October is German-American Heritage Month, and there could not be a better time to explore ARB’s German-Americana collection. The German-Americana Collection is one of the nation’s largest collections pertaining to German-American history, literature and culture, and is located in the Archives and Rare Books Library in Blegen Library. In 1935, the University of Cincinnati acquired the seed collection for what is today’s German-Americana collection with the library of H.H. Fick. Fick, a German immigrant and a former teacher with the Cincinnati Public Schools, spent his final years collecting books and pamphlets on German-American history and culture. The donation also contained Fick’s own writings and autobiography.
The original collection has grown to include archival and manuscript material, newspapers, journals, photographs, almanacs, and even cookbooks, and provides information on Germans in both Cincinnati and throughout the Americas. A recent large addition to the collection was the library and papers of Robert E. Cazden, an expert in the German-American book trade and a former professor at the University of Kentucky.
The German-Americana collection is useful for research in German-American literature, history, and even genealogy. The collection includes the records of Cincinnati churches including the Third German Protestant Church, St. John’s Unitarian Church, and St. Paul’s German Evangelical Church. In addition, the publications of the Der Deutsche Pionier-Verein are heavily used by both genealogists and scholars. The Deutsche Pionier-Verein von Cincinnati was founded in 1868 with the goal of preserving and promoting the history of the German pioneers of Cincinnati. The society published Der Deutsche Pionier from 1869 until 1887 which contains information on local history, church history, biographies of local German-Americans, essays on German culture, and poetry.
If you are interested in seeing if the German-American collection contains something related to your topic of research, the published material (books, journals, newspapers) are cataloged in UC’s online catalog UCLID. Be sure to limit your search by location to Archives and Rare Books Library for the most accurate results. The archival materials are listed on ARB’s website. Finding aids are also available through the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository. If you’re unable to come to the Archives and Rare Books Library, take a look at our online exhibits or our blog posts, to see more images from this collection.