Austin History Center

Otting Family Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Otting family
Title: Otting Family Papers
Dates: 1885-1995
Abstract: Correspondence, military records, newspaper clippings, legal and financial documents and photographs document the lives of the Otting family in Austin, Texas from 1885 to the 1950s.
Identification: AR.2000.021
Quantity: .4 linear feet (1 box)
Location: Archives stacks and qAR
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Gus (Gustav) Fred Otting and Lola Ethel Otting moved to Austin, Texas in the 1910s (the Ottings first appear in the Austin City Directory in 1912-13). The couple had 12 children:

  • Opal-married Burleson Priest (died in 1932)
  • Vivian-married Jase Jones, Jr.
  • Elsie-married L. F. Doherty
  • Raymond
  • Jack
  • Dorothy-married Joe R. Jamar
  • Roberta-married J. B. Phelps, Jr.
  • Betsy-married Frank Head
  • Eleanor-married A. C. Dodson, Jr.
  • Helen (died in 1932 at age 11)
  • Laurin (died 1945)
  • Donald
Lola Otting was part Cherokee and was allotted land in the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma. She had only one of her children (Opal) enrolled as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. The family home in Austin, Texas was located at 2504 Nueces Street, Austin, Texas. Gus was the proprietor of the Otting Baking Company at 1500 Lavaca Street. Gus died in January of 1939 and Lola moved to Weimar, Texas after his death. She died several months later in May of 1939.

Laurin Otting, son of Gus and Lola, was born in Austin on September 6, 1924. Following the death of his father in 1939 he moved with his mother to Weimar where he completed high school. After graduation he attended the University of Texas until entering the United States Army Air Corps in March of 1943. When he finished his training in 1944 he received his wings and commission as a Second Lieutenant. Laurin was stationed in England and on January 14, 1945 his B-17 bomber crashed near Luxembourg on route to Koln, Germany. He was initially listed as Missing in Action but the War Department officially listed him a Killed in Action in May of 1945. He is buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, military records, newspaper clippings, legal and financial documents and photographs document the military career and death of Laurin Otting and the lives of his parents Lola and Gus Otting. The Laurin Otting series (1942-1947) accounts for the bulk of the collection. The most significant material in this series is the correspondence written to/from Laurin and correspondence about Laurin once he was reported Missing in Action. Included are letters written by Laurin to his sister Dorothy in late 1944, letters written to Laurin by Dorothy and Donny in late January that were returned when he was reported missing, correspondence and telegrams from the War Department updating the family on the status of Laurin, and letters between Otting family members and the families of other crew members on the plane with Laurin encouraging each other to have hope that their loved ones would be found alive. Also included in this series are Laurin's military records, school records, various identification and membership cards, his Purple Heart award certificate, high school diploma, newspaper clippings and memorial items.

The Gus and Lola Otting series (1902-1941) consists of the wills of both persons and correspondence between the children of Gus and Lola and their lawyer concerning the estate of their mother. Also included are a deed, bill of sale, release of mortgage, contract and correspondence related to the property held by the family in The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. The Assorted Materials series (1995, undated) consists of notes and correspondence concerning an uncompleted book project about Laurin; letters written to Dorothy; and a construction bid and bill for the family home at 2504 Nueces Street. Included in the Photographs series are pictures of Gus as a child (circa 1885), Gus and Lola and the children (circa 1927) and the family home in Austin. In addition there are photographs of Laurin (circa 1940s) during high school, hanging out with friends, at pilot training camp, dressed in his military uniform with his sister Dorothy as well as photographs of his gravesite in Belgium taken by his brother-in-law Jase Jones (1945).


Arranged in 4 series:
I. Laurin Otting
II. Gus and Lola Otting
III. Assorted Materials
IV. Photographs


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Jamar, Dorothy Otting.
Otting, Donald.
Otting, Gustav.
Otting, Laurin.
Otting, Lola.
Otting Baking Co.
United States. Army. Air Corps.
Austin (Tex.)
Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma.
American Cemetery and Memorial (Henri-Chapelle, Belgium).
Air pilots, Military--United States--History.
World War, 1939-1945--Veterans.

Related Material

Manuscript Collections

AR.I.009 Maerki and Sterzing Families Papers

Austin Files

AF Bio - Otting, Fred (both text and photos)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Otting Family Papers (AR.2000.021). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2000/013

Donation Date: 2002, 2004, 2006

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2010.

Alternative Form Available

Please use copies of Laurin Ottings military records found in folder 7a and limit the handling of the fire damaged originals found in folder 7b.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Laurin Otting, 1942-1947

Correspondence, 1942-1946, undated
Box Folder
1 1 To/from Laurin, 1942-1945, undated
2 About Laurin, from family and friends, 1945-1946
3 About Laurin, from United States government, 1945-1946
4 Ephemera, 1944, undated
5 Medals and honors, 1945
6 Memorial items, 1947, undated
7a-7b Military records, 1943-1945
8 School records, 1943-1944
Location BoxItem
qAR 053/001 High school diploma, 1942
Box Folder
1 9 Newspaper clippings, 1945

II. Gus and Lola Otting, 1902-1941

Box Folder
1 10 Legal and financial documents, 1906-1941
11 Lola's estate, 1939
12 Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma property, 1902-1930

III. Assorted Materials, 1943-1956, 1995, undated

Box Folder
1 13 Book project, 1995, undated
14 Construction bid and bill, undated
16 Letters and evelopes written to Dorothy, 1943-1956

IV. Photographs, circa 1885, 1910, 1927-1944, undated

Box Folder
1 15 Family photographs, circa 1885, 1910, 1927-1944, undated