Herbert Michael Herget, 1885–1950
Herbert Michael Herget was born 13 February 1885 in St. Louis, the oldest son of George H. Herget (born 15 March 1858, died 10 September 1928) and Margaret A. Weaver (born 11 October 1862, died 6 September 1921). His father’s parents were born in Germany and his mother’s parents were born in Ireland, according to death records in Missouri. Herbert’s father, George, was a woodworker in St. Louis, according to U.S. federal census records. Herbert’s parents were both buried in the Old St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis.
Herget attended Madison School, one of several new schools designed by William B. Ittner, then Commissioner of School Buildings for the St. Louis Board of Education. Herget later attended St. Louis School of Fine Arts, part of Washington University, and was an apprentice at Woodward & Tiernan Printing Company. His World War I draft registration card in 1917 showed him living at 1228 Dolman St. and working at Woodward located at 3rd and Olive. Despite draft registrations for both World War I and World War II, there are no records that indicate he served.
By 1920, Herget had married Bertha Ella Wohlschlaeger, born 28 January 1888, the daughter of Fred and Barbara Allgeyer Wohlschlaeger. In the 1920 U.S. federal census they are shown living at 1228 Dolman Street.
Herget studied American Indian life and was commissioned by the National Geographic Society in the 1930s and 1940s to create illustrations on Aztec culture and everyday life during the Greek, Roman, and Mesopotamian eras. Following his father’s occupation, Herget also focused on wood carving. Throughout his life, he extensively collected Indian arts and crafts.
The U.S. 1940 census showed Herbert and Bertha Herget living at 4330 Osceola St. He listed his occupation as freelance artist. In the early 1930s, they were living at 4721 St. Louis Avenue. There are no children listed on any census record. On his 1942 World War II registration card, he is listed as living at 4433 Morganford.
In its 31 October 1949 issue, The St. Louis Star and Times published an article noting wood carvings by Herget and Douglas Brown would both be on display in the book department of Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney, Inc., a dry goods store. Herget’s pieces included “items of authentic Mayan and Aztec design” as well as a set of intricately carved chess pieces. None of the pieces were for sale at the time.
Herbert Herget passed away on 25 February 1950 at the St. Louis City Hospital following a short illness. His wife, Bertha, passed away 27 April 1960. Both are buried in St. Matthews Cemetery in St. Louis.
Herget’s illustrations are mentioned in a display at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. Several of his American Indian watercolor and oil paintings are in the hands of private collectors.
Written by Linda L. Mansur
© 2021, St. Louis Genealogical Society
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Last Modified: 29-Apr-2021 14:49