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Henry Voelcker, Catherine Rabe, and Frederick Martin Rabe family papers

Ms. Coll. 25

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
Creator:
Rabe, Catherine, 1848-1943
Creator:
Rabe, Frederick Martin
Creator:
Voelcker, Henry, 1842-1879
Title:
Henry Voelcker, Catherine Rabe, and Frederick Martin Rabe family papers
Date:
1871, 1879
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 25
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet
Language:
German
Abstract:
The collection consists of 12 letters written by Henry Voelcker, of Philadelphia, to his wife, Catherine Voelcker (later: Catherine Rabe), over several months during a trip to Germany, in 1879, along with a small notebook containing a draft of another letter. Henry and Catherine were both German immigrants, and the destination of Henry's trip was Durkheim, Germany, his hometown; he was very ill at the time and died shortly after his return to Philadelphia. The collection also includes a diary (partly resembling an autograph album) belonging to Frederick Martin Rabe, whom Catherine later married. Rabe, also a German immigrant and resident of Philadelphia, wrote the diary in 1871 when he was living in Lawrence, New South Wales, Australia.
Cite as:
Henry Voelcker, Catherine Rabe and Frederick Martin Rabe family papers, Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library, German Society of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Henry Voelcker was born in Durkheim, in the Palatinate, in 1842, and emigrated to the United States before 1868. His wife, Catherine Voelcker (later: Catherine Rabe), was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1848, and immigrated to the United States as a child in 1853. The Voelckers owned a bakery in Philadelphia. After Henry Voelcker's death in September 1879, Catherine continued to operate the bakery. Around 1885 she married Frederick Martin Rabe, who was also a German immigrant and resident of Philadelphia. Catherine died in Philadephia in 1943 and was buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 13 letters written by Henry Voelcker, a resident of Philadelphia, during a trip to Germany, between 28 April and 11 August 1879, to his wife Catherine Voelcker (later: Catherine Rabe), who had remained at home in Philadelphia with their three young daughters. Henry and Catherine were both German immigrants, and owned a bakery in Philadelphia. Also included is a small notebook of Henry, containing an additional draft letter to Catherine, circa 23 August 1879.

Henry Voelcker was very ill when embarked on the trip to Durkheim, Germany, his hometown; according to family information, he took the trip in the hope of obtaining medical treatment that would lead to his recovery; however, he died on 18 September 1879, not long after his return to Philadelphia.

The collection also includes a diary of Frederick Martin Rabe, whom Catherine Voelcker later married. Rabe was also a German immigrant and resident of Philadelphia. He wrote the diary in 1871 when he was living in Lawrence, New South Wales, Australia, apparently working as a waiter in a hotel; the diary seems to consist mostly of poetic entries that are transcriptions of remembrances written to him, as in an autograph album, not long before his departure for Australia, as well as a few reminiscences of his own.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library,  2011.07

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the German Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Paula Spang, 2011.

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Autograph albums
  • Diaries
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Manuscripts, German--19th century
  • Notebooks
Geographic Name(s)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)--Description and travel
Subject(s)
  • German Americans
  • Germans--Australia--New South Wales

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Henry Voelcker letters to Catherine Voelcker, 1879. 13 items, 58 leaves. Letters dated 28 April to 11 August 1879. Note: fragile -- please use preservation photocopies (see Folder 5).

1 1-4

Henry Voelcker letters to Catherine Voelcker, 1879. Preservation photocopies of the letters in Folders 1-4.

1 5

Henry Voelcker notebook, circa 1879. In a leather wallet. Contains draft letter to Catherine Voelcker, circa 23 August 1879.

2 6

Frederick Martin Rabe diary, 1871. Written in Lawrence, New South Wales, Australia, from March to July 1871. Includes transcriptions of remembrances written to Rabe, dated circa 1870- 1871.

2 7