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Tolzmann Book Details German American History

Date: Feb. 27, 2001
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: Research News

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben served as a general under George Washington in the American Revolution. Levi Strauss became best known as the manufacturer of blue jeans. Albert Einstein was the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for physics.

All three have something in common. Each is a part of German American history. And they're all mentioned in the pages of The German-American Experience, a book by Don Heinrich Tolzmann, curator of UC's German Americana Collection and director of German American studies.

Viewers of the upcoming 60-minute television documentary, The German Americans, will find much greater detail in Tolzmann's 465-page book, published by Humanity Books ($35 hardcover, $24.95 paperback). Tolzmann's volume covers German American history from "the legendary first German," Tyrker, Leif Erikson's foster father, to German American influences in agriculture, business, social life, religion, music, journalism and more.

According to the publisher, Tolzmann's book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date work ever published on German American heritage. Tolzmann provides details of:

  • the first permanent German settlement in America at Germantown, Pa.., in 1683.

  • immigration and settlement patterns of German immigrants.

  • foundations of German American community life.

  • German American involvement in the American Revolution and the Civil War.

He also chronicles German American experiences in both World Wars, including anti-German hysteria and the internment of German Americans. There are also appendices listing prominent German Americans, a chronology of German American history and a state-by-state roster of German place names.

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