HOWARD E. DOERSCHNER was born on March 13, 1907 to Emile and Bertha Doerschner. His grandparents,  William and Louisa Doerschner, had founded and operated a successful cleaning and dying business in in Atlantic City in the 1870s after moving there from Philadelphia. William Doerschner passed away in 1881. A widow with five children at home, Mrs. Doerschner, carried the business forward, relocating to Camden, New Jersey in February of 1890.

The Historical and Industrial Review of Camden, New Jersey, published in 1890, has the following entry concerning Mrs. Doerschner's business:


THE restoration of faded, stained or soiled goods to their pristine freshness and brightness is an occupation that commends itself to every one for its usefulness. Mrs. William Doerschner, of 415 Federal street, has been for twenty-three years past engaged in this business— in fact, since they came here from Germany. They were formerly located in Atlantic City, but removed to Camden on the 25th of February, 1890. Visitors are received and orders taken in the office of the concern, which is 14x14 feet in size and in which numerous specimens of the work done here may always be seen and inspected. Silks, woolens, crapes and merinos are dyed in any desired colors; crape and merino shawls dyed scarlet and other colors; merino, cashmere and crape shawls cleaned ; kid gloves and feathers cleaned and dyed ; gentlemen's coats, pants, vests and cloaks cleaned and pressed, altered and repaired. An assistant is employed and an established and extensive trade won by good work and reasonable prices

Mrs. Doerschner remained at 415 Federal Street into 1893. By 1895 she had moved their home and business to 512 Federal Street. Of the five Doerschner children who were at home in 1880, only son Emile and daughter Ernestine were at home in 1900. At that point the Mrs. Doerschner and her children were living at 512 Federal Street, where they also conducted the family business. Emile Doerschner married around 1904. Two sons came of this union, Howard, born in 1907, and Preston, born in 1910. When the 1910 Census was taken the family lived in North Camden at 552 Erie Street. Louisa Doerschner passed away during the 1910s, and Emile and his family moved back to 512 Federal Street

During the 1920s Emile Doerschner retired and the business was sold. The name went with the business, and under new ownership Doerschner's Dyers and Cleaners remained in business on Federal Street into the 1960s. By 1922 the Doerschner family had moved to 1409 Kaighn Avenue in Parkside by April of 1930. Howard E. Doerschner was then working as a draftsman at one of Camden's shipyards. Emile and Bertha Doerschner were still at that address as late as 1947. 

Howard Doerschner is not listed in the 1940 Camden City Directory. By 1942 he had married and was living in East Camden. The 1943 City Directory shows him and his wife Edna at 122 North 24th Street. He was working for the New York Shipbuilding Corpration as a draftsman.

In 1940 to supplement the staff of the paid Fire Department, the City of Camden organized a volunteer Auxiliary Fire Force under the aegis of the New Jersey Civil Defense Corps. The volunteers received abbreviated training and were assigned to firehouses near their homes. Their principal duties involved fireground support as opposed to active interior firefighting. The Auxiliary Fire Force was active as late as 1980. Howard Doerschner was the first Chief of the Auxiliary Fire Force and served in that capacity for many years.

Howard Doerschner lived with his wife Edna at 122 North 24th Street until her passing in December of 1981.

Howard Doerschner's last days were spent at the New Jersey Firemen's Home in Boonton, New Jersey. He died on January 15, 1995, less than four weeks after his brother Preston had passed away.

Camden Courier-Post * December 1, 1941

Members of Camden city's first volunteer firemen to be gradu­ated from the Camden Fire School, Ninth street and Morgan boulevard, are shown above going through demonstrations of their teaching during the last seven weeks. 

Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941

The photograph on the left shows Edward Friant, of 124 North Thirtieth Street, descending from a tall building on a rope by using a life belt. The center scene depicts Charles Geitz, of 465 Mechanic Street, left, and Nicholas Iacovelli, or 1303 Decatur street, using asbestos suits in the middle of roaring flames. The suits, according to Fire Captain Ray Smith, instructor at the school, are able to withstand 1,750 degrees of heat. Ernest Wilkinson, of 1304 Park boulevard, is the man behind the mask on the right shown emerging from a building filled with formaldehyde gas.

Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941
50 Volunteer Firemen Complete Training for Emergency Duties
Graduates First of 500 to Be Trained by City for Huge Reserve
Similar to that in London; Defense Officials Praise Work

Camden's first group of war and emergency volunteer firemen received their "diplomas" last night on completion or their training at the fire school in No. 10 firehouse, Ninth street and Morgan boulevard.

They are the initial volunteers to be trained as a reserve for the city fire department in an emergency. The volunteers, 50 of them, will be on 24-hour call. Eventually more than 500 men are expected to receive the training course for a huge reserve similar to the corps of firemen now being used in London. 

The men range in ages from 11 to 59 years with Charles Smith, son of Sgt. Ray Smith, being the youngest, and Harry L. Freidel, the oldest. 

The training course started May 12 and the trainees have attended three sessions a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, for seven weeks under the direction of Fire Captain Raymond Smith, no relation to the sergeant, who is director of the training school. Smith is a graduate of Class 56, of the Philadelphia Fire Training School.

Each volunteer fireman will be issued an identification card which will hold his fingerprints. 

Class Praised 

Among those congratulating the graduates were Herbert E. Harper, chairman of the Camden Defense Council; William C. Schriver, council member; Fire Chief John Lennox and Captain Smith. Howard Odrain, deputy chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department with 31 years of experience in fighting fires, attended as an observer. 

"In behalf of the Camden City Defense Council, I want to thank you men for the hours and days you have put into taking this course," Harper told the graduates,

"You have been prompt in attendance and have been attentive. We don't anticipate any air raids or any acts of war-invasion, but we have an important problem in enabling national defense Industries in Camden city to make load in their Jobs. 

"The sabotage committee of the defense council has been visiting the local Industries encouraging the plants to set up their own fire fighting squads and many are doing so. You men will be needed in times of an emergency to aid these forces and to assist at industries where there is no fire fighting squads." 

Chief Lennox termed the volunteers "our second line of defense" and thanked them for their cooperation. 

Training Complete 

The course included training In all phases of fire-fighting from operating pumpers to climbing ladders and combating incendiaries, Rescue work also was included. The use of gas masks and asbestos suits in chemical firs, how to approach delayed bombs with snubbers and the proper methods of using extinguishers were taught. 
A demonstration was held outside the firehouse by the volunteers. Their activities included scaling ladders, using gas masks to enter a smoke house, climbing and working on the top of the fire tower, using an aerial truck, tying tools for the lifting to tools, working on the end of water lines, working on pumpers, hooking up to stand pipes, jumping into life nets, tying life ropes and using asbestos suits through flaming gasoline and oil. 

The Class 

The graduates included: George D. Wilkinson, fire marshal of the RCA Manufacturing Company, and his two sons, Ernest and George; Garfield Watson, sergeant of police at New York Shipbuilding Corporation; Lieut. George Hamilton, Jr., of the 157th Field Artillery; Captain William Hare, of the Kaighn Avenue-South Street Ferry. 

Harry B. Thompson, Earl Denby, Lester W. Giberson, Norman P. Maull, Joseph Leone, Samuel Schuele, George P. Smith, Joseph Marchese, Nicholas A. Messaro, Willam S. Martz, William E. Doan, Elwood P. Martz, Jr., Clyde Getzinger, George W. Grove, Stephen Kirby, James W. McCracken, William Watkin, Manuel Weiss, Riccardo DiGiacomo, Louis Cimini, William P. Walter, Sigmund Yakaski, Nicholas Iacovelli, Robert Holmes, Walter D. Lohrman.

Myer J. Mutter, Charles Geitz, Charles A. B. Smith, Howard Doerschner, Harry L. Freidel, Franklin L. Wright, Paul W. Kessler, Warren I. Carter, Creston Polland, Edward E. Friant, Frank F. Shropshire, Charles Gall, Albert E. Pine, Nicholas Cerasoli, George W. Williams, Joseph G. Foster, Joseph Elliott, George Hance and Irving L. Stiefel.

Chief of the Auxiliary Fire Force
Howard E. Doerschner
circa 1954

Photo by Bob Bartosz

Chief of the Auxiliary Fire Force
Howard E. Doerschner
William Doan
circa 1954

Photo by Bob Bartosz

Camden Courier-Post
January 4, 1962

Howard Doerschner
Edward R. MacDowell
Nicholas George
Leo Tompkins Sr.
Walter Burgin
Walter E. Klaus










Camden Courier-Post - September 1963
Philip Farrow - Howard Doerschner - Edward V. Michalak - Col. Edwin Bedell - Edward MacDowell
Pennsauken Fire Department - Niagara Fire Company - John T. Plasket - Richard Davis - Haddon Heights Fire Company 

Howard E. Doerschner
Louis Ivy
circa 1965

Photo by Bob Bartosz

Camden Courier-Post * September 22, 1966
John Gryckiewicz - Howard Doerschner - Matthew Davies - Engine Company 6 - Keith Kaufman
Emily Burns -
North 2nd Street - Wilmer Porter - George F. Rossner - Leo Mendez