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Binger Hermann papers

Identifier: Ax 045

Scope and Contents

The collection (1888-1920) contains personal and professional correspondence, including congressional letters, journals and notebooks, legal and financial records, historical pamphlets and postcards, school notebooks and autograph books, a memoir, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs.

The correspondence is filed by date and includes incoming and outgoing personal and professional letters, including congressional correspondence, 1913-1920. Many personal letters are written to his son Schiller B. Hermann, and are free with advice on a variety of subjects, among them how to survive the drought of the Eighteenth Amendment.

There are a few loose journals and notebooks that include diary entries, appointments, clippings and other writings. Some of these notebooks may have belonged to Hermann's son, Schiller B. Hermann.

Legal and financial documents include deeds, contracts, timber reports, receipts and other miscellaneous records.

Historical pamphlets and postcards include pamphlets from Oregon schools, businesses and societies, and photograph postcards, Christmas cards, and postcards of Oregon destinations and attractions, especially harbors and rivers. There is a small group of racist postcards depicting African-American children that were a part of the "Cute Coons" series, and of Spokane, Washington area Native Americans.

With the collection are a few school notebooks and autograph books that may have belonged to Hermann's son, Schiller B. Hermann.

There is an autobiographical manuscript of handwritten memoirs by Hermann about his congressional career and associations. The file also includes many of Hermann's handwritten speeches.

The collection contains five scrapbooks. One scrapbook may have belonged to one of Hermann's daughters. The other four scrapbooks cover Hermann's congressional career and his years as commissioner of the GLO and include correspondence and telegrams, mementoes, county and state voting records, photographs, and news clippings. Clippings inside the scrapbook are mostly about about Hermann's political activities including his trial for fraud, Oregon and national political society news, and Oregon's rivers, canals, and harbors. There is a separate small box of clippings mostly about the fraud trials.

The photographs contain family prints and picture postcards, small albums, and prints of Oregon's harbors, canals, and rivers.


  • 1873-1920


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Binger Hermann (1843-1926) was a Roseburg attorney and politician who represented Oregon in the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen years and served as commissioner of the General Land Office (GLO) under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. His public career ended in scandal with his indictment in the Oregon Land Frauds, although in time he was acquitted of all charges.

Born in Maryland on February 19, 1843, Hermann migrated as a teenager with his family to Oregon's Coquille River Valley, where his father, Dr. Henry Hermann, established a community of pioneer settlers known as the Baltimore colony. Binger Hermann spent several years as a public schoolteacher before studying law in the office of Stephen Chadwick. In 1865, he accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, but the Civil War ended before he could recruit a full company of volunteers.

In 1866 Hermann began his political ascent with election to the state legislature. Over the next two decades, he was state senator, tax collector, and judge advocate in the Oregon militia. In 1884, he became Oregon's sole representative in Congress. After serving six terms in the House, a determined opposition defeated him at the 1896 Oregon Republican convention and nominated Thomas Tongue to replace him. A year later, President McKinley appointed Hermann commissioner of the GLO.

In 1903, Hermann resigned as commissioner at the request of Secretary of the Interior Ethan A. Hitchcock following revelations of fraud in the GLO. Despite the scandal, Hermann won re-election to his former congressional seat four months later. Critics attributed his victory to a photograph published in the Oregonian of Hermann and an unwitting Theodore Roosevelt during the popular president's recent tour of Portland.

In 1905, a federal grand jury in Portland filed indictments against Hermann on charges ranging from destruction of evidence to conspiracy to commit fraud. He was one of several prominent politicians under investigation, and the subsequent trials scandalized the state for the remainder of the decade. While other members of the Oregon congressional delegation were found guilty, including Senator John H. Mitchell, two separate juries failed to convict Hermann.

Source: Oregon Encyclopedia online:


3.25 linear feet (6 containers, 1 volume) : 5 manuscript boxes, 1 clam shell box, and 1 volume

Language of Materials



Binger Hermann (1843-1926) was a Roseburg attorney and politician who represented Oregon in the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen years, and served as commissioner of the General Land Office (GLO) under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. The collection (1888-1920) contains Hermann's personal and professional papers.


Material within this collection may have little to no intellectual or physical arrangement. Any arrangement may have derived from the records' creators or custodians. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to Binger Hermann at Special Collections and University Archives include: Binger Hermann letter, CA 1886 Jan 29; Binger Hermann letters, CA 1891 Nov 4; Binger Hermann letter, CA 1925 Feb 2; Binger Hermann manuscript of the Baltimore Colony pioneers, CB H426.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal to no organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Binger Hermann Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA