A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
WILLIAM W. JAEGER, vice president and director of agencies of the Bankers
Life Company of Des Moines, has rounded out a quarter of a century of service
with that company. He started as a local solicitor, and since then has been
one of the prime factors in promoting the business and prestige of the Bankers
Life Company over many states and districts of the United States.
Mr. Jaeger was born at Portage, Wisconsin, August 9, 1876, son of Ernest L.
and Mary R. (Peabody) Jaeger. His father was born in Germany, in 1830, and
was fourteen years of age when brought to America. His father was a
compentent physician and surgeon and had served as burgomaster of his town in Germany.
When he brought his family to the United States in a sailing vessel he
spent a short time at Albany, New York, and then moved to the vicinity of Toledo,
Ohio, where he spent the rest of his life practicing his profession. Ernest
L. Jaeger when a young man of twenty years, in 1850, moved west to Wisconsin.
This was then one of the youngest states and was without railroad
facilities, all goods being transported inland from Iliwaukee and other lake harbors
with wagons and ox teams. For many years he conducted a general mercantile
business at Portage. He always voted as a Republican, and he and his wife were
the leading factors in starting the Presbyterian Church at Portage. He was
able to retire from business at the age of sixty-five, and he died in 1915,
at the age of eighty-five. His wife, who was born at Middleburg, Vermont,
died in 1904. She was born in 1835. They were married at Portage, Wisconsin.
Of their six children only two are now living, Chauncey P. Jaeger and William
W. Chauncey P. is in the assessor's office at Madison, Wisconsin.
William W. Jaeger attended the Portage High School in Wisconsin and
continued his education in the Lake Forest Academy and Lake Forest College at Lake Forest, Illinois. He was graduated Bachelor of Science in 1898, and immediately went to work as an office employe of Swift & Company, and then for a little over a year was a traveling representative of the firm. For about one year he had charge of the Stock Yards Market of the old Schwarzschild and Sulzberger Packing Company. Mr. Jaeger had an experience of several years, from 1900 to 1904, in the grocery business at Demming, New Mexico.
On July 1, 1904, he did his first work as a solicitor of insurance for the
Bankers Life Company at Bloomington, Illinois. He also worked at Champaign,
Illinois, and he had soon satisfied himself that he had found his permanent
life work. After a year in the field he was appointed assistant manager for
some twelve counties in the heart of Illinois, and about a year later was named
manager for the same territory, and later organized the agency. The company
then sent him to Topeka, Kansas, to establish and develop a general agency.
His special abilities made him invaluable to the company during its period of
development as a nationwide organization, and on July 1, 1915, he was made
special field representative, traveling all over the country, organizing and
adjusting and building up the company's sales force. Three years later he was
made regional sales manager for the ten eastern states, and on July 1, 1922,
was called to the home office at Des Moines to direct the company's sales
organization as general sales manager. In January, 1926, Mr. Jaeger was named
vice president and director of agencies. He is also a member of the board of
directors of the company.
He has been called a natural born leader, has a gift for inspiring men to
work with and for him, and he has contributed in enormous measure to the great
volume of business secured by the Bankers Life Company during the last twenty
years. Mr. Jaeger knows life insurance, knows salesmanship, is a forceful
speaker, and has sometimes been called the "Billy Sunday of Life Insurance."
He has enjoyed some of those appreciated marks of recognition from the
insurance world in general, having served as vice chairman of the executive
committee of the Life Insurance Sales Research Bureau, and is a member of the
Association of Life Agency Officers. He is a member of the Des Moines Club,
serving that club as a member of the board of trustees, and of the Wakonda Country Club, and is a director and has been prominently identified with the Des Moines Public Welfare Bureau. Mr. Jaeger still has his membership in the
Presbyterian Church at Champaign, Illinois. Among his minor hobbies are gardening, motoring and fishing. While in Lake Forest College his prominence in athletics made him a Five Letter man.
Mr. Jaeger married, in 1904, Georgia May Camp, who was born at Mount Vernon, Iowa, daughter of George D. and Emma P. (Platen) Camp, her father now eighty-one and her mother seventy-nine, residents of Mount Vernon. Her father was
a carriage manufacturer and afterwards joined the group of agents of the Bankers Life Company. Mrs. Jaeger graduated in 1897 from the University of Nebraska. Their only child, Georgia Camp Jaeger, was born in 1905 and died in 1912.
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