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Schroeder, Albert Theodore | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Schroeder, Albert Theodore

Historical Note:

Albert Theodore Schroeder, a political activist, writer, politician and intellectual was born in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1864. 

At the age of 15 Schroeder left home and it was during his years of travel and school that Schroeder was influenced by his reading.  He received both a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1886 and an LL.B. in 1889.

      In August of 1889 Schroeder opened a law office in Salt Lake City, Utah, and practiced law there until 1900.  Schroeder was active in the fight to secure statehood for Utah and sought the U.S. District Attorney-ship in 1892. In that same year he was elected Chairman of the Democratic City Committee in Salt Lake City.  In 1891 Schroeder married Mary Parkinson, daughter of his former professor. Mary, and their only daughter Barbara died in 1896.

      In 1896 he actively supported the Mormon Apostle Moses Thatcher for the U.S. Senate. He also supported the noted Mormon author Brigham H. Roberts for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1895 and 1899. His involvement with Thatcher, however, led him to publish, in 1897, his first anti-Mormon pamphlet, "The Gospel Concerning Church and State," which was an ironical defense of the Mormon position.  Roberts was defeated because of the opposition of his fellow Mormons but was later elected when he brought his platform more in line with the church-favored political views.

Schroeder moved to New York City in 1900 and continued to practice law and his interest in free speech and press as well as social injustices grew and he led the movement to incorporate the Free Speech League on April 7, 1911, in Albany, New York.  The League remained active until the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union.

            In these years Schroeder was not solely concerned with civil liberties. He also continued his studies of mysticism and religion, collecting material and publishing in a wide variety of journals.  He collected and published a great deal of material of Ida Craddock, authoress and lecturer so hounded by Anthony Comstock that she committed suicide in 1902.

      Schroeder, while in New York, also met his second wife, Nancy E. Sankey-Jones and established a residency in Coscob, Connecticut. Miss Sankey-Jones, a Lucy Stone Leaguer, seldom used the Schroeder surname and was as much a libertarian as her husband.     

            The cause which received active support from Schroeder in the 1930's was that of the Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders. Forced in 1927, for reasons of health, to spend winter months in a warm, sunny climate, Schroeder chose the Virgin Islands. He worked there to secure extension of the New Deal to American colonial holdings and was instrumental in having the officers of the ACLU establish a Committee on American Colonies upon which he served.     

During the 1940's Schroeder was most concerned with the war and completing his life's work by publishing all his material. He died on February 10, 1953, at the age of 88.

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