Manuscripts cover a wide range of documents. The WHS collection includes memoirs, the personal papers of individuals, such as correspondence, receipts and memorabilia. It also includes the official records of a business or organization, its incorporation and by-laws, minutes, membership lists and financial material. The following abstracts are examples of some of the manuscripts we hold. There are over a hundred additional smaller files. These primary materials offer a wealth of historic information, much of which is not found elsewhere. These manuscripts are not digitized at this time, but contact us to find out more.

What are Manuscripts?

Manuscripts can be the personal papers of an individual, including correspondence, school report cards, playbills, receipts, and memorabilia. They can include the official records of a business, institution, or organization, including incorporation, minutes, financial material, and correspondence. The name reflects the creator of the material. These collections may also include photographs, books, maps, and artifacts. Below are abstracts from a variety of manuscripts that we hold; there are over a hundred additional smaller files. These primary source materials offer a wealth of historic information, much of which is not found elsewhere.

Brouwer’s Research Foundation, Inc. (1926-1960’s): Paper and artifact items from the life of Stephen J. Brouwer, who developed shoe lasts. He lectured extensively and utilized X-Ray machines in his local shoe stores to ensure the proper fit.

Buesing, Warren (1963-1978): Papers of a Wauwatosa School Board member, who also chaired the Wauwatosa School Board’s Citizen Committee. Files on individual schools are found, as well as reports related to subjects such as pupil population and building facility studies.

M & I Wauwatosa State Bank (1920-1989): Business papers and photographs from this local bank founded in 1920, which was purchased by M & I. Of particular note are aerial photographs of the village area and North and Wauwatosa Avenues when the bank moved there in the 1970s.

Olson, Frederick I: These are personal papers of Dr. Olson related to his historical writings on Wauwatosa and other memorabilia

Ravenswood Garden Club (1939-1999): Materials from this garden group include their constitution and by-laws, activities, scrapbooks, minutes, and a history of the club.

Walker Family: Papers, memorabilia, photographs, and artifacts that belonged to Emery Walker, 2nd owner of the Kneeland-Walker House, including material on both of his wives, Maybelle and Constance.

Washington Homes Association (1923-1997): These are the records of the association that formed in 1919 to oversee the Washington Highlands neighborhood, to which all homeowners belong. Among the papers are minutes, property change correspondence, assessment files, employee files, financial statements, and a group of miscellaneous drawings for improvements on homes, all listed by address or lot and block number. There is a detailed finding aid to this material to help researchers.

Wauwatosa Common Council Proceedings (1898-1958): These are the official, bound volumes that chronicle the activities of the Wauwatosa common council, beginning with a handwritten ledger dated May 3, 1898 and continuing, with later typed pages, through January 21, 1958.

Wauwatosa Community Concert Association (1950-1987): These are records of this group that brought musical programming to the community, including minutes, reports, correspondence, and programs for events.

Wauwatosa Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (1944-1981): Activities of this group are represented in a council history, scrap books with photographs and clippings, and yearbooks for the participating Wauwatosa public schools. WHS has additional collections on Hawthorne and Longfellow Junior High P.T. A. organizations.

Wauwatosa Curling Club (1926-1950s): Material of the club’s activities, including special events and photographs of curling.

Wauwatosa Fire Department: Until recently, WHS only had a group of department annual reports. The Fire Department, however, recently donated a large body of material, which is unprocessed, that includes many photographs and material recording department activities.

Wauwatosa Music Club (1946-1988): This manuscript includes the complete set of yearbooks of the club from 1946-1982 and scrapbooks of activities from 1945-1988, with a few missing years.

Wauwatosa Pioneers (1931-1980): Minutes and papers related to this organization that had roots to the pioneer settlers of Wauwatosa.

Wauwatosa Vocational Homemaker’s Club (1940-2001): These are the records of this club that disbanded in 2001, including information on Wauwatosa students who received their scholarships.

Wauwatosa War Memorial (1945-1956): Records of the community fund-raising effort to create a memorial in the civic center

Webster School: This school was formerly Washington School. We hold school registers, P.T.A. notebooks, photographs, and other related materials.

Wells Family (1888-1910): Memorabilia from this early family including school items and photographs.

Wheeler Family: Genealogical information on this pioneer family.

Work Projects Administration: Writer’s Program (1938): This is a unique body of material created by writers of the WPA toward the goal of compiling a Wauwatosa Guide Book. It was never put into final form. There is a complete index of articles by topic, such as Early Settlement, Geology, Indians, Pioneers, Transportation, Sports, Wauwatosa Clubs & Organizations, and many more. The writers also compiled biographies of local people and these, and the authors, have been indexed by name.

Zillmer-Moore Family: Genealogical information on these families with some material on the Etzel and Swan families. There is also a large collection of identified photographs of early Wauwatosa settlers. 

Community Histories and Memoirs

Reminiscences of Early Wauwatosa by Emma Clapp Watner (1902) and Sketches of Wauwatosa compiled by Elizabeth Foley (1932) are a good starting points for research.

Twentieth-Century Topic Club

Records from the TCTC include the constitution and by-laws, minutes, programs, scrapbooks, and club notes from 1900-2015, when the club disbanded.

Wauwatosa Council of PTAs (1944-1981)

Activities of this group are represented in council history, scrapbooks with photographs and clippings, and yearbooks for the participating Wauwatosa public school. WHS has additional collections on Hawthorne and Longfellow Junior High PTA organizations.

Interested in accessing our manuscripts or learning more? Submit an inquiry or become a member.