Karl Pfister III Papers Finding Aid

Collection Summary


Dr. Karl Pfister III Collection

ID No.



Landgrove Historical Society, Landgrove, VT, USA


Dr. Karl Pfister III


This collection is open to the public by appointment.


6.5 cubic feet.

Span Dates

1791-2010 (collation dates 1974-2010)


Collection material in English


Please consult the repository for information about duplication or publishing of any materials from this collection.

Aquisition Information

Gift and Bequest of Karl Pfister III

Use Restrictions

This collection is not restricted. The Landgrove Historical Society is not the copyright holder for this collection and therefore researchers need to obtain the copyright holder’s permission before publication or dissemination.


The Karl Pfister III Collection contains the historical collection of Dr. Pfister. Included is his research on past Landgrove residents, their homes, the original lot layouts of early Landgrove, as well as general historical topics related to the town. Also included are some original materials—mainly photographs—and a small collection of the papers of Samuel R. Ogden.

Processing History

The collection was processed by Blair Williams as a part of an internship in the Fall of 2012.

Biographical History

Karl Pfister was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1919 to Karl Hans Theodore Pfister II and Edna Halbach Pfister. The elder Pfister was an organic chemist originally from Germany whose laboratory in the basement of his Summit, NJ home likely began Dr. Pfister’s interest in science and was further developed at MIT. Dr. Pfister graduated with a BS in 1940 and a PhD in organic chemistry in 1942 due to an accelerated program, WWII, and the need for scientists. Shortly after his graduation, he began work at Merck where he met his future wife, Margaret Wetjen. His introduction to Landgrove was a result of the stories of his Uncle Chet MacArthur—who was married to his mother’s sister and WWI volunteer ambulance driver along with close friend S. R. Ogden, a longtime Landgrove resident—whom he visited in Boston while attending MIT. A visit to his Uncle’s home in Landgrove in 1957, prompted Dr. Pfister to purchase the Nielson Farm at 2 Little Michigan Road. This would become the place that he and his family would spend summers and eventually retirement in 1971. Here he applied his scientific training to the growing of apples as well as land conservation. Additionally, he served on local boards and town positions. His interest in the history of Landgrove was sparked because of working on the 1976 bicentennial commission. He and his wife Peg, an amateur photographer, organized the main exhibit of enlarged copies of old photographs depicting Landgrove. As a result, Dr. Pfister’s interest in the town of Landgrove grew resulting in 30 years of research on various historical topics in addition to his numerous other interests.

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Scope and Content Note

The Pfister Collection consists of a variety of records produced or collected by Dr. Karl Pfister. Due to his extensive knowledge of local history Dr. Pfister was often called upon to answer genealogical questions regarding past Landgrove residents. One of the strengths of the collection is the genealogical information Dr. Pfister gathered answering questions. Another benefit from his genealogical correspondence was the development of strong connections with other genealogists, which often included the exchange of previously unknown information. Letters and questions often led to new paths of inquiry as well as new insights into Landgrove’s past.

Dr. Pfister’s research interests extended beyond individuals and included general topics such as mills, barns, and schools but were most extensive in his attempts to connect the property of current Landgrove residents to past owners. Attempts to trace the history of property often coincided with his genealogical interests. Additionally, Dr. Pfister spent a number of years trying to recreate the original divisions of the Town of Landgrove and subsequent subdivisions, which took place in the late 18th century. These records not only serve to connect modern times with the past, but they further provide detailed information on the ownership of property and residents.

Due to his interest in history, Dr. Pfister often received items of historical relevance to the area. This is most evident in the few originals in the Landgrove Old Photo Collection (LOPC) and the Woodward Collection. Various 19th century documents are located throughout the collection as well as the papers of Samuel “Big Sam” Ogden. These papers include rough drafts of Ogden’s historical works, Landgrove financial records, as well as correspondence and photographs related to Landgrove History.

Noted above the LOPC was begun by Dr. and Mrs. Pfister as a part of their work on the 1976 Bicentennial Committee and originally included only copies of historic photos. Over time this expanded a part of the Pfister collection included not only information about the LOPC but additional and more recent photos related to the history of Landgrove.

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Arrangement Notes

The arrangement of the Dr. Karl Pfister Collection has largely been maintained from the records as they were received. Some of the later files have been moved to more logical locations as these were generally not arranged by the creator. Due to space considerations a large number of folders have been combined with the order maintained. A separator page indicates where a new folder begins.

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Series Descriptions

Series 1: Genealogical Correspondence

The correspondence of Dr. Karl Pfister regarding past Landgrove residents and families. The files are arranged alphabetically with the exception of the Ann Carter Dennis Folders which were considered by Dr. Pfister to be their own group. A large part of this series is devoted to correspondence regarding the Carpenter, Gray, Holt, Woodward, and Utley families.

Series 2: General Landgrove Historical Topics

Topics related to various aspects of Landgrove history including roads, schools, bridges, origins of the town name, and other areas.

Series 3: Landgrove and the Civil War

Research conducted on Landgrove residents who served in the Civil War as well as their companies. Includes research on James Egbert Hale, and the Sons of Union Veterans. Companies include Company E, 5th Vermont Regiment Savage Station/Co. E, 2nd Vermont Reg. USSS/Company H, 2nd Vermont Regiment USSS Civil War—Landgrove Volunteers/Company H, 8th Regiment/Company C, 16th Vermont Regiment.

Series 4: Genealogical, Land Lot, and Property Research

Research covering the genealogy of various Landgrove residents—mainly 19th century and earlier—and the surrounding area. Includes vital statistics of families, census and grand list information, as well as research conducted on the history of homes and property of Landgrove residents. Includes research done on the Ralph Utley 1st Division, the Eckhardt Farm, and the Hesseltines. A number of maps of Landgrove and the surrounding area may be found in the oversized drawers.

Also includes research conducted by Dr. Pfister on the four land lot divisions occurring in Landgrove and his attempt to recreate the lot boundaries.

Series 5: Photographs

Includes Information on the Landgrove Old Photo Collection as well as additional photographs not included in the LOPC. Original photographs includes various tintypes, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and carte-de-vistas with only a few marked. Those with a known origin in Landgrove, Vermont are generally better covered.

Samuel R. Ogden Papers

Includes rough drafts of various historical works by Samuel Ogden on the history of Landgrove. In addition, includes a number of old financial records for the town as well as correspondence regarding the Landgrove War Memorial and on the history of Landgrove.

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