The idea of utopia as a place of peace and plenty away from the hardships of ordinary life, is a recurring theme in literature. The term entered popular usage after publication of Thomas More’s Utopia in 1516. His Eden is an idyllic island society wholly removed from the corruption of sixteenth century England. [Read more…] about Myth and Migration: The Old West As Urban Invention
Through Sophie’s Eyes (Cahaba, 2008) is a remarkable memoir by Sophie Kussmaul (1875-1968), granddaughter of Princess Regina Henry, first cousin to Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, and niece of Dr. Adolf Kussmaul, a noted Heidelberg physician.
Edited by Sinclair Seevers, the memoir spans her first six decades, two thirds of Kussmaul’s long life. It’s a vivid account of her shy childhood in the 1870s through the years of the Great Depression. [Read more…] about Memoir Recounts The Remarkable Life of Sophie Kussmaul
In 1850, after a long journey, a large German family sailed from Hamburg into New York Harbour. There was no Statue of Liberty to welcome them. Newcomers faced no questions or restrictions. There was no Castle Garden (opened in 1855), no Ellis Island (opened in 1892) – they simply made their way and settled in the city.
The family brought music to New York. [Read more…] about German Immigrants & Instruments: 48ers, Slomans and Steinways
The history of musical taste in the United States has a Germanic flavor. The symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston were founded by German-Americans. The impact of Richard Wagner’s operas is still apparent. A patch of the Bronx contains locations such as Lohengrin Place, Siegfried Place, Parsifal Place, and Valhalla Drive. [Read more…] about Bayreuth and Brown Berries: German-American Music Traditions
Born in March 1804 in Bavaria, Franz Seraph Hanfstaengl studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He settled in Dresden and began copying paintings in the splendid collection of the city’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.
Between 1835 and 1852 he produced about 200 lithographic reproductions of masterworks, laying the foundations for the publishing House of Hanfstaengl. [Read more…] about House of Hanfstaengl: Munich and Manhattan
The Old Stone Fort Museum continues its winter lecture series with Jeff O’Connor on Tuesday April 4th.
This month Jeff, a local author and historian, will discuss “The Palatine Experience” and the circumstances that led to these German refugees settling in the Schoharie Valley. [Read more…] about The Palatine Experience At Old Stone Fort Museum
Dr. Richard Haberstroh, author of German Churches in Metropolitan New York: A Research Guide, joined host Jane E. Wilcox on the Forget-Me-Not Hour podcast this week. Richard talked about Germans in the New York City metro area – their political and religious history in Germany, why they came to New York, where they settled, and what churches they organized here. Richard also discussed his book (published by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society) and gave some tips on researching German ancestors in the New York City area.
Listen on-demand here. [Read more…] about Interview: German Churches in Metropolitan New York
For more than a century, New York City was the brewing capital of America, with more breweries producing more beer than any other city, including Milwaukee and St. Louis.
In Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family and Their Brooklyn Brewery (SUNY Press, 2016,) Alfred W. McCoy traces the hundred-year history of the prominent Brooklyn brewery Piel Bros., and provides an intimate portrait of the company’s German-American family.
Piel Bros. grew from Brooklyn’s smallest brewery in 1884, producing only 850 kegs, into the sixteenth-largest brewery in America, brewing over a million barrels by 1952. [Read more…] about Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family of Brooklyn
Immigration has always been an important part of New York history. If one considers the story of the state from the Ice Age to Global Warming, then we and/or our ancestors all arrived here from somewhere else. Even if we were born an American and reside here now we may not have been born in New York. And if we were born in New York, we may not now live in the community where we were born or grew up. People move around a lot. How often do you hear the story of someone who has only been a resident of the community for 10, 20, 30 years and is still considered a newcomer?
Telling the story of immigration in New York provides an opportunity for us to connect with the world. What country doesn’t have residents in this state? So here is an opportunity for New York to tell the story about what it means to be a New Yorker by examining the lives of people who became New Yorkers. [Read more…] about Heritage Tourism and Immigration in New York State
Louis Hensel was born in 1817 and lived a life of travel and adventure, as colorfully described in letters to his granddaughter back in Germany. Wilshinsky translated them from Suderlein German into modern English. [Read more…] about Louis Hensel: My Life in America