J. H. Liesenfeld and the very tiny law class of 1896

University of Wisconsin Law Class 1896

University of Wisconsin Law Class 1896

Now this is a tiny photo! You probably can’t tell how small exactly, but it’s the 1896 law class from the University of Wisconsin squeezed onto a cabinet card (about 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches). Ambitious. To maintain photo quality I’m not cropping each individual but rather several in one grouping. Even the names underneath become somewhat difficult to read. But I just couldn’t pass it up. This is such a wonderful card/picture. So who are these gents? (at least I think they’re all gents!)

First up is J. H. Liesenfeld (the gentleman on the left in the photo of 3.) He appears to be Joseph H. Liesenfeld, born in 1871 in Wisconsin to German parents. The youngest of 3 children (Catherine, John, and Joseph), Joe never married. As a matter of fact he lived with this mother until her death in 1918. He did practice law all his life in Milwaukee, according to the 1905, 1910, 1920, 1930 censuses and several Milwaukee directories. There was no questioning his profession!

Three law students from 1896

Three law students from 1896

His parents divorced, a rarity for the time. The exact date is unknown; the whole family was last seen together in the 1880 Milwaukee census, then by 1900 father Philip Liesenfeld was living alone, listed as divorced. Gertrude Gardner Liesenfeld was often listed as widowed even though Philip was very much alive. Even in 1920 Philip is living with older sibling John (also now divorced) after Gertrude’s death. I’ve seen this phenomenon before, women who were divorced listing themselves as widowed. Clearly it was more proper to be a widow.

Joseph (1871-1936), sister Catherine Liesenfeld Klaeser (1864-1928), and mother Gertrude (1837-1918) are all buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Brother John (1868-1925) is in Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee. No finding of dad Philip’s burial as of yet.

Good luck Joe!

One thought on “J. H. Liesenfeld and the very tiny law class of 1896

  1. Pingback: Varsity Boat Crew, a Lawyer, and Dead at 40 | Unclaimed Ancestors

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