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General Louis Wagner scrapbooks


Held at: Germantown Historical Society [Contact Us]5501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19144

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Germantown Historical Society. 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

Louis Wagner was born in Giessen, Germany in 1838, and moved to Philadelphia with his family in 1849. He entered the Union Army during the Civil War and served as part of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment until he was injured at the Second Battle of Bull Run on the afternoon of August 30, 1862. In 1863 Wagner took command of Camp William Penn, the first and largest Federal training facility for African-American soldiers. By the end of the war, he had attained the rank of Brigadier General (Brevet).

Wagner began an insurance business after the Civil War, and later held many Philadelphia city offices. Starting in 1887, Wagner served as Director of Public Works for the City of Philadelphia. He was influential in building the East Park Reservoir in Philadelphia, which became operational in 1889. In 1891, he became president of the Third National Bank of Philadelphia.

Wagner was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans organization, briefly directing the group as Commander-in-Chief. He was also a Freemason. Wagner died in 1914.

The General Louis Wagner Junior High School was dedicated to Wagner in 1928 and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Denslow, William R. and Harry S. Truman. 10,000 Famous Freemasons, vol. 3, from K to Z. Whitefish, Mont. : Kessinger, 2004 [1959]. Page 286.

Historic LaMott, Pennsylvania. "Colonel Louis Wagner." 2007. Accessed January 27, 2012.

This collection is comprised of about 25 newspaper clippings scrapbooks on various topics of interest to Wagner. The predominant theme is Philadelphia utilities, which relates to Wagner's role as Director of Public Works. There are also clippings on Philadelphia politics, temperance, Girard College, the German Society of Philadelphia, and other subjects.

Most of the clippings are from Philadelphia newspapers, but there are some out-of-state clippings as well. In addition to the clippings, the scrapbooks contain a small amount of ephemera, such as invitations and event programs.

Of special interest is a volume of autographs of army officers and other dignitaries at Ulysses S. Grant's reception in Philadelphia, December 1879.

Germantown Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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