New German American Online Exhibit on the ARB Web Page

The Archives & Rare Books Library has added a new exhibit to its German Americana Collection and Urban Studies Collection web pages.  Gemutlikeit, Schnitzelbank, and Kitsch: German American Caricature in Vintage Postcards explores the creation and perpetuation of German American ethnic stereotypes through cartoon images found on popular postcards in the 20th century.  More than fifty cards illustrating a public view of a major ethnic group are included in the exhibit.

Through these images, the viewer can consider the validity of characteristics focused on beer, pretzels, sausages, dialect, and social manners.  Questions are also raised about the responsibility of German Americans themselves in carrying over these comic images from Europe, how the cards reflect political and ethnic divisions, and how scholars might develop lines of inquiry in researching German American history and culture.

The postcards cover topics from World War I and Prohibition to the Katzenjammer Kids, vaudeville, and the American version of Oktoberfest.  The exhibit can be viewed by clicking on

– Kevin Grace