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Fred Hartenstein Collection of Autographs

Identifier: 04-exws_hartenstein

Scope and Contents

The collection of autographs was discovered by Hartenstein while he was a student working at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Hartenstein inquired about the collection, he found it that it was going to be discarded after years of storage. When Hartenstein expressed interest in the collection, the library gave it to him rather than discarding it. The autographs were gathered by a reference librarian named Sophie Levin between 1900 and 1911. She wrote to numerous people requesting their autographs. The collection represents the responses she got. Hartenstein donated it to Western Michigan University Libraries in 1983.


  • Creation: 1900-1911; bulk 1902-1910
  • Other: Date acquired: 1983


Biographical / Historical

Dr. Fred V. Hartenstein (1920-2005) was a Western Michigan University faculty member from 1959 until his retirement in 1985. Born in Austria, Hartenstein emigrated to this country in 1920 and earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. He came to WMU from Washington and Jefferson College and was responsible for the creation of a Department of Management in the College of Business. He served as that department's first chair, when it was established in 1961. He remained in that role until being named associate dean of the college in 1969. He later returned to the faculty and served eight additional years as department chair. After his retirement, he was a contract consultant for the WMU chapter of AAUP for five years.


1 boxes

Language of Materials



Eighty signed pieces of correspondence collected by Carnegie Library (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) librarian Sophie Levin between 1900-1911, which contain the autographs of notable figures from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection was originally owned by the Carnegie Library, then given to Western Michigan University management professor, Dr. Fred V. Hartenstein, who donated it to Western Michigan University Libraries in 1983.

Physical Access Requirements

WMU Special Collections. Non-circulating. Contact department for access.

Source of Acquisition

Fred V. Hartenstein.

Method of Acquisition


Physical Description

The collection is housed in a single archival box (approximately 0.5 linear feet) and contains over 80 autographs of famous people from the first decade of the twentieth century, which were collected by reference librarian Sophie Levin at Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania between 1900-1911. Most of the autographs are written on postcards or stationery; some are accompanied by quotes or brief handwritten correspondence to Ms Levin. The autographs are from political figures, writers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Signatures of American politicians include those of former Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft. Other signatures include Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and William Jennings Bryan.

Inventory of the Fred Hartenstein Collection of Autographs Finding Aid
Alexandra Weeldreyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Special Collections Repository

Western Michigan University Libraries, Special Collections
Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490