Martin (F. Oskar) papers Edit


Finding Aid Author
Rebecca Hirsch
Finding Aid Date
July 2010
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.


  • 1891 – 1947 (Creation)


  • 3.1 Linear Feet (Whole)
    7 boxes

Agent Links



  • Biographical Note

    F. O. (Frederick Oskar) Martin was born in Mittweida, Germany in 1871. He came to the United States in 1891 after spending several years at sea. Upon his arrival in the US, he worked as a mining engineer and geologist in the mines of Alaska, California, Idaho, and Montana. He studied at George Washington University from 1900-02, worked for the US Departments of Agriculture (1901-05) and Interior (1909-19), and also spent a year working on the Panama Canal. He married his wife, Agnes Elisabeth Riese, in Missoula, Montana, in 1908. They had three daughters, Anna Elisabeth, Fritzi, and Margaret (who married Charles Calvin Hamer).

    After leaving the Department of the Interior, Martin worked for Union Oil of California as a geologist. His work for Union Oil included exploring the company's holdings in Colombia and Panama. In 1927, Martin was involved with the founding of the German American Savings Bank of Los Angeles. In 1930, he went into private practice in Pasadena, and from 1932-33, Martin served as the Austrian Honorary Consul at Los Angeles for California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. In 1933, he again entered the service of the Department of the Interior as a mining engineer. He retired in 1941 and became a private consultant in South Pasadena. Martin passed away in Pasadena, California, in 1951.

  • Acquisition

    F. O. Martin's business papers and scrapbooks were donated in 1999 by his daughter, Margaret Hamer.

    F. O. Martin's personal correspondence was donated by John G. Tomlinson in 2002.

  • Scope and Content

    This collection contains F. Oskar Martin's personal correspondence, the minutes of the board meetings of the German American Savings Bank of Los Angeles, and paper and photograph scrapbooks documenting his career as a geologist and mining engineer for the United States and for the Union Oil Company. Also included in this collection are clippings documenting his appointment as Consul for Austria in anticipation of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the honorary medal given to him by Austria upon the Games' conclusion. Of especial note are the scrapbooks with photographs of his travels in the undeveloped regions of Colombia and Panama in the 1920s. Please see the Scope and Content notes for individual series for more information.

  • Language of Materials

    Martin's business papers are mostly in English; a few reports from Colombia are in Spanish. His personal correspondence is in German.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], F. Oskar Martin papers, Collection no. 0311, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

  • Abstract

    This collection contains the papers of Frederick Oskar Martin, a German who moved to the United States in 1891 and worked as a mining engineer and geologist for a variety of employers over the course of his career. He spent a year working on the Panama Canal and explored the holdings of Union Oil of California in Panama and Colombia in the 1920s. His papers include mining reports, correspondence with his fiancé and brother in the late 1890s, and scrapbooks of his travels in South and Central America.