Germanists Discussion Group Minutes – 2008 Midwinter

ALA Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia

Sunday, January 13, 2008
10:30am – 12:30pm
German Society of Pennsylvania, 611 Spring St., Philadelphia


  • Gordon Anderson
  • Judy Alspach, CRL
  • Claudia Alcala Iniguez
  • Anna Bjartmarsdottir Sveinbjornsson
  • Martha Brantigan-Stowell
  • Ulrike Engel, Saur Verlag Munchen
  • Frank Geniese, GSP
  • Rowena Griem
  • Richard Hacken
  • Sebastian Hierl
  • Gail Hueting
  • Thea Lindquist
  • Heidi Madden
  • Jon Marner
  • Jim Niessen
  • Heleni Pedersoli
  • Kathleen Smith, UIUC Doctoral Student – German
  • Anna Shparberg
  • Anne Oechtering
  • Louis John Reith
  • Michael Rissinger, Pew Charitable Trust
  • Timothy Shipe
  • Cason Snow
  • Rom Steensma, Coutts
  • Sem Sutter
  • Kizer Walker


I. Introductions and Announcements

  • Kizer Walker announced a new collaboration between Cornell Library and Cornell University Press: Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought. Editor is Peter Hohendahl; Managing editor is Kizer Walker.
  • KW received a request for information from Grant Harris, Library of Congress: he is looking for librarians with knowledge of the Dutch component of the Farmington Plan. Contact KW if you can provide any detail.
  • Topics for ALA Annual – under the general topic of current trends and issues in academic publishing:
  • Frankfurter Buchmesse: if you are planning to go, and you are interesting in coordinating activities, contact

II. Discussion Group Business

  • Heidi Madden will serve as GDG Secretary/Chair-elect for 2008-2009.

III. German Society of Pennsylvania

  • Welcoming Remarks — Hardy von Auenmueller, President, German Society of Pennsylvania
  • “German American Studies: The Horner Library as a Resource” — Professor Frank Trommler, University of Pennsylvania
    • A summary of the basic Horner Library facts
    • Horner Library provided literature for immigrants who wanted to learn English; Horner also provided leisure reading and literature in German – the collection includes both canonical and popular literature (“Trivialliteratur”). A complete description is at URL below – though this description cannot substitute for visiting the library itself. It is a beautiful space – see pictures.
      • See also:
      • Frank Trommler. “The Library of the German Society of Pennsylvania and its Consolidation under Oswald Seidensticker.” Atlantic understandings: Essays on European and American history in Honor of Hermann Wellenreuther. Ed. Claudia Schnurmann and Hartmut Lehmann. Hamburg: Lit and New Brunswick: Transaction, 2006. 299-315.
      • Reference Guide 20
      • Kevin Ostoyich. The German Society of Pennsylvania: A Guide to its Books and Manuscript Collections. Washington, DC : German Historical Institute, 2006.
  • Report: “Tracking Down an Immigrant Family with the Help of the Horner Library” — Jim Niessen, Rutgers University Libraries
  • Horner Library is not your first stop for tracing your ancestors; you are referred to the following resources for that purpose: The society was founded as a charity organization for new immigrants. Aside from food, clothing and English lessons, etc., the society also provided an employment service. The records of this service are intact: the books list name, occupation and place of origin – not “Germany” but Bavaria, Rhineland, etc. Jim Niessen was able to look up a relative with records from 1894. Horner Special Collections are an unknown treasure trove of information.
  • Tour of the Horner Memorial Library
    • Although Dr. Friederike Baer, the Horner’s Special Collections Librarian, was unable to attend the meeting, GDG members had the opportunity to view the collections, including an 18th-century edition by Francis Daniel Pastorius, founder of the first German settlement in North America.

Minutes submitted by Heidi Madden.