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Rev. Herman J. Hahn papers

 Collection — Box: 1-15
Identifier: MS-0084

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the Salem Evangelical Church (later renamed Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ), Buffalo, New York, and its pastor from 1922-1948, Herman J. Hahn. It consists of scrapbooks and printed copies of radio addresses. The scrapbooks document the activities of the Salem Evangelical Church. Material in the scrapbooks dates from 1922 to 1983, but primarily concerns the period between 1922 and 1937. The radio addresses were delivered by Rev. Hahn on WGR and WEBR in Buffalo, New York, between 1930 and 1934.


  • 1923-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1922-1937


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Rev. Herman J. Hahn papers are open for research.


Please note the collection contains photocopies of scrapbooks that are held by Wayne Alt.

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Herman J. Hahn was born on January 31, 1888 in Kansas and studied at Elmhurst Illinois College and Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. Before coming to Buffalo, he was a pastor at churches in New Orleans, Louisiana, Valley City, Ohio, and Toledo, Ohio. In 1922, he became pastor of Salem Evangelical Church located in the Riverside neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. He continued in that position until his death in 1948. Hahn was active with the Socialist Party in Buffalo and was associated with the Revolutionary Policy Committee of the Socialist Party. He ran for various local and state offices on the Socialist ticket, including mayor of Buffalo in 1933, 1937, and 1945.

Hahn protested against war and social injustice and made substantial contributions to the labor struggle in Buffalo in the 1920's, 30's and 40's. In 1927, Hahn was briefly jailed and was fined for his participation in the protests in the Sacco-Vanzetti trial in Boston, Massachusetts. During a time when such action was unpopular, Hahn remained committed to a church that was politically and socially aware and looked out for those that were subject to discrimination. After a year long illness kept him from much activity, Hahn died in June of 1948 in the town of Tonawanda, New York.

Church Chronology

The Riverside Salem United Church of Christ as it is known today, was founded in January of 1892 by thirteen German-speaking families. The church was located at Garfield and Calumet Streets in the Riverside area of Buffalo and was built the following year in 1893. Under Hahn's leadership, the church became an important voice for social justice and continues that commitment today.

Organized, January 24
Church built at Calumet and Garfield Streets in Buffalo, New York. Rev. Kohler, pastor
Rev. Peter C. Bommer, pastor
Addition built
Rev. Nussman becomes pastor
Rev. Sandresky becomes pastor
Rev. Oberkirker becomes pastor
Rev. Grotefend becomes pastor
Parsonage built at 23 Calumet Street
No pastor
Fire, not major. Repairs to church and rededication. Purchased three lots on Tonawanda Street behind church
Rev. Herman J. Hahn, pastor
Congregation acquires Three Arrows Cabin on Grand Island, New York
Rev. Alan B. Peabody, pastor
Rev. Robert T. Adams becomes pastor
Mary Lou Bischmann becomes associate pastor
Major fire on February 10
Church rebuilt on same site. Renamed Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed)
Bischmann becomes pastor of Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ and St. Peter's
Bischmann, interim pastor
Rev. James D. Hakes becomes pastor


6.25 Linear Feet (15 manuscript boxes)


Collection documents the work of Herman J. Hahn as pastor of the Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ. Included are radio addresses given by Hahn (1930-1934) and copies of scrapbooks created by Irvin Alt, educator and Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ parishioner. The scrapbooks contain clippings about Herman J. Hahn and the Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ, where Hahn was pastor from 1922-1948.


This collection is divided into six series: I. Activism, II. Church and ministry, III. Personal, IV. Writings, V. Scrapbooks, and VI. Peabody materials.

Acquisition Information

The University Archives received a small amount of material in 1984 from Wayne Alt and Mia Boynton. Alt retained the original scrapbooks, but allowed photocopies to be made and deposited in the Archives for research use.

The bulk of the collection was donated to the University Archives in July 2009.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

21/F/982, Mitchell Franklin papers, 1922-1986

Processing Information

Original accession processed by Mark McGuire, March 2006.

Second accession processed by Devon Kramer, April 2010.


Finding Aid for the Rev. Herman J. Hahn papers
Finding aid prepared by Mark McGuire.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)