MS – 131: Bair-Kohler-Berger Family at 339 Carlisle Street Collection
(11 boxes, 3.5 cubic feet)
Inclusive Dates: 1893-1969
Processed by: Karen Dupell Drickamer
Provenance: Gift of Marianne Larkin, ‘71
The house at 339 Carlisle Street was built by Colonel Charles H. Buehler (1825-1896), a prominent member of the community, a member of the Class of 1844, and a trustee of Pennsylvania College. The house was built in the Italianate style and by 1891 it had been altered to reflect the Queen Anne style.
In 1896, the house was purchased by J. Emory Bair (1845-1914), a director of the Gettysburg National Bank. A veteran of the Civil War, Bair was very involved in the community and connected with the Gettysburg Knitting Company, the Gettysburg Canning Company, and the Land Improvement Company. Bair served as a trustee of the Pennsylvania College from 1896 to 1909. Bair and his wife, Mary Catharine Kohler Bair (1844-1834) raised their niece, Mary Catharine Kohler (1891-1971), a member of the Class of 1909, who married Clyde D. Berger (1890-1959), a Lieutenant in the Tank Corps at Camp Colt, Gettysburg. Mary Catharine Kohler Bair died in 1934 and Clyde and Mary Catharine Berger raised their four children in the house (their sons, Jesse, John, and Joseph all served in WWII). Their daughter, Mary Catharine, attended and graduated from Penn State University during WWII. She returned to Gettysburg where she and Bertram L. Larkin, son of Gettysburg College Professor George R. Larkin and Anna Larkin, were married on December 19, 1947, at a ceremony in the Carlisle Street Home. Bert and Mary Catharine Larkin resided at the home, during which time their daughter, Marianne Larkin, was born in March of 1949 and Bert graduated from Gettysburg College under the GI Bill in September of 1949.
The Alpha Theta Chi fraternity signed a three year lease for the house in 1951 from Clyde and Mary Berger. The Alpha Theta Chi became the Delta Omicron chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity on March 1, 1958, and the Alumni Association for the Delta Omicron Chapter purchased the house and property on December 1, 1958 from the Bergers for $26,800.
Gettysburg College purchased the house and property in May 2010 and renovated it in 2013 to house both the Economics and the African American Studies departments.
The materials in this collection were originally collected and preserved by Joseph Berger, and given to Special Collections by his niece, Marianne Larkin, ’71, following his death.
Scope and Content Notes:
The collection contains documents, correspondence, photographs, newspapers, artifacts, and ephemera, documenting the lives of the Bair, Kohler, and Berger families who lived at 339 Carlisle Street, as well as information about Judge David Wills’ family (business partners and friends of the Bair/Kohlers) as well as materials on Katalysine Springs and the Springs Hotel of Gettysburg.
The collection is arranged chronologically by subject and genre. Series I includes a history of the Gettysburg National Bank with a biography of J. Emory Bair and materials of his niece, Mary Catharine Kohler. Series II contains records, correspondence, newspapers, and documents, of Clyde Berger’s service with the Tank Corps in WWI at Camp Colt, Gettysburg, and in Europe; his involvement with the Tank Corp veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as local organizations; and information about his three sons who fought in WWII. Series III contains ephemera collected by Joseph Berger while serving in Europe during and after WWII. Series IV contains documents and ephemera about the Springs Hotel and Katalysine Springs. Series V includes history about the David Wills family and their house on the square. Series VI contains photographs, prints, maps, and artifacts from the previous five series in several sizes over five boxes.