Germanists Discussion Group Minutes – 2007 Annual

ALA Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


  • Tim Shipe, Chair, University of Iowa


  • Attendance at the meeting was 29, not including our hosts.


I. Welcome and Introductions

  • This summer’s Discussion Group meeting was held at the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, DC, and was co-hosted by GHI and Franz Steiner Verlag of Stuttgart.
    • GHI is housed in the historic “Second Blair House” near Dupont Circle; besides the lovely surroundings, participants were greeted with a generous refreshment table provided by the hosts.
  • After brief introductions by Discussion Group chair Tim Shipe, GHI’s acting director Dr. Gisela Mettele welcomed the group and provided an overview of the Institute’s mission and activities.
    • GHI was established in 1987 and today is governed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Funding comes primarily from the German Federal Government, but there is also some German foundation support.
    • Through its publications, research library, and fellowship programs, the Institute promotes historical research in the US and Germany on German topics. Areas of particular emphasis include: transatlantic studies; German-American studies; international relations; and environmental history.
    • The Institute provides support for young scholars with short- and longer-term fellowships for archival work, and offers archival courses in Germany.

Discussion Group Business

  • Announcements
    • Dick Hacken (Brigham Young) announced a project of the Collection Development Working Group of GNARP (German-North American Resources Partnership) to inventory historical holdings of German-language newspapers in North American libraries. A wiki has been set up at
    • North American institutions are encouraged to add relevant holdings.
    • Beth Remak-Honnef (UC Santa Cruz) announced that a search is underway at UCSC for an AUL for Public Services (
    • A search for a new AUL for Scholarly Resources at Brown University Library ( was also announced.
    • Two major medieval bibliographies — Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index and International Medieval Bibliography — are in need of indexers for German material.
  • Midwinter 08 Program
    • Incoming Discussion Group chair, Kizer Walker (Cornell) reported that Prof. Frank Trommler (German Studies, U Penn) has agreed to speak at our January meeting in Philadelphia on resources for Pennsylvania German studies.
      • Trommler has recently taken a lead role in reopening the Horner Library at Philadelphia’s German Society of Pennsylvania. On Trommler’s suggestion, the German Society has invited the WESS Germanists to hold our meeting at the Horner Library, and has offered to hire a bus to get us there. Discussion Group members in attendance in Washington enthusiastically accepted the offer, and Kizer has since confirmed with Prof. Trommler.
    • Note that our hosts in Washington have recently published two titles (available in print and free of charge online) on the German Society of Pennsylvania and its library:
    • Kevin Ostoyich, The German Society of Pennsylvania – A Guide to Its Book and Manuscript Collections (Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 2006). Reference Guide 20.
    • Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity matters: A History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 2006).
  • Main Program
    • GHI Library
      • GHI’s librarian, Katharina Kloock, who has recently come to the Institute from the library of the Anglo-American Studies program at the University of Cologne, gave an overview of GHI’s library. Non-circulating holdings of ~40,000 books and microforms and more than 250 serial subscriptions are open to the public for on-site research. Collection strengths include German history, German-American relations, and German-Americana. Plans are underway to add GHI holdings to WorldCat in the near future. Ms. Kloock led a tour of the Institute’s library at the end of the program.
    • GHI Publications
      • David Lazar, senior editor in GHI’s publishing program, outlined the Institute’s diverse activities in this area. The GHI Bulletin and annual Bulletin Supplement ( publish collected essays and conference papers, GHI research reports, conference summaries, etc. The Institute brings out a series of Reference Guides to historical research on German and German-American topics ( Note that GHI is interested in input on possible topics for new Reference Guides. The Bulletin, the Reference Guides, and a number of occasional publications are available from the Institute free of charge in print and, in the case of recent volumes, also as downloadable PDFs.
      • GHI also collaborates with university presses and commercial scholarly publishers in bringing out three book series — Publications of the GHI (with Cambridge UP), Transatlantische Historische Studien (with Franz Steiner Verlag), and GHI Studies in German History (with Berghahn) — as well as books in thematic areas, such as environmental history, which are published in collaboration with various other presses (
      • In addition to its traditional publications, GHI is currently preparing a website for “German History in Documents and Images” (
    • Franz Steiner Verlag
      • Dr. Thomas Schaber, Franz Steiner Verlag’s managing director, described the press’s publishing profile, its history, and its collaboration with GHI. Based in Stuttgart, Steiner publishes in several areas in the humanities and social sciences; the press is home to 150 book series and 28 journals; around 200 new books are brought out each year. Steiner’s primary areas of emphasis are Ancient History / Classical Studies (they publish the distinguished journals Historia and Hermes) and Social History (the Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte is a notable Steiner title). Dr. Schaber stressed that Steiner Verlag does not remainder its books — the backlist is kept in stock.
      • One of the first West German presses to receive a license from the Allies to publish after the Second World War, the company was founded in 1949 by the printer Franz Steiner. Today, Steiner is part of Verlagsgruppe Deutscher Apotheker Verlag, which also includes Hirzel Verlag, original home of the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch and distributor of the ongoing revised edition.
      • Steiner Verlag co-publishes the series Transatlantische Historische Studien with the GHI. Steiner also has an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz and has co-published a number of titles with the Akademie.

Minutes submitted by Kizer Walker, WESS Secretary, Cornell University