George Hampel (legislator)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
George F. L. Hampel,
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the Milwaukee 3rd district
In office
Preceded by Albert F. Woller
Succeeded by Arthur J. Balzer
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 6th district
In office
Preceded by Charles H. Phillips
Succeeded by Edward W. Reuther
Personal details
Born (1885-08-27)August 27, 1885
Died May 15, 1954(1954-05-15) (aged 68)
Political party Socialist, Progressive, Republican
Spouse(s) Louise
Residence Milwaukee
Profession Accountant, bookseller, politician

George Hampel (August 27, 1885 – May 15, 1954) was an American politician, accountant and bookseller from Milwaukee who served one term in the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Socialist (1931–1932) and two terms in the Wisconsin State Senate as a Progressive (1937–1944). Hampel at various times identified himself as a Social Democrat/Socialist, and Progressive; and joined the Republicans when the Progressives rejoined the latter party.[1]


Hampel was born in Milwaukee in 1885. He was educated at West Division High School, part of the Milwaukee Public Schools, and also took classes at the International Correspondence Schools and Hesse's Art School. Hampel was an accountant and president of Hampel's Book Shop, Inc.[2][3]

Political career[edit]

He began his political career in 1916 by running unsuccessfully for State Treasurer of Wisconsin as a Social Democrat, as they were called in Wisconsin, receiving only 31,329 votes to Republican Merlin Hull's 232,171.[4] In 1916 he was appointed to the Milwaukee Motion Picture Commission, a film censorship body; he would remain on the Commission until 1940.[2] Hampel was soon elected as county clerk of Milwaukee County, serving from 1919 to 1920 [5] While serving as clerk, Hampel testified and wrote an affidavit in support of fellow Wisconsin socialist Victor Berger for the Congressman's House hearings regarding whether he should be seated.[6] In 1920, he was a delegate to the Convention of the Socialist Party of America.[7]

After ten years away from elected office, Hampel won election as a Socialist to the Wisconsin State Assembly representing Milwaukee County's third Assembly district in 1930, winning 2994 votes versus Republican Frank G. Pope's 2,058, and Democrat John H. Stemper's 545.[8] Two years later he ran for the Wisconsin State Senate's Sixth District seat, but lost to Democrat Charles H. Phillips. Phillips received 14,885 votes; Hampel 13,951; Republican George W. Becker 3,433; and former Republican Assemblyman (running as an independent) Martin M. Higgins 267[9] Hampel was successful when he ran again for the seat in 1936, this time running as a Progressive.[10] He was reelected as a Progressive in 1940.[11] Although Hampel had been a member of both the Socialist Party of America and the Wisconsin Progressive Party, he left the Socialists in 1941 after that party ordered its members to quit the Progressive Party.[12] He served as a vice chairman and Milwaukee County chairman of the state Progressive Party in the early 1940s.[13][14] He failed to keep his state senate seat when he ran without any party affiliation in 1944, losing to Democrat Edward W. Reuther. Reuther received 22,163 votes; Republican Arthur H. Schroeder 17,272; Hampel 4,222; and Socialist former Assemblyman and Senator Alex C. Ruffing 3,112 votes.[15]

When the Wisconsin Progressive Party no longer remained a viable third party after the 1944 elections, Hampel and his son argued against joining the Democrats and instead favored rejoining the Republican Party of Wisconsin.[16] Hampel then helped to lead the Progressives back into the Republican Party fold after the declining party voted in favor of such a merger on March 17, 1946.[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

In later years, Hampel worked as manager of the Cedar Creek Distillery in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.[19]

Hampel was married to Louise Hampel. They had three children: Ruth, Gordon and George Jr., the latter of whom served as a member of the Milwaukee Board of Trustees.[20][21] He died in Milwaukee in 1954, and was buried in Wanderer's Rest Cemetery.[2]


  1. ^ Members of the Wisconsin Legislature, 1848-1999 Madison: State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, 1999; pp. 10, 61 Archived December 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-Senator Hampel Sr., Dies at 68" Milwaukee Sentinel May 17, 1954.
  3. ^ Ohm, Howard F. & Bryhan, Leone G. (eds.) The Wisconsin Blue Book: 1942. Madison: The State Printing Office, 1942; p. 26
  4. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1917, p. 518.
  5. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1919, p. 175
  6. ^ Victor L. Berger Hearings before the Special Committee, vol. 1 p. 367 & vol. 2, p. 351. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919.
  7. ^ "6,000 Socialists Cheer for Debs", New York Times May 20, 1920 at 1.
  8. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1931, pp. 572, 577, 609.
  9. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1933, p. 572
  10. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1937, p. 450. Hampel received 22,093 votes; Republican Phillips 14,136; Democrat Salendon Bennett 4,982.
  11. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1940, p. 687. Hampel received 24,106 votes; Democrat Albert C. Treichler 9,095; and Republican Andre J. Rockne 13,616.
  12. ^ "To Quit or Not, Party Debates" Milwaukee Journal September 3, 1941.
  13. ^ "Progressives Answer Hoan", Milwaukee Journal January 24, 1944.
  14. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1940, p. 482.
  15. ^ Wisconsin Blue Books, 1948, p. 705
  16. ^ "Progressives to Take Time" Milwaukee Journal December 5, 1944, at 1.
  17. ^ "Roberts Quits Job with Progressives" Milwaukee Journal, March 26, 1946.
  18. ^ "Hampel Backs Reuss in Race" Milwaukee Journal, December 19, 1947 at 4. ("With his father, George Hampel, sr., a former Socialist leader, he helped lead the Progressives back in to the Republican fold in 1946.")
  19. ^ "New Distillery Goes to Work" Milwaukee Journal October 9, 1946, at 3.
  20. ^ "Vital Statistics", Milwaukee Sentinel May 18, 1944.
  21. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book, 1940, p. 275.