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Hugo Menzel Pfaltz Collection

Identifier: MG NWK Pfaltz (Main & Offsite)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of material related to the World War I-era military service of Hugo Menzel Pfaltz, a native Newarker who served in the 78th Lightning Division in France during 1918 and 1919. In addition to letters he sent to his family in Newark during this time, there is also a uniform, a helmet, a hat, a bugle, some newspaper clippings, a few photographs, and some documents related to Pfaltz's military service.


  • 1916 - 1930

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

Hugo Menzel Pfaltz was born March 22, 1896 in New York City. He grew up in Newark, where he graduated from Barringer High School. He entered Rutgers College as a member of the class of 1918, but left school after receiving his draft notice in September 1917.

He entered the U.S. Army at Camp Dix as a member of the 78th Lightning Division. He served in France in 1918 and 1919, seeing action at the battle of St. Mihiel. After the war, he returned to Rutgers, graduating in 1921.

After graduation, Pfaltz worked for his father's chemical import business, Pfaltz & Bauer. In the 1930s, he founded Flavors and Emulsions Laboratory in Newark, which he ran until his retirement in 1956.

In 1930, Hugo married Betty Horr of Newark. He and Betty had two children, Hugo Jr. and John. They moved to Short Hills in 1941. He lived in Short Hills until his death on April 10, 1989.

He was a member of the Unitarian Church in Summit, a volunteer fireman in Millburn, and was active in the 78th Division Veterans Association. He helped get the section of Interstate 78 that runs through New Jersey dedicated to the memory of his former comrades. At age 91, he participated in a ceremony at Fort Dix dedicating Route 78 to the 78th Division.


1 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger box, 3 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of material related to the World War I service of Hugo Menzel Pfaltz, a native Newarker. The bulk of the collection are letters from Pfaltz to his family that were used as a basis for a book, A Brush With History: Letters Home 1918-1919. There is also a draft notice, some newspaper clippings, photos, two books, his uniform, helmet, bugle, and other items. The items were donated by his daughter-in-law, Marilyn Muir Pfaltz, in July 2021. Marilyn Pfaltz was the editor of A Brush With History.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Marilyn Muir Pfaltz in July 2021.

Separated Materials

A Brush With History: Letters Home 1918-1919. Written by Hugo Menzel Pfaltz. Edited by Marilyn Muir Pfaltz. Copyright 2020, Marilyn M. Pfaltz. Book added to the Newark Public Library's book collection: Call number Main NJ Ref 940.48173 P472 br

Processing Information

The material in the collection had been well-organized by the donor, Marilyn Muir Pfaltz, the daughter-in-law of Hugo Menzel Pfaltz. Her basic organization was left intact, except that some of the materials were re-boxed.

Large items in the collection, including Hugo Pfaltz's World War I uniform, helmet, and bugle, are kept in boxes offsite.

Included in the donation was a copy of the book A Brush With History: Letter Home 1918-1919, a collection of Hugo Pfaltz's letters that were edited by Marilyn Pfaltz. The book was removed from the collection, and cataloged as part of the New Jersey Room's book collection. The call number is Main NJ Ref 940.48173 P472 br

Thomas Ankner
August 2021
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States