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Adelaide Ermentrout scrapbooks on Daniel Ermentrout


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

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

Overview and metadata sections

Daniel Ermentrout was one of nine surviving children of William Ermentrout Sr. and Justina Silvis, residents of Reading, Pennsylvania. He was born on 24 January 1837, and he attended primary schools in Reading. He would later study law in college. He was admitted to the bar in 1857, and, in addition to setting up his own practice, he developed a career in Democratic politics. During the 1860s, he held local offices in Reading and with Berks County. In the early 1870s, Ermentrout married Adelaide Louise Metzger of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She worked as a journalist and had two children: Fitz Daniel, who became a lawyer in Reading, and a daughter named Adelaide Louise.

In 1873, Ermentrout ran a successful campaign for a seat in the Pennsylvania Senate, and he was re-elected in 1876. In the state senate he found an ally in Heister Clymer, a local Democratic Party leader. Called "Uncle Daniel" by his Berks County constituency, which included a significant German population, Ermentrout maintained close ties to a number of organizations in his home county and was an amenable figure. Harboring a lifelong interest in Pennsylvania-German history, in 1876, he delivered an address during the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia titled "The Pennsylvania German in History."

Following up on his success in the state senate, Ermentrout was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania's 8th district, representing Berks County, in 1880. He would hold his seat in three successive Congresses until he was defeated in 1888. However, this didn't stop Ermentrout's political career. He was again elected to Congress in 1896, this time as a representative of his home state's 9th district, which covered both Berks and Lehigh counties. He remained in this position until his untimely death due to the ill effects of a choking incident in 1899. He also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention during the 1868 and 1880 presidential elections.

Comprising this collection are three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, letters, and other ephemera highlighting Daniel Ermentrout's life and work. The volumes were compiled by his wife, Adelaide Louise (Metzger) Ermentrout, and they date from 1877-1880 (Volume 1), 1859-1883, (Volume 2), and 1899 (Volume 3.) All loose items from the volumes have been placed into folders and boxed (Box 1).

The clippings and other items (mostly letters, programs, telegrams) that Adelaide saved largely pertain to Ermentrout's local and regional political efforts. However, she also added in scant family material, such as in Volume 1 a program featuring the Ermentrouts' son, Fitz. And some clippings highlight Ernmentrout's public persona generally, like those with the text of his "Christmas Legend" speech, which he delivered in December 1878 to a crowd at the Second Reformed Church of Reading, Pennsylvania, also in Volume 1. Most of the clippings are in English with a few from German papers scattered among them. The most prominently featured papers are those from Reading, Pennsylvania, including the Daily Eagle, the Times Dispatch, the Times, and the Sunday Times. Clippings from other regional papers also show up occasionally, and in Volume 3, among the clippings on Ermentrout's death are those collected from numerous American newspapers by a clipping service. In Volumes 1 and 2, Adelaide provided her own annotations, some of which shed light on current events, Ermentrout's correspondents, and the Ermentrout family's history.

The material in Volume 1 spans Ermentrout's move from the local to the national political scene, though the majority of the clippings are partial to governmental happenings in Berks County. Among the clippings are cordial letters to the Ermentrouts from federal officials, local businessmen, and family friends. In 1880, Ermentrout attended the Democratic National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, and this volume also contains a few ribbons ribbons and other ephemera he collected from the event.

In a written introduction to Volume 2, Adelaide describes the volume's contents, which primarily date from 1880-1883, but also contains a very small number of include clippings from as early as 1859, which she found after she had already created earlier scrapbooks. These twelve pages of early clippings shed light Ermentrout as a rising public figure in Berks County. In addition to the large complement of clippings on Ermentrout's political ventures, this volume also contains a booklet of notes on the Metzgers and related families that was compiled by Adelaide called "A Glance at My Ancestry," clippings pertaining to other members of the Ermentrout family, and a series of travel ephemera collected by the Ermentrout's during a European vacation they took in 1881. There are also some interesting items on current events, such as clippings on the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881 and an invitation to Ermentrout to attend the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.

The sole subject of Volume 3 is Ermentrout's death, which occurred unexpectedly after a choking incident in September 1899. This volume contains printed obituaries, the lengthier ones of which go into great detail about Ermentrout's life and career. In the middle of the volume Adelaide pasted in envelopes of bereavement letters. These letters have been removed to Box 1, Folders 4 and 5, in the order in which they were found.

Gift of Marion Gold, 2010.

Accession number 2010.067.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2016.
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Wayne Strasbaugh.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Scrapbook, 1877-1880.
Volume 1
Scrapbook, 1859-1883.
Volume 2
Scrapbook, 1899.
Volume 3
Items removed from Volume 1, 1878, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Items removed from Volume 2, 1876, 1881, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Bereavement letters removed from Volume 3, 1899.
Box 1 Folder 3-4
Items removed from Volume 3, 1932, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5

Print, Suggest