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Teich family papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Teich Family

Scope and Content of the Collection

The bulk of the Teich Family Papers date from c. 1870 to the 1970s. The collection can be divided into five series: Curt Teich Sr.’s papers, Miscellaneous family mementos, German papers, Photographs, and Reference materials. The papers consist of documents relating to Curt Teich Sr.’s childhood in Germany and his immigration to Chicago, papers and newspapers about Teich’s and his brother’s business dealings such as the Miami Park Springs and the Kaiserhoff (Atlantic) Hotel, correspondence with family and friends in Germany, and various travel souvenirs. The bulk of the collection is photographs. The images cover several generations of the Teich family, as well as various places of residence (in Germany, Illinois, and Florida), and the family’s travels.

There are additions to the family papers that have not yet been inventoried; please contact the Newberry Library Reference Staff to gain access to these materials.

Boxes 1-12 have been processed by Heather M. Johnson, 2010 and Siobhan P. Heraty, 2015.


  • Creation: 1823-1994
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1877 - 1970



Materials are in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Teich family 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.

History of the Teich Family

Curt Teich, Sr. was born on March 23, 1877 in Greiz, Germany to Christian and Elise Tamm Teich. He trained as a printer in Germany from age fifteen in Lobenstein, Germany where the Teich family was well established in the printing and newspaper business. In 1895 he immigrated to Chicago, Illinois. In 1898 he established his own printing firm in Chicago with his brother Max as a silent partner. At this time Curt Teich and Company specialized in job, newspaper, and magazine printing, but competition was fierce and in 1904 he went to Germany to study the newest printing and lithographing processes. Teich returned armed with knowledge of modern European printing methods. He began to print postcards with his own process using black halftone plates and adding colors by the lithographic process. Then, boarding a train in Chicago, Teich travelled the country selling his idea of picture postcards everywhere the train stopped. He returned to Chicago ninety days later with over $30,000 worth of orders. Teich is regarded by many as the pioneer of view postcards as we know them today.

In 1909 Teich married Chicago-born Anna Louise Niether. Curt and Anna had five children: Curt Jr., 1910; Walter, 1912; Louise, 1913; Lawrence, 1918; and Ralph, 1925. The family first lived on Malden Avenue in Chicago, then moved to Glencoe, IL. The family also owned a vacation home on Bluff Lake in Antioch, IL. In the 1950s, Curt and Anna Teich purchased a house in Gulf Shores, FL. Ralph Teich lived in Lake Forest, IL for much of his adult life.

The family, especially Curt and Anna, travelled abroad often, sometimes combining business trips with pleasure. In 1914 they traveled through Europe and visited family in Germany. In the 1930s a trip was made to Europe and Germany by Curt, Anna and Louise, and later Curt and Anna toured Central and South America.

When World War II broke out, the three oldest sons, Curt Jr., Walter, and Lawrence served in the military. Lawrence Teich was with American forces in the Philippines and was reported missing in action in 1942.

Several of Curt Teich, Sr.’s siblings also immigrated to the United States and lived in Chicago. Max Teich owned the Kaiserhoff (later the Atlantic) Hotel for many years, Frederick was a successful Chicago architect, and Rosa Teich Lueder ran a high-class boarding house. Businessmen Ernest and Alfred Teich also settled in the United States.

Curt Jr., Walter, and Ralph Teich held positions at Curt Teich and Company. The Teich family sold the company in 1974. The Curt Teich Company name continued to be used and Ralph Teich remained on staff until 1978. Rights to the Curteichcolor process and name were purchased in 1980 by John Hinde Curteich, Inc.


9 Linear Feet (12 boxes and 1 oversize box; 1 record carton and 1 flat box of additions)


Teich family papers include photographs, letters, travel and personal documents, and information about the Teich ancestral town, Lobenstein, Germany. A large portion of this collection is family photographs.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Curt Teich Sr., 1877-1974
Box 1, Oversize Box (Os1)
Series 2: Miscellaneous Family Mementos, approximately 1900s
Box 2, 10, and 11, Oversize Box (Os1)
Series 3: German Papers, 1823-1950
Box 3, Oversize Box (Os1)
Series 4: Photographs, approximately 1900- 1970
Boxes 4-11
Series 5: Reference Materials, 1850s-1994
Box 12

Collection Stack Location

1 38 5-6; 1 39 7 (additions); 1 43 6 (oversize)


Gift, Lake County Discovery Museum, 2016.

Processed by

Lake County Discovery Museum staff, 2010-2015; Newberry Library staff, 2016-ongoing.

Inventory of the Teich family papers, 1823-1994, bulk 1877-1970
Siobhan P. Heraty, 2015; Alison Hinderliter, 2017.
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