleInventory of the Wilhelm Rapp Papers, 1846-1929 Midwest.MS.Rapp
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description2.2 linear feet (2 boxes, 1 oversize box)
  • Date1846-1929
  • Location1 28 7, 1 30 1
  • AbstractCorrespondence, poetry, and clippings relating to Wilhelm Rapp, German emigre and editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung.
  • OriginationRapp, Wilhelm, 1827-1907

Gift of Emilie Rapp Kemper, William Rapp Kemper and Mrs. J.A. Meiners, 1947.

The Wilhelm Rapp Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The Wilhelm Rapp Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Wilhelm Rapp Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Kelly Kress, 2007.

This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

German emigre and editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung.

Wilhelm Rapp was born on July 14, 1827, in what is now the Baden-Württemburg region of southwest Germany. As a student at Tübingen University Rapp participated in the German revolution of 1848, and was imprisoned for a year for his activities. Upon his release Rapp lived in Switzerland, where he taught school before emigrating to the United States in 1852.

Rapp edited Die Turn Zeitung in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, then moved to Baltimore in 1857 to become editor of the Baltimore Wecker. Rapp's anti-secessionist and anti-slavery views made him the target of mob violence, and in 1861 he narrowly escaped lynching by fleeing to Washington D.C. disguised as a minister.

While in Washington, Rapp met with Abraham Lincoln, who offered him the position of postmaster general. Rapp declined, instead moving to Chicago to become editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung. Rapp remained in Chicago until his death at age 80 on February 28, 1907. He and his wife Gesine had three daughters: Emilie, Frida, and Mathilda, and a son, William Jr.

Correspondence, poetry, photographs, and clippings of Wilhelm Rapp. Correspondence includes letters to Illinois Staats-Zeitung editor Hermann Raster. Also included are personal documents belonging to Rapp and a diary written by relatives describing his wife Gesine's trip to Germany in 1877. Three scrapbooks compiled by Rapp's daughter Emilie consist of obituaries and eulogies from various sources, as well as other miscellaneous materials. Rapp's poetry was written prior to the German revolutionary movement of 1848, and is indicative of his thoughts at the time. A 50th anniversary edition of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung consists of seven sections covering German contributions to Chicago art, music, religion, history, and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Materials are in German unless otherwise noted.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject.

  • Names
    • Rapp, Wilhelm, 1827-1907
    • Raster, Hermann, 1827-1891
  • Subject
    • Chicago
    • Civil War
    • German Americans -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Newspapers
    • German poetry -- 19th century
    • Germans -- United States
    • Journalism
    • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Geographic CoverageChicago (Ill.) -- Newspapers