HGIA: Plattdeutscher Verein, Watertown, Wisconsin

Photo courtesy of Prof. Mark L. Louden, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Plattdeutscher Verein (Low German Club) of Watertown, Wisconsin, was founded in 1882 with a twofold mission: “fraternalism and the perpetuation of the German language, especially the Plattdeutscher tongue.” The regional, cultural, and linguistic diversity of German-speaking immigrants to the U.S. was reflected in the plethora of “Vereine” (clubs, societies, associations) they founded. The German- American “Vereinswesen” (club culture) not only represented an example of direct cultural transfer but also a means through which the transition from the Old Country to the New could be eased. Though many of these clubs did not last beyond the first generation, some still exist today, including Watertown’s Plattdeutscher Verein.

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