German-language publishing has an amazing tradition in Wisconsin.
The beginning of Wisconsin German publications can be traced as far back as 1844 with the appearance of the Wisconsin Banner newspaper. Begun with a start-up capital of $170, it was created in the interest of fighting the xenophobic undertones found in other Milwaukee papers of the time. The Banner was, however, only one of about 500 German language publications in Wisconsin's history, and a number of Milwaukee German-language newspapers and periodicals had circulations well over 10,000; one Milwaukee paper, Die Germania, had a circulation of over 100,000 in the first two decades of this century. Indeed, Milwaukee emerged toward the turn of the century as a regional and national center for the German press. But, while Milwaukee may have been the hub for German language publications in the state, it was certainly not the only region in which they could be found. German newspapers appeared from Kenosha to Superior and from Marinette to Platteville.
While these facts about the German press in Wisconsin may be interesting in and of themselves, they also have a broader significance for the social background of the state. In the course of the past 150 years, Wisconsin has undergone tremendous changes in its ethnic makeup as well as in how ethnic groups here have seen themselves and how others have seen them. Few examples of this are as striking as the transformation of German-speaking immigrants from a distinctly foreign element into a major component of this state's dominant culture. The development and subsequent decline of German-language publishing provides an important illustration of this change. The year of statehood, 1848, coincides with a revolution in Germany that brought a wave of notable journalists and authors to this state, at a time when German immigration to Wisconsin was already increasing rapidly. The Max Kade Institute has in its library a considerable and growing collection of Wisconsin German writings which includes books, periodicals, unpublished manuscripts and documents. One major aim of the Reading Immigrant History by the Books project is to highlight the social and historical significance of these immigrant works and their effect on the culture of Wisconsin.
One prominent factor in the size of the press is the impressive number of German speaking citizens in the state. In fact, it has been estimated that around the turn of the century roughly one-third of the state's population were German speaking, that is, German-born immigrants and their children. (Today, almost 60% of Wisconsinites claim German heritage.) This large potential readership prompted widespread publication on a broad range of topics: from Der Geflügel-Züchter (The Poultry Breeder) to Theologische Quartalschrift (Theological Quarterly).
Community groups, colleges and universities throughout the state will be hosting our Reading Immigrant History talks this summer and fall. We will be visiting these communities to talk about the project and discuss the significance of the German press in America, and the role the German press played in Wisconsin, as well as what it shows us about immigration and patterns of accomodation among German-Americans. Each talk will focus to an extent on publications produced in the community where that talk is held. (Each community on our schedule had newspapers and most had book publishing in German.) All presentations will include history of foreign-language publishing in Wisconsin and the importance of foreign-language publications for new immigrants. We will sketch how the German press treated key events in state history and look at the demise of German-language publishing. Through this project, the MKI hopes to make a contribution to the Sesquicentennial efforts by drawing attention to the important role the German-American press played in the cultural evolution of the state.
Did you know?
- German books have been published in Wisconsin since as early as 1844?
- At the turn of the century almost 100 newspapers were being published in the German language in Wisconsin, and four of these were dailies?
- German publications ranged in content from religious writings to technical and scienfic works, a range of political writings and popular literature as well as belles lettres and musical scores?
The MKI libraries continue to grow. In the last Newsletter, we focused on recent book acquisitions from Germany. In this issue, we include a mix of older German-American imprints donated to the Institute and recently-published books we have bought or been given. The German-American volumes go into our growing collection of German-language materials published in the United States. As you can see, we continue to acquire new Wisconsin books in particular, even as we begin our Reading Immigrant History by the Books project (see lead article on pp. 1-2). The contemporary works go into our research collection on the second floor. We have a third collection, of archival material and it's growing as well, with recent donations of personal archives of immigrants.
Freidenker-Almanach fuer das Jahr 1878. 1878. Milwaukee: Doerflinger.
Gedenkbuch. Erinnerung an Karl Heinzen. Enthuellungsfeier des Heinzen-Denkmals. 1887. Milwaukee, Wis.: Freidenker Publishing.
Mutterliebe. Ein Gebet- und Lehrbuch fuer
christliche Muetter. 1907. New York:
Perlen: Kleine Erzaehlungen fuer Kinder. n.d. Milwaukee, Wis.: Brumder.
Sauk City Free Congregation: The only Active Free Congregation Fellowship in the Nation. [n.d.]. [Sauk City, WI]
Arlberg, Max. 1887. Josef Freifeld. Ein social-Roman aus dem deutschamerikanischen Leben. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.
Beam, Richard C., compiler. 1998. Pennsylvania German words in context from Pumpernickel Bill's (William S. Troxell) columns in the Allentown Morning Call 1945-1946. Millersville, PA: Center for Pennsylvania German Studies; 110 p.
Beazley, J. C. and Carl Meyer. Original Melodien.etc. Pianoforte.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. 1951. How to travel incognito. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. 1942. I love you, I love you, I love you. New York: Viking Press.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. 1944. Now I lay me down to sleep. New York: Viking Press.
Bielfeld, Heinrich A. 1889. Gedichte. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.
Brancaforte, Charlotte L. 1998. Mathilde Franziska Anneke: An essay on her life. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Public Museum; 63 p.
C.D. 1904. Widersprueche in der Bibel. Milwaukee, Wis.: Freidenker.
Castelhun, Friedrich K. 1883. Gedichte. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.
Deutsche katholischen Kranken- Unterstuetzungs- und Juenglings-Vereine von Wisconsin und Ober-Michigan. 1900. Siebente Staats-Versammlung gehalten in Fond du Lac, am 4. 5, und 6. Juni 1900. Fond du Lac: Selbstverlag.
Doerflinger, Chas. H. "Familiar History of the Twenty Sixth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers Infantry. I. Personal Reminiscences of the Battle of Chancellorsville; Particularly on Hawkins' Field."
Dreisel, Hermann O. 1905. Gesammelte Schriften. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.; 285 pp.
Duden, G. 1829. Bericht ueber eine Reise nach den westlichen Staaten Nordamerika's ... Elberfeld: Lucas.
Gerhard, Friedr. 1864. Deutsch-Amerikanische Gartenlaube. ed. Vol. 1. New York: Friedr. Gerhard.
Grathwol, Robert P., Donita M. Moorhus, and Douglas J. Wilson. 1997. Oral history and postwar German-American relations: Resources in the United States. Washington, D.C.: German Historical Institute.
Haas, Gustav. [n.d. ] Ein Buch der Liebe: Erlebtes und Erträumtes, Selbstempfundenes und Nachempfundenes. Milwaukee, WI: The North American Press; 100 p.
Keel, William and Kurt Rein, eds. 1996. German emigration from Bukovina to the Americas. Results of initial investigations and a guide to further research. Lawrence, Kansas: Bukowina-Institut// Raimund- Friedrich- Kaindl- Gesellschaft//Max Kade Center for German-American Studies; 300 p.
Kerl, Otto."Forty-Eight Years in Dane County:The Experiences of a German Pioneer of Dane County." 39 p.
Kollisch, Margarete. 1981. Rueckblendung: Gedichte und Prosa. Wien: Bergland Verlag.
Kronoff, Frida v. Der Kleinen Zeitvertreib.
Lassen, John. 1924. Das andere Amerika. Leipzig: Freidenker.
McLellan, Marjorie L. 1997. Six generations here: A farm family remembers. Preface by Kathleen N. Conzen. Madison, WI: State Historical Society of Wisconsin; 138 p.
Miller, Randall M., ed. 1989. States of progress: Germans and blacks in America over 300 years. Lectures from the tricentennial of the Germantown protest against slavery. Philadelphia, PA: The German Society of Pennsylvania; xiii, 101 p.
Moellhausen, Balduin. 1876. Die Reiher. Milwaukee: Banner und Volksfreund; 358 p.
Mueller, Jacob. 1996. Memories of a Forty-Eighter: Sketches from the German-American periiod of storm and stress in the 1850s. Cleveland, OH: Western Reserve Historical Society; 244 p.
Mueller, Jakob. 1896. Aus den Erinnerungen eines Achtundvierzigers: Skizzen aus der deutsch-amerikanischen Sturm- und Drang-Periode der 50er Jahre. Cleveland, OH: Rud. Schmidt Printing Co.; 267 p.
Puchner, Rudolph. 1898. Klaenge aus dem Westen. Milwaukee, WI: Freidenker Publishing.
Puchner, Rudolph. 1994. Memories of the first years of the settlement of New Holstein. Translator William G. Thiel. New Holstein, WI: D. Cooley & Co.; 79 p.
Smith, W. 1891. Die neue illustrirte heilige Schrift... Erie, PA: Lovell Manufacturing Co.
Suttner, Bertha. 1891. Doktor Helmuts Donnerstage. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.
Tolzmann, Don H., ed. 1998. The German-American forty-eighters 1848-1998. Indianapolis, IND: Max Kade German-American Center; 121 p.
Zündt, Ernst. 1894. Ebbe und Fluth:
Gesammelte Lyrische Dichtungen / Jurgutha, Trauerspiel in fuenf
Akten. Milwaukee: Freidenker Publishing Co.
48er Collection To Be Published
Belser Wissenschaftlicher Verlag of Wildhorn, Germany is publishing on microform a collection of materials about the influence of the German-speaking 48ers in the United States. This unique collection, culled from the Max Kade Institute and the State Historical Society libraries, contains 12,000 pages of original works about and by 48ers in full-text format. Among the works included are the Memoirs of Carl Schurz, in English and German, an original manuscript by Mathilde Anneke, Das Weib in Konflikt mit den Sozialen Verhältnissen, which the MKI transferred to the SHSW on permanent loan, and the two-volume Wisconsin's Deutsch-Amerikaner bis zum Schluß des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, published in Milwaukee in 1900 by Wilhelm Hense-Jensen.
Forthcoming this fall:
Dictionary of German Names, revised edition
This fall, the Max Kade Institute will be publishing a revised edition of its popular Dictionary of German Names, including both hardcover and paperback versions. The English translation of Hans Bahlow's Deutsches Namenlexikon was done by Edda Gentry and originally published by the Max Kade Institute in 1993.
In addition to almost 650 pages of entries on the origins and history of surnames from the German-speaking world, the book contains extensive introductory materials, including the geography of names, types and patterns of naming, maps of German dialect areas, bibliography, and more. Like all our publications, the new edition will be distributed by the University of Wisconsin Press. For ordering information, call the UW Press at the Chicago Distribution Center at (800) 621-2736 or (773) 568-1550. Information about the UW Press may also be obtained on their web site: http://www.wisc. edu/wisconsinpress/.
When the ethnic Heritage Committee of the Sesqui-centennial Commission wanted to organize a statewide conference on the history of immigration in Wisconsin, hoping to bring together ethnic groups in all parts of the state to engage in a dialogue, it came up against a serious roadblock: There was no easy way of finding members of those groups.
The Committee then decided to propose a project to create a directory of Wisconsin's ethnic organizations, to be published on the World Wide Web. The MKI offered to prepare and maintain the database.
The goal of the project is to "encourage collaboration, cooperation and communication among ethnic groups and to increase awareness of the breadth and depth of Wisconsin's valuable cultural resources."
Joshua Hagen, a graduate student in Geography at the UW and the Project Assistant working on the collection and organization of the data, began with a packet of addresses of a small group of ethnic organizations, to whom he sent questionnaires. From these, a profile of each organization is being posted on the database, including mission statements and activities, as well as address, publications and membership size. The Directory will be searchable by keyword to locate specific types of organizations.
As word of the project has spread, an increasing number of organizations has expressed a desire to be included in the directory. "About a hundred organizations have responded, with more arriving daily," said Hagen. Over thirty different ethnic groups are represented by these organizations.
According to Hagen, the distribution of organizations seems to parallel the state's population distribution, with the Milwaukee area accounting for the largest number of ethnic organizations and the rest more or less evenly distributed throughout the rest of the state.
Some of the German organizations which have responded thus far include: Berliner Bären, Swiss Connection, Federation of German-American Societies of Wisconsin, Schwaben Männerchor, Bayerischer Vergnügungs Club, Bavarian Soccer Club, Pommerscher Verein of Central Wisconsin, Austrian American Society, Pommerscher Verein Freistadt, German- American Society of Green Bay and, of course, the Max Kade Institute.
This sesquicentennial year has provided an opportunity to deepen some old ties between Wisconsin and its Sister State of Hessen. This winter, James R. Klauser, member of the Friends of the MKI Board of Directors, called to life a Hessen-Wisconsin Society to promote existing connections and create a range of new ones. The Society has already established committees including Education, Tourism & Culture and Science & Technology to work beyond the Sesquicentennial to build bridges.
While longer-term projects are being developed now, the Society is working especially on the visit of many Hessians to the Folklife Festival this August, including a delegation led by Hessian Minister President Eichel. In addition, the Festival will involve over 60 craftspeople and artisans from the state, demonstrating weaving, woodworking, winemaking as well as traditional music and dance. Other exhibits will include the "Art of Healing," on the usage of medicinal herbs and plants from the Monastery of Losch. Wisconsin has reciprocated with an exhibit at this year's Hessentage held in Erbach in the Odenwald.
MKI Soccer Team!
The MKI is the proud sponsor of an amateur soccer team: The Max Kade Amokläufer. The team is comprised mainly of UW German Department graduate students and professors, and competes in the UW-Madison Recreational Soccer League on Wednesday evenings at 6:15 at the University Fields near the UW Hospital. After a slow start in the first few games of the season, the team is practicing hard and improving rapidly, and is looking forward to greater success in the weeks ahead. Amokläufer vor!
The first settlers to the Sauk Prairie area arrived in 1838. Berry Haney heard of the ratification of the Indian treaty in Spring 1838 as he operated a stage line between Mineral Point and Fort Winnebago (Portage). That spring, on his next trip there, Haney took Jonathan Taylor and Solomon Shore along to make a land claim on the prairie of the Sauks. In June 1838 Haney hired James Ensminger and Thomas Sanser to break ten acres. When Indians threatened to burn their camp, they dug a pit, walled it with logs and protected it with a covering of earth. This was on the river bank just behind what is now Haselwander's tavern at 910 Water Street in Sauk City and the location of the first permanent improvement made by whites in Sauk County. The beautiful, fertile Sauk Prairie soon attracted others.
The German settlement at Sauk Prairie was founded in 1840 by Count Augustine Haraszthy and his cousin Charles Halasz who set out from Hamburg in March of 1840, accompanied by a number of Germans, including Adolph Rendtorff and the Count's parents, wife and children. An ongoing stream of German and Swiss immigration followed. Augustine Haraszthy was a land speculator as well as a viticulturalist who attracted early German immigrants to the area as clients to whom he sold parcels of land. While Count Haraszthy was himself Hungarian, nearly all the colonists whom he induced to join him were small peasant farmers and workmen from the wine regions of the Rhine.
In fall 1840, Edmund Rendtorff, Adolph's brother, arrived at Prairie du Sac. Haraszthy and Halasz had urged Adolph Rendtorff to bring his brother Edmund, who had arrived on an earlier ship to New York on December 8th, 1838 to the Sauk Prairie. Edmund Rendtorff wrote to W. H. Canfield on June 19, 1861: "Over twenty years have passed by since my arrival here - a time faster spoken than lived through - a time that has brought to our German settlement many hardships which the inhabitants can testify to; most of them are now forgotten, and the joys and blessings which have been showered upon us, the griefs and hardships of the past are thought of no more."
Those hardships no doubt included illness and accidents at a time when medical aid and medicine were not available, winter cold not contained by central heat or insulated clothing and footwear, and lacking mechanization and paved roads. Some of the compensations for those early hardships Edmund Rendtorff experienced are also recorded: "During the first days, especially, that I lived in Sauk, my eyes were much of the time on the fine scenery. It was no unbroken wilderness that met my gaze. The idea struck me that Indians had lived here and that still an ancient people before them (the mound builders) occupied this lovely prairie. Many signs of them were here upon the surface of the soil, showing themselves in the silence of beautiful nature, where only a few white men could be seen. What a change has been made here! Those formerly untouched bluffs now show numerous quarries of lime and building rock. That valuable, high and mighty timber on the islands of the Wisconsin River and border is gone. Its barbarous enemy, the American Ax', in German hands has been here and brought destruction all around - but now in its place, kind nature has planted new trees which are at this time half grown again. The wild grass of the marshes has changed as countless tons of hay have been made there by the settlers. Look at the prairie from the end to the commencement again of winter, full of flowers, changing almost every week, one closing to make room for another - more blossoms that leave more spears of grass. But now you see, only now and then, a vacant, unoccupied green spot; the blossoms have disappeared by the feeding of cattle. Their seed could not fall to the ground to spring up again to bring blossoms for future years. But how is it with the spot of land and surrounding country where we landed in the Fall of 1840? All then was covered with Indian hills; thousands of deer bones, glass neck pearls, arrow points of flint, and Indian graves were everywhere to be found. Yes, here they hunted, fished, raised corn and died. Time has decayed the bones; the new generation, children of Germans, have picked up their glass pearls, etc. to play with, their cornhills have been leveled, the village of Sauk City being located upon them, whose largest portion of inhabitants consists of Germans."
Since those early pioneer days of small things and lively happenings Sauk City has continued its German heritage. Its population to a great extent traces ancestry back to those early immigrants, though few still speak German at home.
The towns of Troy, Honey Creek and Prairie du Sac contained a large Swiss element from Graubunden, Zurich and Bern. The presence and labors of these immigrants have been of great benefit to dairy farming in southern Sauk County.
Almost to a person those early settlers from Switzerland were German Methodist or German Reformed. Others founded the Free Gamont Congregation, or "Free Thinkers". The society of the "Free German Association" held their first meeting in early 1842 at which time they called themselves "humanists." Charles Duer was the first speaker followed by Eduard Schröter. The society was incorporated June 3, 1853 as the "Free German Association of Sauk County." The congregation, which continues to the present day, has no settled dogma, neither do members recognize any authority as infallible and to be explicitly followed. The works of nature and the revelations of human experience in history serve as foundations for whatever opinions may be entertained, subject to the analysis and conclusions arrived at by reason. The chief principles are advancement of general intelligence and maintenance of sincerity, honesty and truth in all things, as opposed by hypocrisy and falsehood.
The first Catholic priest was Rev. Adelbert Inama, a Norber-tine priest from Wilten Abbey in Tirol of Austria. He was ordained on May 7, 1828, and then taught the classics at the University of Innsbruck. Father Inama answered the call for a missionary from Rt. Rev. John Martin Henni of Milwaukee. A large parcel of land was deeded by Haraszthy to Bishop Henni. Bishop Henni passed this land on to Fr. Inama and it became known as St. Norberts, after the Norbertine Order. Later, another parcel was granted to Fr. Inama by Haraszthy on which the first St. Aloysius Church was built in Sauk City. On January 1, 1843 Fr. Inama boarded the three masted Franois I at Havre, France and sailed with other emigrants to America, reaching New York on March 1, 1843, after a voyage of 58 days. The most common route from New York to Wisconsin involved a steamboat journey up the Hudson River to Albany, New York, then by rail to Buffalo and by steamboat on the lakes to Milwaukee. Others arrived by the Port of New Orleans and up the Mississippi River to Wisconsin. The first Catholic church in Sauk City was built in 1845, a small frame building which burned shortly after construc-tion. In 1846 Rev. Maximilian Gaertner, of the same order as Rev. Inama from Tirol, arrived and took charge of the congregation at Sauk City.
With roots such as these, it is little wonder that German culture took root here. A German newspaper was first issued on November 23, 1853 and continued in German until September 12, 1929.
Following World War II, new German immigration to the area arose as a result of local churches sponsoring immi-grants, economic problems in Germany and emigration from former German enclaves in eastern Europe. The stories of those immigrants, hardships and successes, remain to be recorded.
Clover, Sam T. 1979. Sauk City Historical Album: A Pioneer Heritage. History of Sauk County. 1880.
Rummel, Rev. Leo. History of the Catholic Church in Wisconsin. A Standard History of Sauk County. 1918.
On May 20, the MKI hosted a lecture by Prof. Mark Louden of the University of Texas-Austin entitled "Amish Bilingualism: Myth & Reality." The lecture dealt with common linguistic stereotypes about the Amish, especially the notion of Pennsylvania German as a "corrupt" or "broken" form of English. Based on his own experiences within Amish communities, as well as exten-sive research, he discussed the functions of both English and Pennsylvania German in Amish society and how this dual linguistic identity parallels the dual social identity of the Amish. For example, Pennsylvania German is used at home, with family, friends and with other Pennsylvania German speakers. It also serves a more formal function in such situations as town and church meetings. English also serves both formal and informal purposes; jokes and stories originally heard in English are usually repeated in English, and younger people sometimes use it with siblings and friends. English is also the language of instruction in school and nearly all printed materials are in English. Any dealings with non-Pennsylvania German speakers are conducted in English.
An example of the role of English comes from how Amish parents interact with young children; English is used to produce a kind of baby talk. So, "Bischt en schleefricher Bu!" ( You're a sleepy boy!') becomes "Bis a sleepy boy!" Many proper names have both a Pennsylvania German pronounciation and an English pronounciation. The name "King," for example, can also be pronounced like Kenig when speakers are using Pennsylvania German.
Louden has been researching Pennsylvania German since 1985. He has lived in or around Amish settlements in Ithaca, NY, Lancaster, PA, and Gonzales, TX, and visited many others. According to Louden, Wisconsin Amish settlements have recently been experiencing rapid growth, partly due to an influx from communities in Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana. "There are between 3000-4000 Old Order Amish in Wisconsin," said Louden. "The settlements run the gamut of fairly conserva-tive materially (e.g. no milking machines, bulk tanks, tractors), to those which have those things."
Louden is helping publish the Wordatlas of Pennsylvania German by Lester Seifert, who with Carroll Reed investigated lexical and other variation among Pennsylvania German speakers in southeastern Pennsylvania in the summers of 1940-41. Also working on the Wordatlas with Mark Louden are Howard Martin, Dean of Continuing Studies, and Project Assistant Meredith Hassall, a doctoral student in German.
A RELATED NOTE:
Our library has plenty of works on Pennsylvania German language (grammars, dictionaries, literature, linguistics), history, culture, and on Amish and other German-speaking Anabaptists.
Of special note, though, are the recent volumes that the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies has been kind enough to send regularly. The Center's director, C. Richard Beam, is also editor of the Pennsylvania German Dictionary project. Along the way down that long road, he has compiled volumes of Pennsylvania German Words in Context. The recent of those volumes, for example, draws on writings of Pumpernickel Bill, who wrote columns for the Allentown Morning Call. The Center has also just sent us Vella Laysa: Bivvel Shtoahris fa Kinnah, a collection of Bible stories for Pennsylvania German-speaking children produced by the publisher Vella Deitsh.
You can write to the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies at 406 Spring Drive, Millersville, PA 17551 and to Vella Deitsh at 5201 TR 361 Millersburg, OH 44654.
A sample of contemporary written Pennsylvania German (from Vella Laysa p. 24):
Da Joseph vatt fakawft
Da Joseph voah en yungah boo, shiah sivvatzay yoah ald. Eah hott alsamohl sei breedah kolfa di shohf heeda. Sei Daett hott da Joseph bessah geglicha es di anri breedah, un dess hott sei breedah jealous gmacht funn een.
Ay dawk sinn sei breedah noch Sheechem ganga mitt di shohf. Shpaydah hott da Daett ksawt zu da Joseph, "Ich vill havva es du gaysht gooka eb alles goot gayt mitt dei breedah."
"Do binn ich," hott da Joseph ksawt, un eah voah glei uf da vayk.
Vo eah noch Shechem kumma is hott mann een ksenna draus in di feldah rumm laufa. Da mann hott een kfrohkt, "Vass bisht am gukka difoah?"
"Ich binn am gukka fa mei breedah," hott da Joseph ksawt. "Vaysht du vo si sinn mit shohf?"
The Friends of the Max Kade Institute are planning an excursion to West Bend on Saturday, August 29, to tour the West Bend Art Museum's exhibit, "Foundations of Art in Wisconsin", curated by Friends Board member Tom Lidtke, who is also Executive Director of the West Bend Art Museum. Along with the exhibit is an exhibition publication and public symposium on Wisconsin's visual arts legacy from early settlement times to the mid-20th century. Also exhibited are major works by German-American artists, which make up a significant part of the West Bend Art collection.
The tour begins at 5:00 on the 29th, with a wine and cheese reception afterwards. Also taking place on Friday and Saturday, August 28-29th, is West Bend's German Fest. Transportation options to and from West Bend will depend on interest, so please contact the Friends of the MKI at 262-7546 by August 18th so arrangements can be made.
At a dinner following the annual meeting of the Friends held at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, Friends Board member Dennis Boyer portrayed Captain Jesse W. Shull, an early German-American settler in the state, with the following introduction to the "Old Settlers Club of Milwaukee":
In the years after Wisconsin statehood, patriotic fervor and historical preservation interest gave rise to associations of private citizens who shared the bond of helping to carve Wisconsin out of the old Northwest Territory.
Frequently called pioneer societies or old settlers' clubs, those associations came into being before the state was yet twenty years old. They served as reminders that Wisconsin did not spring out of thin air in 1848. In their view, Wisconsin pioneers were those who came before or during the the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Living in a time of westward expansion, they were very conscious that they were part of a journey that started one hundred, two hundred, and even three hundred years before in places as diverse as the Rhine Valley, the Scottish Highlands, and the ports of France.
They were also conscious, in ways that later arrivals were not, that Wisconsin and the land to the west were not unoccupied territories. For better or worse, many of those pioneers came from families with experience in American Indian/European American relations - they traded with, intermarried, and fought Pequot in New England, Delawares in Pennsylvania, Shawnee in Ohio, and Creeks in the Upper South.
Captain Jesse W. Shull is one of the earliest known German-Americans to act upon the stage of Wisconsin history. He hails from a Pennsylvania German family, part of that group mislabeled the Pennsylvania Dutch.
His story represents thousands of unheralded German speaking pioneers who shaped the American frontier before the Civil War.
Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Family History
Madison, WI 53705-8891
It is advisable to register early as the conference registration is limited. We hope to see you on 23-24 October at this intersting and important conference.
The MKI was originally founded in 1983 by a generous endowment from the Max Kade Foundation in New York. (In case you didn't know, Kade was an immigrant who developed pertussin for whooping cough. The Foundation supports international medical research and is a major supporter of German Studies.) Since then, the MKI has existed largely on income from that endowment. The College of Letters & Science kindly provides support by releasing directors from one course per semester teaching duty and the University keeps up the facility. But our endowment hasn't grown at all during the history of the MKI. So, as interest rates dropped, our income has plummeted, so that without stopgap funding, the MKI could literally not afford to stay open.
We have been fortunate to obtain some small grants this year, allowing us to begin research on German dialects spoken in the state, educational projects, like school exhibits and our conference, and outreach, like the lectures around the state (p. 1) and the Directory (p. 4). We're writing more, larger grants, building on those initial successes. While such grants finance activities of the MKI, they don't cover our basic operating costs.
Our Executive Committee has taken crucial steps to ensure our future, notably reinvesting our endowment with the UW Foundation in order to create steady growth in the principal. For now, though, the only way to make the MKI prosper is to build the endowment. The Friends Board of Directors has established a fundraising committee to this end; we've set a goal of increasing our endowment by $250,000 in the next three years. If we can raise that by the end of 2000, it will stabilize our situation by covering most basic operating expenses. By 2003, we're aiming for another $250,000.
Literally as I was working on this piece, we received the largest donation the MKI has ever gotten, $50,000. Please consider a contribution. (See form below.) With your help, we'll clear this hurdle.
Back to work, Joe