Guide to the John H.​ Kaiser Lumber Company Records,​ 1905-​1957

Last Updated

Summary Information

Title: John H. Kaiser Lumber Company Records

Inclusive Dates: 1905-1957

Creator: John H. Kaiser Lumber Company

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss L

Quantity: 2.0 c.f. (5 archives boxes)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr. 

Abstract: Records of an Eau Claire, Wisconsin lumber company consisting of business correspondence; miscellaneous legal business papers; biographical material; and minutes, proxies, and announcements of board of directors' meetings. There are income tax returns of the John H. Kaiser Lumber Company, of W. A. Kaiser, and of the Eau Claire Box and Crating Company. Also included are journals, ledgers, cash books, and records of stock issues.

Language: English


The John H. Kaiser Lumber Company of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was founded in 1905, with John H. Kaiser as president and his two sons, Edward W. and William A. Kaiser, vice-president and secretary-treasurer respectively. The company ran a large lumber yard and made wooden boxes and crates. In addition, it owned about 16,700 acres of Wisconsin timber land, held timber deeds to another 2,200 acres, and owned twelve miles of logging railroad, as well as logging equipment.

By 1917, box making had become the principal operation of the John H. Kaiser Lumber Company and a separate company was organized as the Eau Claire Box and Crating Company. A new factory was built and the production of boxes was continued there  until 1924, employing about two hundred full-time workers. The factory was partially destroyed by a fire in 1917, but box making was resumed at the original factory on Tenth Avenue. In 1931, the entire business was sold to the General Box Company of Chicago, which moved the production facilities to Sheboygan.

The repeal of prohibition in 1933 created a new market for beverage cases; therefore, John H. Kaiser, then 81, returned to box production on a limited scale in the Tenth Avenue building. He remained in business until he died in 1939, when the company ceased operations. The John H. Kaiser Lumber Company was finally dissolved in 1957.

John H. Kaiser, the founder, was born in Hulda Germany, on May 10, 1852, and immigrated to the United States in 1871. He moved from New York to St. Louis in 1878. There, in a small shop and with little capital, he began making boxes by hand for a dry goods company. From this beginning he later expanded to operate sawmills and box factories at Muscatine, Iowa; at Stillwater, Minnesota; and at Eau Claire. Kaiser came to Eau Claire in 1908, bringing his wife, the former Emma Bersch of St. Louis, and their five children. His death in 1939 came some fourteen years after that of his wife.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information 

Presented by Mrs. William A. Kaiser, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, March 11, 1964. Accession Number: M64-074 

Processing Information 

Processed by ABZ, September 30, 1966.

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Kaiser, John H., 1852-1939  
  • Kaiser, William A.
  • Eau Claire Box and Crating Company (Eau Claire, Wis.)
  • Box making—Wisconsin
  • Lumber trade—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Eau Claire (Wis.)--Industries

Contents List

Box 1Correspondence; 1925, Jan. - 1956, Feb. 
Board of Directors Box 1Minutes, proxies, and announcements, 1915-1957 Box/Volume 3/1Minutebook, 1905-1920 Box/Volume 3/2Minutebook, 1921-1947 
Income tax returns Box 1John H. Kaiser Lumber Company, 1939-1957 Box 1W. A. Kaiser, 1939-1954 Box 2Eau Claire Box and Crating Company, 1939-1957
JournalsBox/Volume 3/31926-1941  Box/Volume 3/41928, Jan.-1933, Dec. 
LedgersBox/Volume 4/51917-1931 Box/Volume 4/61920-1939Box/Volume 4/71923-1949 
CashbooksBox/Volume 4/81926, May-1945, Dec. Box/Volume 5/91929, Sept.-1934, Dec. Box/Volume 5/101929, Sept.-1934, Dec. 
Record of stock issues Box/Volume 5/111909-1911 Box/Volume 5/121911-1948 Box 2Miscellaneous business and legal papers Box 2Biographical material Note: Missing, Jan. 24, 1979.