Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 121 - 125

Biographies for Matthew J. Chemnitz, Dr. Ida C. Bender, Pastor Wilhelm H. Schild, and Dr. Carl H.W. Auel


Matthew J. Chemnitz

Buffalo is one of the few large cities in the country in which not only was German instruction in the public schools introduced many years ago but also in which a good portion of the students who participated in German instruction later became a fair portion of the teaching force. This fortunate percentage of German instruction in proportion to percentage of German immigation is due to Mr. Matthew J. Chemnitz, who for nearly 20 years has been in charge of the program.

Mr. Matthew J. Chemnitz comes from a renown family, whose name is recognized throughout the world. He was born on December 1, 1856 in Würzburg, Bavaria. His father was Judge Matthäus F. Chemnitz, composer of the famous national anthem "Schleswig-Holstein Surrounded". He died in 1870. Mr. Chemnitz is a direct descendent of the Lutheran reformer of Braunschweig, Hannover, and Prussia, Dr. Martinus Chemnitz, who lived from the 16th Century into the 17th Century. He was a popular and well-known historian who wrote about the second half of the Thirty Years War, the Swedish imperial barons, and the Pommeranian ducal chancellor Vogislaus von Chemnitz.

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Matthew J. Chemnitz attended the business high school in Rendsburg, Holstein. Later he attended the technical high school in Hannover and became an applications chemist. He fulfilled his military obligation with the 24th Holstein Artillery Regiment in Mölln, and the 9th Holstein Foot Artillery Batallion in Bremerhaven

In 1880 Mr. Chemnitz crossed the ocean and found a position in New York as an apothecary. A year later he came to Buffalo and settled here. At first he was employed as an apothecary but then became a bookkeeper at the Jost Brewing Co. In September 1881 he was employed as a chemist at the American Glucose Co. He became superintendent of the refinery for 12 years. For a 2 year period from 1882 to 1883 he became superintendent of the branch operation in Peoria, Illinois.

In 1893 when H.P. Emerson became Superintendent of Schools in Buffalo, he wanted to improve the educational system and provide a sound staging for German instruction as well as secure the Finance Department. His choice fell to Mr. Chemnitz, who became Superintendent of German Instruction and the Finance Department for Public Schools. It was soon apparent that no better choice could have been made than Mr. Chemnitz. Since 1893 Mr. Chemnitz has conducted his post with great ability and model dedication to duty. He increased the size of the German Department from 33 schools, 41 teachers, and 5,435 students to 45 schools, 73 teachers, and 11,372 students, who are instructed in a total of 517 classes. As of 1912 three schools with approximately 400 students have been added. Over 600 student who graduated from grammar schools are currently enrolled in high school with a good preparation in higher German language skills.
As principle finance officer for the department Mr. Chemnitz has made several practical improvements. Despite the incredible increase in the size of the department the same work can be done with the one and one-half million dollar budget with the same number of clerks as before.
In the summer of 1911 Mr. Chemnitz was president of the citizen's committee for the annual convention of the National German-American Teachers Federation.

Mr. Chemnitz is a prominent member of the Buffalo Orpheus, in which he held the position of general secretary a year ago. Further he is a member of the Buffalo Sängerbund, for which he has been finance secretary for many years. He is a member of the German Literary Society, the University Club, the Young Men's Association, the Washington Lodge No. 240 of the Free Masons, the Zuleika Grotto, the Acacia Club, the Society of Natural Science, and other associations.
In 1881 he was married to Miss Emile Eppers of Liebenburg am Harz, Hannover. The happy marriage has produced 3 children - Matthew E., and Emily, who are now adults, and Heinrich, who is still a child.

Dr. Ida C. Bender

Dr. Ida C. Bender comes from respected German pioneering families of Buffalo on both her father's and her mother's side. She holds the office of School Inspector for Primary Classes in our public schools. Her father was the honorable Philip Henry Bender, owner and editor of the Buffalo Telegraph, one of the oldest and most influential German newspapers in our city. Mr. Bender played an important role in Buffalo business and social life until his death in 1882. He enjoyed enormous popularity as a politician and representative of the city in the State Legislature.


Dr. Bender's mother, Mrs. Elisabeth Bender, was the eldest daughter of Friedrich Gelb, one of the best known builders and contractors in old Buffalo. One can truly say that he was one of the architects of the city. He was also a man of powerful, moral influence as a chief supporter of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church and the St. John's Orphanage. It is a proud family history upon which Dr. Bender can reflect. And this we can attest to here - Dr. Bender has proven herself worthy of this family tradition in full measure. She was appointed to her post as Supervisor of Primary Grades in the most appropriate of manners. She is a woman with exceptional energy and she enjoys a fine reputation in the field of childhood education well past the city limits. Dr. Bender lives at 807 Auburn Avenue.

Ida Catherine Bender first saw the light of the world here in Buffalo. She attended the public and private schools. One of these was a German school organized by Mrs. Feld. She was confirmed in the St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on Hickory Street. She attended Public Schools 13 and 15. She also went to the School of Practice, an institution associated with the Normal School, where she acquired her practical education to become a teacher. She graduated from the State Normal School in 1878 with distinction. She received the gold medallion. Later she studied medicine at the University of Buffalo and received her M.D. degree in 1890.

Miss Bender gave her first instructions as a teacher in Public School 14. Later she became head of the School of Practice for the State Normal School and then became head of the Natural Sciences Department at Central High School. Dr. Bender is currently Assistant to the Chief of the City School Department with the title of Supervisor of Primary Grades.

Dr. Bender has received a long list of honorable positions. She is president of the Women Teachers Association of Buffalo. She was greatly honored when the Superintendents Department of the National Education Association elected her vice-president of the general assembly. She is the first woman to have such a distinction in America. Buffalo's German community can feel pride in having a Buffalo-born German-American who has been so honored. In 1907 Dr. Bender represented the city of Buffalo at the International School Hygiene Congress in London. Furthermore she is a member of the Executive Council of the N.Y. State Federation of Women's Clubs, the Scribblers Club of Buffalo, the Buffalo Library Association, the Historical Association, the Womens E & J Union, and countless other associations.

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Dr. Bender has compiled a large number of excellent textbooks, co-authoring Modern English Series of Language and Grammar Texts with Supt. Emerson, Newlands-Bender Course of Writing and Bender Primer with Alexander Newlands, Graded Literature Readers with President Judson of the University of Chicago, and the Baldwin-Bender Readers with Dr. James Baldwin. Dr. Bender is an exellent speaker and has taken part in seminars on educational issues throughout the country. She also works on the staff of the summer school program and she works at the universities.

Pastor Wilhelm H. Schild

Pastor Wilhelm H. Schild first saw the light of the world on May 20, 1863 in Dillenburg, Hessen-Nassau. At the age of 3 he came to America with his parents. After completing the necessary schooling he commenced the study of theology at the Pro Seminary in Elmhurst, Ill. He later attended the Eden Preachers Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He approached his studies zealously and he was ordained in 1884. From that point Pastor Schild became spiritual guardian in Fort Worth, TX, Gilman, IL, and Sharpsburg, PA. From 1900 to 1912 he worked for the Bethania Evangelical Congregation in Buffalo. In January 1912 he was called to St. Stephan's Evangelical Church at Adams and Peckham Streets in Buffalo.

Dr. Carl H.W. Auel

Respected as a physician and as a citizen, Dr. Auel has been involved with the German Hospital since its founding. He has achieved for himself a enviable position in our city. The beloved physician received most of his education in the old fatherland. This was an advantage, keeping in mind the high standards of the German educational system. Dr. Auel has an excellent reputation as a gynecologist and obstetrician. He is employed in these areas at the German Hospital. He has a special interest in the gymnastics culture. A believer in the phrase "a healthy mind in a healthy body," he was the first spokesman for the Buffalo Gymnastics Club for the establishment of physical education in the public school system. The formalized system of gymnastic instruction we have today is based on Dr. Auel's outstanding recommendation. Dr. Auel was always at the post when there was a good cause.

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For that reason we especially treasure him. He is justifiably proud of his German heritage and he eagerly takes part in the endeavors of the German community. He is a model citizen - a credit to Buffalo's German community, a good German, and at the same time a good American.

Dr. Carl H.W. Auel first saw the light of the world on December 19, 1863 in Elberberg, Hessen-Nassau. His parents were the teacher Heinrich Auel and his wife Elise, nee Hammer. The gifted youth attended the academic high schools in Hersfeld and Corbach. He then studied medicine. In 1883 he came to America and settled in Buffalo. He received his medical degree from the University in 1886. He practiced medicine at 277 High Street, in the heart of the German section of town. He still lives there today. He has built up a thriving practice.

From 1891 to 1894 he was consulting physician at the Erie County Hospital. He is one of the 3 gentlemen who brought about the founding of the German Hospital. When it was established in 1897 he joined the medical staff and became the staff president. He's run unopposed for the office every since. Concurrently he has been the vice-president of the board of directors. He works as a practicing and a consulting physician at the hospital as well as working as an obstetrician. He is a member of the medical associations of Erie County, New York State, and the United States. He is also the investigating physician for several life insurance companies.

Dr. Auel regularly takes part in association life. For a long time he has been an active singer in various singing societies, including the Buffalo Sängerbund. He is also a member of the Orpheus, the German-American City Association, the Buffalo Gymnastics Club, for which he was spokesman for many years, the Teutonia Glee Club, the German-American Men's Choir, and several other associations. Further he is a member of the Order of the Free Masons (32nd degree), the Shriners, the Foresters, and the Redmen.

Additionally Dr. Auel has played an important role in the political arena. He was a representative of the Democratic State Committee. Six years ago he received the nomination of the Independence League for the office of comptroller. He received a Democratic nomination for public office however the other candidate won. In 1900 he went to Kansas City as delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Several times he was a delegate for the Personal Liberty League. Wherever you find German and liberal causes, you will find Dr. Auel.

On October 15, 1889 Dr. Auel married Miss Sophie Sonnemann. The happy union has produced one daughter, Elsa, who is 12 years old.

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised July 25, 2005