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Frederick John Rank papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Rank

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Frederick John Rank papers include diaries from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, correspondence, photographs, and genealogical materials. Notes about Frederick John Rank's diaries are in the first box. Rank wrote about daily life in the Chicago area (such as early unionization efforts at Montgomery Ward, buying a house in Chicago, and raising children), and also documented major Chicago events, such as visiting the 1893 World's Fair and the Chicago Cubs' 1908 World Series win. The bound volume by Janet Rank Spaletto features highlights from the diaries and is interspersed with copies of correspondence and photographs.


  • Creation: 1872-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1875-1939



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Frederick John Rank papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Frederick John Rank papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Frederick John Rank

Frederick John Rank's parents, John Martin Rank and Augusta Drechsel Rank, immigrated to the United States from Bavaria. Raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, he completed high school and then began his career working in a stationery store. He gave up his job to travel and see other parts of the United States, and eventually settled in Chicago, where he worked for 33 years as a packer for Montgomery Ward. In 1893, he married Augusta "Gussie" Minnie Klotz, a German immigrant, and together they had four children: Carl Frederick Rank, Frederick Herman Rank, Laura Augusta Rank, and Emily Matilda Eva Rank, who died in infancy. Frederick John Rank died in 1940 and Gussie in 1960.


1.7 Linear Feet (4 boxes)


The Frederick John Rank papers contain his diaries from 1875-1939, which record his daily life and touch upon his work as a packer for Montgomery Ward. A bound volume about Rank's diaries, compiled by Rank's great-granddaughter Janet Rank Spaletto, is also present. Additionally the papers contain family correspondence, some of which relates to Rank's son's attempt for an assistant postmaster general appointment.


Arranged by material type and chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 38 4


Gift, Janet Rank Spaletto, 2015.

Related Materials

There is an additional copy of "Frederick John Rank's diaries, 1875-1939 : life in St. Paul, Chicago, and Oak Park / condensed and compiled with commentary by Janet Rank Spaletto." cataloged separately, call number folio CT275 .R2558 A3 2013.

Processed by

Samantha Smith, 2015.

Inventory of the Frederick John Rank papers, 1872-2013, bulk 1875-1939
Samantha Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States