The Cincinnati Turners played a key role in the introduction of physical education in American schools, and in the history of Germans in the United States. The Cincinnati Turners were founded in 1848 as the Cincinnati Turngemeinde, an offspring of the larger Turner Movement in Germany. While it was a haven for German immigrants, it was only open to those who either were American citizens or intended to become citizens. The Cincinnati Turners were the first Turner chapter in the United States, and laid the foundation for more to follow. During the American Civil War, the Cincinnati Turners formed the First, Second and Third Companies of the ninth Ohio Regiment and served with distinction. Turners also enthusiastically served in the First and Second World Wars.
The Tolzmann German-Americana collection contains records and logbooks of the Turners and a number of items related to the history of the Turners including pamphlets, photographs, and sheet music.