Paul and Edna Ruth Kliger and the Kliger Family Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description



Music Instruments and Artifacts

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Finding Aid for Paul and Edna Ruth Kliger and the Kliger Family Papers, 1880-2020 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Carol Berthold

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Collection Overview

Title: Paul and Edna Ruth Kliger and the Kliger Family Papers, 1880-2020Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 26/20/254

Primary Creator: Paul and Edna Ruth Kliger Family (1920-2020)

Extent: 2.5 cubic feet

Arrangement: Organized in three series: Series 1, Photographs, ca. 1880-1999. Series 2, Papers, 1936-2020, is organized in 2, Sub-series: Sub-series 1: Paul Kliger, 1936-2000; Sub-series 2, Edna Ruth Schaeffer Kliger, 1943-2020. Series 3, Music Instruments and Artifacts, ca. 1940s-1956. Series 1 and 2 are arranged chronologically. Series 3 is unarranged.

Date Acquired: 12/08/2023. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Music, Social Work, University of Illinois, World War II

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of photographs, correspondence, music instruments, and artifacts, mostly from World War II.. Photographs and correspondence in original order as received from donor in two large notebooks.. Photographs organized first by family group, then in chronological order. Correspondence according to papers about or from Paul and about of from Ruth. Music instruments stored together; artifacts also presented individually.

Biographical Note

Paul I. Kliger was born on June 1, 1911, in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia. Paul played drums in his school band and orchestra, and claimed that he honed his technique observing drummers in the orchestra pits of New York’s Yiddish theater. In his twenties, Paul played professionally with jazz bands in the Catskills, and on steamers to Cuba and Panama. In 1939, he decided to enroll in college. He was accepted at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and began his studies. When World War II began, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army. He played in the U.S. Army Band and  worked in the army's Public Relations Office. Edna Ruth Schaeffer of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (the WAACs) was assigned to his office as his secretary. Three months later, they were married and Paul was deployed to France with the U.S. Army Band. As a quartermaster, he was responsible for storing the instruments. He also managed supplies for the troops and was active with support services on D-day-4. In 1946, Paul returned with Ruth  to continue his studies at Illinois, and earned a Master's Degree in Social Work. Paul spent most of his working life in Chicago in community organization for the Illinois Department of Mental Health. In 1997, he and Ruth moved to Louisville, Colorado to be near their elder daughter. Paul’s health was declining, but he lived to greet the new millennium. Paul passed away in March 2000.

Edna Ruth Schaeffer was the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Belarus and Romania. She was born in her maternal grandmother’s home in Purcell, Oklahoma, on Oct. 28, 1918, two weeks before the Armistice of WWI. At the time of her birth, her father, Leon Schaeffer, was serving in France as a U.S. Army medic. Edna’s mother, Helen Schwartz, was the third of nine children. In 1900, her mother, Selma, had sailed from Odessa with four little girls and a baby boy, to join her husband, Paul, in Oklahoma. They entered through the Port of Galveston, to settle and become Jewish pioneers of the West. Edna Ruth graduated from high school in 1937 and studied art at the University of Oklahoma. In 1943, Edna Ruth enlisted in the Women's  Army Auxiliary Corps (the WAACs, the first cohort of service women to shed the title “auxiliary” and be inducted into the Army). Sergeant Edna Ruth Schaeffer was stationed at Pine Camp, New York, as Private Paul Kliger’s secretary in the Public Relations Office. Three months later they were married, on Aug. 15, 1943. After the war, Ruth and Paul moved back to Champaign-Urbana to continue Paul’s studies in social work. Ruth worked at the News-Gazette in Urbana. In 1949, their first daughter was born. Their second daughter, Elizabeth, was born in Peoria in 1952. In 1956, they moved to Minneapolis to study social work at the University of Minnesota. Ruth earned her B.A. Degree. In 1960, they moved to Evanston, Illinois. Ruth taught full-time for the Head Start Program in Chicago. In 1997, Ruth and Paul moved to Colorado to be closer to their eldest daughter. When Paul died in 2000, Ruth moved to Moscow, Idaho, near Elizabeth. She later moved to assisted living in Boulder, Colorado. Ruth passed away on July 2, 2020, at the age of 101.

Elizabeth "Lisa" Kliger (1952 -  ) was born in Champaign, IL and grew up in Evanston, IL. She attended the University of Illinois from 1971 until 1978, earning a BA in 1975 and an MA in English Education in 1978. During her time at the University of Illinois, Lisa regularly performed at the Red Herring Coffee House on banjo. In 1974, she participated in the first National Women's Folk Music Festival, which was produced at the Red Herring by Illinois student Kristen Lems. Following her graduation, Lisa moved to Moscow, ID, where she continued to compose and perform on the banjo.

Subject/Index Terms

Social Work
University of Illinois
World War II

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: A collection of Red Herring Folk Music Posters, Photographs, and Clippings was donated by Lisa Kliger on April 9, 2024.

Access Restrictions: The original photograph of Jacob Kliger standing behind a pillar in a Czarist Army uniform may not be photocopied or scanned. This limitation will be in effect until February 15, 2044.

Acquisition Source: Elizabeth (Lisa) Kliger

Acquisition Method: Gift

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs],
[Series 2: Papers],
[Series 3: Music Instruments and Artifacts],

Series 2: PapersAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: Paul Kliger, 1936-2000Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Paul Kliger: Early Band Publicity, Voter Registration Information - Notebook 2, 1936-1940Add to your cart.
Newspaper ad for Dick Cisne band, 1936; letter from Champaign, IL County Clerk re: voter registration, 1940.
Folder 8: Paul Kliger: U.S. Army Correspondence and Records - Notebook 2, 1942-ca. 2000Add to your cart.
Documents include: Newspaper clippings, Yonkers (NY) newspaper, Aug. 17, 1943. Correspondence from Selective Service System, Dec. 11, 1946. Paul Kliger's Enlisted Man's Identification Care, no date. U.S. Army, Port of Embarkation document, Jan. 3, 1946. U.S. Army. Instructions to all Separatees (from Army service), Jan. 26, 1946. U.S. Army Separation Qualification Record, no date. U.S. Army Honorable Discharge certificate, Feb. 22, 1946. Letter from Veterans Administration re: benefits available to veterans, no date. Letter of thanks from President Harry Truman for service in the U.S. Armed Forces. no date.  Copy of Honorable Discharge filed for record in Champaign Illinois, May 20, 1950. Letter from Veterans Administration Office re: Certificate of Eligibility for loan, Oct. 21, 1955. Section of American Federation of Musicians by-laws re: death and funeral benefits, no date.
Folder 9: Paul Kliger: University of Illinois Transcripts, Diplima, Social Worker Certification - Notebook 4, 1939-1982Add to your cart.
Documents include: Transcript from University of Illinois, 1939-1949. Diploma. University of Illinois, Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors, 1946. Diploma, University of Illinois, Master of Social Work, 1948. Transcript, University of Minnesota Graduate School, 1957-1959. State of Illinois Certificate for Certified Social Worker, Oct. 27, 1982.
Folder 10: Paul Kliger: Celebration of Life - Notebook 2, June 9, 2000Add to your cart.
Documents include: Ruth Kliger's typed remarks at Celebration of Life event, June 9, 2000. Handwritten notes for Celebration of Life event, n.d.
Folder 11: Paul Kliger: Notes from Trip to World War II Sites in France and Germany, 1985Add to your cart.
Paul's handwritten notes in Chandler's notebook, including description of town where he served as quaetermaster and bandsman during World War II.
Sub-Series 2: Edna Ruth Schaeffer Kliger, 1943-2020Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Ruth Schaeffer Kliger: U.S. Women's Army Corps and Education Records - Notebook 2, 1943-2009Add to your cart.
Documents include: Page from Sooner Magazine, 1943. Message 1209 Center news publication, Pine Camp, NY, July 3, 1942. War Department, Report of Field Personnel Action, Feb. 8, 1944. Honorable Discharge certificate, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Aug. 31, 1943. Enrolled Record of service, no date. Letter from Paul to Ruth, Oct. 6, 1945. Envelope addressed to Paul and Ruth Kliger, no date. Ruth Kliger's resume, no date. Newsletter about SPONSOR, May 10, 1967. Request Pertaining to Military Records, Feb. 2, 1981.Quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt with Ruth's handwritten note, n.d.
Folder 13: Ruth Kliger: Harp notes, n.d.Add to your cart.
Handwritten notes from instructions by Ruth's harp teacher, Mildred Dilling, in small notebook, n.d.
Folder 14: Ruth Kliger: Obituary and Burial Information - Note book 2, 2020Add to your cart.
Documents include: Newspaper notice of Ruth Kliger's death, July 2020. Decision for Review paperwork requesting a Military headstone for Ruth Kliger, Oct, 25, 2020.
Sub-Series 3: Elizabeth (Lisa) Kliger, 1970-1977Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Collection of Red Herring and Folk Music Photographs, Clippings, and Posters, 1970-1977Add to your cart.
Contains posters from the Red Herring Coffee House, operated by the Channing-Murrary Foundation, including: photograph of Fred Koller; Clippings from the Daily Illini; Posters and Brochures from the Womenfolk's Festival, Red Herring Summer Folk Festivals, and The Ship: A Contemporary Folk Music Journey.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs],
[Series 2: Papers],
[Series 3: Music Instruments and Artifacts],

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