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Guide to the Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law Firm Records, 1896-1923 MSS 130

Guide to the Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law Firm Records, 1896-1923

MSS 130

Summary Information

William F. “Billy” Wolfe (1868–1917), Albert C. “A. C.” Wolfe (1885–1955) and Lucien Reid (1891– unknown) were prominent La Crosse, Wisconsin, attorneys at the turn of the 20th century. After William F. Wolfe’s untimely death in 1917, Albert C. Wolfe and Lucien Reid operated the practice briefly as Wolfe & Reid, then dissolved the partnership and practiced law independently. The majority of this collection is comprised of the law firm’s routine correspondence; however, William Wolfe’s personal and political correspondence dating 1899-1918 is a valuable piece in looking at Wisconsin’s Progressive Era state political history. Wolfe, an avid Democrat, became politically prominent in the 1910s, holding different offices. He had just been appointed Federal District Attorney when he suddenly suffered a stroke and died shortly afterwards at the height of his career. This collection shows the daily operations of a law firm during the early 1900s, and also the Progressive Era in Wisconsin, through Wolfe’s 1910-1917 correspondence with some of the state’s most prominent Democratic politicians, including John Aylward and Joseph E. Davies.
Collection Title
Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law Firm Records
Date of Materials
Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law Firm.
Call Number
MSS 130
6.4 cubic feet
Physical Description
17 archives boxes
Language of Materials
La Crosse Public Library Archives

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Wolfe, Wolfe, and Reid Law Firm Records, MSS 130, La Crosse Public Library Archives, La Crosse, WI

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Biographical Note

The Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law firm was begun in 1907, as a partnership between William F. Wolfe and his brother Albert C. Wolfe. William F. “Billy” Wolfe (Aug. 30, 1868 – Jan. 10, 1917), already a locally prominent attorney, had been City Attorney and half of the partnership of Miller and Wolfe (along with Charles B. Miller). Albert C. “A. C.” Wolfe (Sept. 7, 1885 – May 7, 1955) joined Miller and Wolfe around 1901 as a junior partner. The firm became Wolfe and Wolfe in 1907, when Miller separated from the firm.

Lucien T. Reid joined the firm in 1915. Reid, the son of prominent attorney and judge Ray S. Reid, came highly recommended after a stint at the University of Wisconsin. The firm operated as Wolfe, Wolfe, and Reid for several years, until the sudden death of William in 1917. William, an avid Democrat, became politically prominent in the 1910s, holding different offices. He was narrowly defeated by Robert La Follette in the Senate elections in 1916. He had just been appointed Federal District Attorney, when he was struck down with “apoplexy” while giving a speech to the Wisconsin Democratic Convention and died suddenly in mid-life.

Albert and Lucien briefly ran the firm as Wolfe and Reid, before both went on to careers as independent lawyers. Albert served as a U.S. Attorney and Lucien Reid as District Attorney. Albert remained in La Crosse until his death in 1955.

Lucien Reid left the La Crosse area around 1930, moving to Los Angeles. His whereabouts after that are unknown, though it is likely that he remained in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

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Scope and Contents

The collection largely is comprised of correspondence and financial materials.

The William F. Wolfe materials consist of his personal and political correspondence from 1902-1918, as well as a section of obituaries and memorials from around the time of his death in 1917. During the time from 1910-1917, Wolfe had contact with some of the state’s most prominent Democratic politicians, including John Aylward and Joseph E. Davies. Also of interest is the “unique and oddities” file which contains unusual, interesting or amusing correspondence and notes from the law firm.

The Albert C. Wolfe materials contain one folder of personal correspondence, covering from 1905-1917.

The Lucien Reid materials consist of several folders of personal correspondence. Prominent among these letters is the large volume of correspondence between Reid and his father Ray, who was retired and living in North Carolina.

The most voluminous materials by far are those related to the law firm, which consist of correspondence from the firm, as well as some financial and client information. Correspondence is arranged into outgoing, incoming, and incoming-outgoing sections, as well as sorted by date and name of correspondent, based on original order. Client information is contained in several large, bound volumes of pleadings, with which the firm kept track of the status of cases. Financial records are also in large, bound volumes of accounts, and are accompanied by several boxes of receipts.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

La Crosse Public Library Archives 2010-2011

800 Main St.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, 54601
(608) 789-7136

Access to Materials

Materials in this collection are available for patron use.

Acquisitions Information

(Accession no. 2010.039) Donated by Alan Schultz, 2010; these materials were found in the attic at 1510 Madison St., the home of Albert C. Wolfe from approximately 1915 to 1938.

Processing Information

Processed by Dana Wallace and Lindsay Roloff, 2010-2011

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Democratic Party (Wis.).
  • Wolfe, Wolfe and Reid Law Firm.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Wisconsin--Politics and government


  • Law firms--Wisconsin--La Crosse
  • Lawyers--Wisconsin--La Crosse
  • Politicians--Wisconsin--La Crosse

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Collection Inventory

William F. Wolfe 

Biographical materials 

Box Folder

Obituary and article, 1917 January 11 

1 1

Newspaper clippings, 1904-1921 

1 2

In memorium: William F. Wolfe appearing in Wisconsin Reports 166 (Supreme Court of Wisconsin), 1918 

1 3


Box Folder

Unique and oddities, 1910-1915 

1 4

Personal, 1899-1916 

1 5

Political, 1902-1918 

1 6-13
Box Folder

Albert C. Wolfe personal correspondence, 1905-1917 

2 1

Lucien Reid personal correspondence, 1918-1923 

2 2-6

Law firm 


Cases (client list index and pleadings), 1896-1915 




Outgoing, 1906-1916 


Incoming, 1904-1916 


Incoming and outgoing, 1917-1921 


Financial materials 


Accounts, 1901-1913 


Receipts, 1904-1912