MS 601 - William L. Fiesinger Collection
|Title||MS 601 - William L. Fiesinger Collection|
The papers of William L. Fiesinger, Democratic Congressman from the Ohio Thirteenth District from 1931-1937, consist of correspondence, subject files, clippings, and speeches covering Fiesinger's service in Congress and his subsequent years in law practice and retirement. Focusing on the economy and silver question, the collection also includes material on the Panama Canal, Fiesinger's European travels in 1953, and a small amount of genealogical material.
The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of Ann Dauch Von Gruenigen, a granddaughter of the Congressman, on August 4, 1994. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and the finding aid prepared by Lee N. McLaird, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections in 2007.
William Louis Fiesinger was born October 25, 1877 in Willard, Huron County, Ohio, the oldest child of Louis and Elizabeth (Fuchs) Fiesinger. He was educated in the public schools of Norwalk and graduated from the law department of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea in 1901. He practiced law in Sandusky, and served as City Solicitor from 1903-1909. He went on to serve as a judge in the Erie County Common Pleas Court (1925-1931).
A Democrat, Fiesinger was elected to the United States Congress from Ohio's 13th Congressional District in 1930, defeating incumbent Joseph E. Baird. He served three terms, but was ousted in the Democratic primary by Forrest R. Black in 1936. Black was defeated in the general election by Dudley A. White. When Fiesinger ran again in 1938, he was defeated by White. Fiesinger preceded the wave of Democrats elected to Congress in Franklin Roosevelt's landslide victory following the onset of the Great Depression. He differed with Roosevelt on many issues, particularly on monetary policy. He served on the Coinage Weights and Measures, Invalid Pensions, Rivers and Harbors, Census, and Election of President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress Committees. He was best known as the author of the "Fiesinger Bill" which would have required the federal government to purchase 1.5 billion ounces of silver, in support of a bimetal monetary policy for the United States.
After leaving Congress, Fiesinger returned to private legal practice in Sandusky, but remained an advocate of the conservative fiscal and political policies he had supported while in office.
He married Maud Mary Nelles (b. December 5, 1876 in Brantford, Ontario, d. June 29, 1950 in Sandusky) on April 25, 1905 and they had two daughers, Elizabeth (b. 1906) and Lois, (b. 1909). Following his congressional service, Fiesinger returned to Sandusky to practice law. He died in Cleveland on September 11, 1953 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Sandusky, Ohio.
|Scope and Content|
The William L. Fiesinger Collection provides a glimpse into the work of one Ohio Congressman as he and his colleagues attempted to prepare legislation that they hoped would alleviate the Great Depression through monetary reform. The question of silver remained an abiding one for Fiesinger and the lifelong relationships he made during his term of office are documented through his correspondence. While almost no constituent correspondence survives, letters to other representatives and to lobbyists illuminate the process of developing a bill and following it through committee hearings and final vote.
Although some comment on Fiesinger's Democratic party relationships in Ohio and nationally can be gathered, there is no documentation of his campaigns, or on issues besides the economy and the gold standard. After his service in Congress, Fiesinger maintained contact with John Janney and may have been planning to write a book with him on economics, since some section drafts and notes survive. Those dating from the World War II era may shed some light on Fiesinger's evolving thoughts on the economic dangers of that conflict.
Following the war, Fiesinger also saved a small amount of material on the Panama Canal as well as on the issue of monetary policy, giving speeches and writing editorials on these topics. A small amount of family correspondence from the final two years of his life remain, much of it dealing with family history or his travel overseas. Family and travel photographs complete the collection.
MINUTES OF A MEETING IN DR. SPRAGUE'S OFFICE, TREASURY DEPARTMENT
PETITIONS AND RESOLUTIONS
SPEECHES BY FIESINGER
ESSAYS BY FIESINGER
SPEECHES AND ESSAYS BY OTHERS
SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS
LISTS, CHARTS, MAPS, ETC.
Pedigree charts and family group sheets for Fiesinger family
OHIO MATCH COMPANY MATCHBOOKS