Otting Family Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
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:
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.
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).
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Otting Family Papers (AR.2000.021). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2000/013
Donation Date: 2002, 2004, 2006
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2010.
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