ESCH, John Jacob

ESCH, John Jacob
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
1861–1941

Biography

ESCH, John Jacob, a Representative from Wisconsin; born near Norwalk, Monroe County, Wis., March 20, 1861; moved with his parents to Milwaukee in 1865 and thence to Sparta, Wis., in 1871; attended the public schools; was graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1882 and from its law department in 1887; was admitted to the bar in 1887 and commenced practice at La Crosse, Wis.; assistant principal of Sparta High School 1883-1886; city treasurer of Sparta in 1885; was commissioned acting judge advocate general with the rank of colonel by Gov. W.H. Upham in January 1894 and held the position for two years; delegate to the Republican State conventions in 1894 and 1896; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-sixth and to the ten succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1899-March 3, 1921); chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (Sixty-sixth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1920; appointed as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission on March 11, 1921; elected chairman on January 1, 1927, and served until May 31, 1928; resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C., until he retired in 1938; returned to La Crosse, Wis., where he died on April 27, 1941; interment in Oak Grove Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Wisconsin Historical Society

Madison, WI
Papers: 1891-1941, 24.5 cubic feet. The John J. Esch Collection consists largely of incoming and outgoing correspondence plus a series of letterbooks containing copies of outgoing letters. As a member or as chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce from 1903 to 1921, Esch had considerable correspondence on transportation legislation, particularly that pertaining to railroad regulation. A major portion of the collection pertains to American participation in World War I and includes material on the restriction of immigration, espionage, preparedness, selective service, censorship of the press, taxation, and demobilization. Numerous incoming letters contain complaints about military and governmental regulations and services. Other letters discuss the agitation for prohibition, the activity of the proponents of woman suffrage, and the needs of the Indian school at Tomah. Some papers relate to Wisconsin politics, especially in Esch's district, which included La Crosse, Jackson, and Monroe counties and some adjacent areas. The collection contains a few personal papers giving information on Esch's business investments, and scattered items also give glimpses of La Crosse local history. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the George F. Cooper Papers, 1860-1928, 0.4 cubic foot. Subjects covered include John Esch. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the John Goadby Gregory Papers, 1846-1946, 1.6 cubic feet. Other authors include John J. Esch. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Oral History: In the John K. Kyle Interview, 1976-1978, 24 tape recordings. Subjects covered include John Esch. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the Robert M. La Follette Papers, 1879-1910, 57.6 cubic feet. Subjects covered include John Esch. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the Social Action Vertical File, ca. 1960-1980, 60 cubic feet. Subjects covered include John Esch. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Esch, John Jacob. Address of Hon. John J. Esch ... on the occasion of the dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, New York, on Monday evening, December 13, 1920. Baltimore: National Association of Owners of Railroad Securities, [1920].

------. Should there be a "general readjustment" of freight rates? [Chicago?: N.p., 1924?]

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interstate Commerce. Confirmation of John J. Esch: Hearings, Seventieth Congress, first session. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1928.

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