Articles and Reviews

Review of German-Americana: Selected Essays
Clara Harsh, Book Review Editor,The Palatine Immigrant (July 2009)

German-Americana: Selected Essays
By Don Heinrich Tolzmann
2009. 299 pp. illus. index. Softbound. ISBN-10-1932250-68-9. $22.50 + $3 p & h.
Order from publisher, Little Miaim Publishing Co., P.O. Box 588, Milford, Ohio 45150-0588

Palatines to America members are familiar with Dr. Tolzmann as a speaker as well as an author. Since his retirement as curator of the German-Americana Collection at the University of Cincinnati Library, he has served as president of the German-American Citizens League of Cincinnati and curator of the German Heritage Museum in Cincinnati.

Dr. Tolzmann is especially well suited to write about German-Americana and its many facets. This book is an opportunity for readers to take advantage of his understanding and knowledge. Some of the entries are excerpts from previous publications and others have been prepared for this publication.

The essays cover a wide range of topics, each of interest to all, but especially to those with German roots. The anniversaries and celebrations included have a personal touch, for the author was personally involved in many of them. For example, he was in the Rose Garden and witnessed President Ronald Reagan sign the proclamation for the celebration of the first German-American Day. He visited many of the places that are mentioned in these essays and adds his eyewitness account.

Many of the German-Americans whose lives made a difference have their stories told, and their contributions to America described. These include John Roebling, the suspension bridge-builder, H.L. Mencken, the writer, and Wilhelm Kaufmann, who wrote about the role of Germans in the American Civil War. Other authors, statesmen and educators fill the pages, all contributing to American culture.

The libraries and research collections are important to those studying German-Americans. There is a list of those repositories with a brief description of their holdings and the web addresses of the online library catalogs. One little known library is the Ottendorfer Library, a branch of the New York Public Library. It was established in 1884 by Oswald Ottendorfer, the publisher of the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. His original gift was designed to serve German immigrants. The library was neglected for a time, but has been refurbished. It is at 135 Second Avenue on the lower East Side.

A chronology and selective bibliography of the German-Americana Collection at the University of Cincinnati depicts the range of material there.

This is a book to enjoy at a leisurely pace, to sample the various sections and learn about those wonderful German-Americans.

Clara Harsh
Book Review Editor
The Palatine Immigrant