A scholar of German history, Don Heinrich Tolzmann has accumulated this collection throughout his career. Tolzmann is the retired Director of the German-American Studies program at the University of Cincinnati and is the former Curator of the German-Americana Collection at the University of Cincinnati Libraries. Tolzmann received his MA from the University of Kentucky and his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. He began his career at the University of Cincinnati as a librarian and German bibliographer and he was instrumental in bringing together the German-American collection in the Archives and Rare Books Library as a separate special collection.
Tolzmann served as President of the Society for German-American Studies from 1981 to 2006. During his tenure of office, he called for the 1983 German-American Tricentennial to mark the establishment of the first German-American settlement at Germantown, Pennsylvania and led the 1987 campaign to establish October 6th as German-American Day. He has been called the “Father of German-American Day” in recognition of this latter achievement. He also organized the first German-American Heritage Month in Cincinnati in 1989.
He has received numerous awards, including the Federal Service Cross from Germany, the Ohioana Book Award for history, and the SGAS Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society for German-American Studies. A prolific author, he has written, edited, translated or composed 370 works in 605 publications, in both German and English. Some of his recent works include Engelhardt Riemenschneider: Memoirs of a German Methodist Pioneer and German Heritage Guide to the State of Ohio. He has also served on the boards of international and national organizations, including the Deutsches Auswandererhaus in Bremerhaven and the Friends of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. He is currently president of the German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati,
Since 2011, he has served as the Executive Director of German Heritage Tours, which provides guided tours of historically German areas in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. He is also the editor of the book series New German-American Studies and is serving on the editorial board of the Yearbook of German-American Studies, and other publication. He is currently the Book Review Editor of German Life and a Columnist and Associate Publisher for Germerica.net.