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Carl and Robert Gamer papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2013.528.1

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    This collection is clearly delineated into two parts, each potentially very valuable for future scholarship. The Dr. Carl Gamer papers cover the coursework, research, and writing of his 1940 doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana, “Freedom of Religion in Germany: A Study of Theory and Practice Under the National Socialist Regime, with Special Attention to Free Churches of American and English Origin.” The term "free churches" referred to the non-established churches that historically had been either churches stemming from the Reformation but (in the early 19th century) refused incorporation into the state church, or churches from non-Reformation traditions that were not affected by that incorporation. The so-called free Lutheran and free Reformed churches fell into the first category; the second category includes a broad range of groups, including Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists, Adventists, Moravian Brethren, and Jehovah's Witnesses. The religious groups in the second category were sometimes viewed as "sects" (and the difference between a "free church" and "sect" has never been clearly set in Germany). As Gamer’s dissertation focused on "Free Churches of American and English Origin", this would have referred to Methodist and Baptists, primarily. Subseries 1 consists of his University of Illinois-Chicago class notes for his masters and doctoral coursework. His professors included important figures in the field of political science, including Dr. James Wilford Garner, Dr. Chesney Hill, Dr. Clarence Berdahl, and Dr. John Fairlie. The notes include information taken from lectures on Nazi Germany and on fascism and debates between isolationism and interventionism. Subseries 2 includes material from his research in Germany, including his diaries from October 1938-June 1942. Though he was in Berlin during Kristallnacht, Gamer was in the hospital, though he writes about what his hearing from doctors and nurses. His dissertation drafts, included in subseries 3, includes handwritten notes and corrections. Gamer originally wrote his dissertation under the direction of Dr. James Garner until his death; the dissertation was completed under the direction of Dr. John Fairlie. Subseries 4 consists of miscellaneous collected publications, clippings, notes and correspondence. Subseries 5 consists of his extensive index cards, containing notes on books and publications, of various topics, and of references.

    The Dr. Robert Gamer papers cover the research and writing of his 1965 doctoral dissertation at Brown University, entitled, “Consensus: Poland to Pearl Harbor.” Subseries 1 includes draft chapters of his dissertation, including handwritten notes and corrections. Subseries 2 includes an extensive series of index cards, largely consisting of notes on books and references, organized by author and by topic.

    The collection also consists of an extensive number of published materials, largely collected by Dr. Carl Gamer and regarding pre-war religious life in Germany, which have been transferred to the USHMM Library and are cataloged with a reference to the archival collection. The published material also includes material collected by Dr. Gamer while in Nazi Germany, 1938-1939.
    inclusive:  1921-1965
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Dr. Robert Gamer
    Collection Creator
    Carl Gamer
    Robert Gamer
    Carl Wesley Gamer was born in 1899 in Chicago, Illinois, to Carl and Magdalena Gamer, who were German immigrants to the United States. He had one sister, Helena (1901-1966), who later became a prominent medieval historian. In the early 1909, the family returned to Germany and settled in Wiesbaden, where Carl remained until after World War I. He returned to the United States in 1919 and attended Boston University, where he studied social gospel, graduating in 1925. He and his wife Alice spent a year on the inaugural voyage of the University Afloat, sailing around the world in 1926. During the Great Depression, Gamer, ordained as a Methodist minister, worked in mining towns. In the 1930s, he began to study for a PhD in political science at the University of Illinois. He returned to Germany in 1938 to research for his dissertation studying the free churches under National Socialism. He competed his dissertation in 1940. Gamer also assisted some of Alice’s Jewish relatives with their emigration from Austria. During World War II, Gamer served as a chaplain in Normal, Illinois, and then became a professor of political science at Monmouth College. He and his wife, Alice, had two sons, Carlton (b. 1929) and Robert (b. 1938). Carl Gamer died on November 7, 1965.
    Robert Gamer was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938 to Carl and Alice Gamer. He earned a PhD at Brown University in 1965, writing his dissertation entitled, "Consensus: Poland to Pearl Harbor" about American public opinion regarding international affairs between 1939 and 1941. He is a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and president of the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation.

    Physical Details

    German English
    13 boxes
    2 oversize boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged in two series and seven subseries:
    Series 1: Dr. Carl Gamer papers, 1921-1952
    Subseries 1: University of Illinois-Chicago class notes, ca. 1935-1938
    Subseries 2: Research in Germany, 1937-1941
    Subseries 3: Carl Gamer dissertation drafts, 1937-1940
    Subseries 4: Collected publications and correspondence, 1921-1952
    Subseries 5: Index cards of bibliographic and research notes, ca. 1937-1939

    Series 2: Dr. Robert Gamer papers, 1962-1965
    Subseries 1: Robert Gamer dissertation drafts, ca. 1962-1965
    Subseries 2: Index cards of bibliographic and research notes, ca. 1962-1965

    Series 1 is arranged chronologically, with the exception of subseries 3, which is arranged in the order of the dissertation chapters, and series 5, which is in the original (undetermined) order set forth by the creator.

    Series 2, subseries 1 is arranged in the order of the dissertation chapters, and subseries 2 is arranged in the original order, which appears to be loosely alphabetically.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor retains copyright on the material his father created. Other material in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Dr. Robert Gamer donated the Carl and Robert Gamer papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-24 15:37:57
    This page:

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