Skip to main content

Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Collection (MS-480)

Identifier: MS-480

Scope and Content

The Dayton Turner club was founded in 1853 and the Dayton Liederkranz club was founded in 1890. This collection includes a variety of subjects that encompass the organizations' over 100 year old history. These include early German immigration information, World War I and II publications, German relief efforts after World War II, and German cultural topics. Any researcher interested in German-American immigration in the Midwest would be able to track its development for over a century with this collection.

Prior to 1953 these organizations were two separate groups. Due to the new interstate system coming through Dayton both organizations lost their meeting locations and decided to merge groups to become Dayton Liederkranz-Turner. Due to this, materials before 1953, like the event programs and flyers may be mixed together.

This collection consists largely of correspondence, publications, and performance programs. There are also bound ledger books, binders, newspapers, brochures/advertisements, and very few photographs. A significant portion of the collection contains the papers of a previous President of the organization, Fred Olt. He also was a local business-owner at the Olt's Bros. Brewing Company in the early 1900s; he also worked for the Dayton Fixture Company. The records are organized into eleven series.

Series I, Organization History, contains year-by-year information on the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner's organizational history, including constitutions, descriptions of the club since its inception, photographs of founding members, and information on board members. Also included are records on the Liederkranz's German Relief efforts after World War II. All records are organized by year.

Series II, Women's Auxiliary, includes meeting minutes from 1934 - 1970, correspondence (1914-1972 - gap between 1938 - 1950), membership and dues record in a variety of formats (1915-1975 - gap between 1923 - 1938), financial records, newsletters, and historical records. A significant portion of the correspondence are condolence letters to families of deceased Women's Auxiliary members. Some correspondence is in German. Meeting minutes also record deaths of members, include financial records, and discuss updates and activities within the organization. Records are organized by topic and by year. This series includes a mix of materials for both organizations, the Dayton Turner's Women's Auxiliary and Dayton Liederkranz Ladies' Auxiliary.

Series III, Meeting Minutes, contains notes and information from the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner's weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly meetings. These records are organized by year, some in bound volumes.

Series IV, Financial Records, contains financial information from the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner from its inception in 1890 to the 1950s. Included are insurance statements, liquor license information from the 1940s, gymnasium expenditures, event expenditures, and building plans and upgrades. The records are organized by year.

Series V, Correspondence, contains letters and cards from Dayton Liederkranz-Turner members and from other German organizations around the country. Topics include event planning, gymnasium activities, financial information, and membership information. Correspondence is organized by year.

Series VI, Membership Records, contains documentation on membership for the Dayton Liederkranz, American Turner-Bund, Dayton Turners, and Dayton Liederkranz-Turners. Includes ballots, registration, and due payment information. Organized by year.

Series VII, Publications and Advertisements, contains Dayton Liederkranz newsletters (1989-2008). Newspaper clippings and newsletters from other local, regional, and national German-American organizations (1919-1997). These are organized indiscriminately by year, whereas the newsletters that are more strongly represented housed together in chronological order [Dayton Turner newsletter (1915-1921) and American Turner Topics (1945-1967)]. Topics range from organization updates, activities, events, competitions, achievements, German-American opinions, and histories.

Series VIII, Events and Performances, is one of the largest of the collection. It includes programs and flyers from several decades of the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner's history (1890 to 2004). These programs and flyers are from singing competitions, local concerts, concerts of other German organizations, and events. Also included is sheet music from concerts. Researchers should note that oversize posters are stored separately.

Series IX, National Programs, includes programs from the District and National Saengerfest Competitions. These competitions took place across the United States and in Germany. These are organized by city and by year.

Series X, Fred Olt Papers, includes Fred Olt's business correspondence of the Olt Brothers Brewing Company and the Dayton Fixture Company. Topics include the general day to day, prohibition, and wartime aid. There is also correspondence between him and his wife (active in the Women's Auxiliary) and children. Included are newspaper clippings and memorabilia for the company. Correspondence is organized by year. Selections from this series related to prohibition are available online in CORE Scholar.

Series XI, Memorabilia, includes brewing memorabilia from local breweries except the Olt Brothers Brewing Company. Advertisements and flyers from Ohio businesses and souvenirs from the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner trips and events. Selections from this series related to prohibition are available online in CORE Scholar.


  • Creation: 1880-2014


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of Dayton Liederkranz-Turner

The Dayton Liederkranz chapter was chartered on October 28, 1890 as Harugari Liederkranz and incorporated as the Dayton Liederkranz in 1911. The club focused on German songs and "Gemutlichkeit" (friendship), joining the Southern Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana District of the North American Singer Association.

The Dayton Turners, were Germans that came to the United States after the Revolutions of 1848 in Germany. The Dayton Turners chapter was founded in 1853 and was notably abolitionist, and advocated the balance of the entire person, which included music, fitness, and education. The Dayton Turners were a member of the American Gymnastic Union and participated in gymnastics events, including the Olympics.

In 1913, the Dayton Turner Women's Auxiliary was formed as a meeting place for women of the club. This group helped the organization with events and met monthly. In 1940, The Women's Club was formed as part of the Dayton Liederkranz organization to assist the men in the planning of the Golden Jubilee. In 1945 the name was changed to the Ladies' Auxiliary which continued to be a meeting place for the women of the club. When the Liederkranz and Dayton Turner clubs merged in 1953 the women's organizations merged as well. The Ladies' Auxiliary lasted for 46 years before be dissolved in 1986 when the group was no longer needed.

In 1953, due to the new interstate traveling through Dayton both the Dayton Liederkranz and Dayton Turner meeting locations were torn down. Looking for a new club location the two organizations decided to merge and relocate to 5th Street.

In addition to the original male choir (Maennerchor), a woman's choir (Damenchor) was formed in 1976, and in 1982 a children's choir (Kinger-Jugendchor) was founded. In 1982 a folk dancing group (Volkstanzers) was formed. The Dayton Liederkranz-Turner also travelled to Germany on a regular basis, most notably to Augsburg, Dayton's Sister City in southern Germany.

The traditional activities of the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner included a Spring Concert, participation in National and District Saengerfests (singing competitions between German-American societies), a Fall Concert, and a Christmas Concert.

The Dayton Liederkranz-Turner is located at 1400 E. 5th Street in the historic Saint Anne's Hill Neighborhood of Downtown Dayton.


22.25 linear feet

Language of Materials




The Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Collection documents the experience of German-Americans for over one hundred years going back to 1890 through 2007. The evolution of the organization reflects both local and national changes. The activities and goals of the Dayton Chapter, as well as their involvement with other chapters, is documented. The collection includes organization histories, meeting minutes, financial records, correspondence, membership records, publications, and programs.

Statement of Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 11 series.

  1. Series I: Organization History
  2. Series II: Women’s Auxiliary
  3. Series III: Meeting Minutes
  4. Series IV: Financial Records
  5. Series V: Correspondence
  6. Series VI: Membership Records
  7. Series VII: Publications and Advertisements
  8. Series VIII: Events and Performances
  9. Series IX: National Programs
  10. Series X: Fred Olt Papers
  11. Series XI: Various Memorabilia

Acquisition Information

The Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Collection was donated to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Club on July 31, 2013.


Further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected items from the Fred Olt Correspondence series and the Memorabilia series, specifically items related to prohibition have been digitized and are available online in CORE Scholar:

Related Material

MS-200 Adam Schantz, Sr. Estate Records

MS-400 St. Anne's Hill Historic Society Collection

Interview of Heidi Gasper by Sarah Aisenbrey. Americans of German-Descent in the Dayton, Ohio Area, 2013. Wright State University Special Collections and Archives, Dayton, Ohio.

Interview of Wanda Wiedman by Sarah Aisenbrey. Americans of German-Descent in the Dayton, Ohio Area, 2013. Wright State University Special Collections and Archives, Dayton, Ohio.

Karstaedt, Karl, and Don Heinrich Tolzmann. Dayton's German heritage: Karl Karstaedt's golden jubilee history of the German Pioneer Society of Dayton, Ohio. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 2001.

Orear, Linn. Language and Loyalty: German Americans in Dayton, 1918. Senior Thesis, Antioch College, 1962.

Orear, Linn. A Survey of Germans in Dayton, 1830-1900: Their Cultural and Economic Role. 1961.

Separated Material

Oversize materials are located in Oversize Location 89, Folders 1-8.


Dayton Liederkranz-Turner, German Club Edelweiss, and Eintracht Singing Society. 300 years of Germans in America, 1683-1983 = 300 jahre Deutsche in Amerika. Dayton, Ohio: s.n, 1983.
Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Verein (Ohio). 100 Years of Songs. Dayton, Ohio: Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Society, 1990.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Aisenbrey and Kaitlyn Goss, May 2014. Items related to Dayton Liederkranz were removed from Fred Olt’s Series. History information was separated from programs and publications and organized appropriately. Items from Fred Olt’s papers were organized into book-boxes and were removed and re-foldered.

11.75 linear feet of additions processed by Adam Becker in October, 2014.

Guide to the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Collection (MS-480)
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Aisenbrey and Kaitlyn Goss, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2014 October: Additions processed by Adam Becker.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA