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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
KAMMILLER, Fred. (Dubuque, IA, June 1, 1872--Dubuque, January 26, 1952). With an ability to make people laugh as he satirized human foibles and pointed out a "better way," Kammiller became nationally known as an after dinner speaker. Once he was booked to give a talk at Hartford, Connecticut and came home a week later after addressing Rotary Clubs throughout the New York area. (1)

Kammiller's first appearance at a public speaker was before a Rotary Club visiting his FAIRMONT FARMS on Shiras Avenue. His wit and "the language of the common people including rural expressions unheard in eastern cities" led to his immediate success. He spoke throughout the Midwest before Chambers of Commerce, national conventions, and bankers' meetings. He traveled several times to Canada. A farmer and cattle breeder, he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and served once as its president. He was also a past president of the ROTARY CLUB OF DUBUQUE. (2)

1921 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
Kammiller's herd of cattle in 1921 was declared to be the first and only dairy herd accredited as tuberculosis free in Dubuque County. A. Nachtman on Central Avenue thought enough of the news that he took the sole distributorship of Fairmont Farms milk from the Jenni Grocery which took the contract from FLORENCE GROCERY (THE) in 1917. The argument over testing cows for vaccination led to Iowa's Cow War.

In 1936 Kammiller was asked to attend a luncheon in Des Moines given for Gov. Alf Landon who was running for president. Kammiller described the candidate as "the kind of man that your dog or your child would come to." Photographed with the candidate, Kammiller was so taken by the moment that he admitted forgetting the name of the photographer and asking for a copy of the picture. (3)

Kammiller was chosen in 1937 to head the program for the Milk Institute bringing together milk producers, distributors, representatives of the medical profession and officials of the City Health Department. (4)



1. Kammiller Dies at 79, Telegraph Herald, January 27, 1952, p. 24

2. Ibid.

3. "Landon Looks Like 'A Real Fellow' to Fred Kammiller," Telegraph-Herald, Sept. 24, 1936, p. 7

4. "Milk Institute," Telegraph-Herald, February 17, 1937, p. 5