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The following pages contain the names of 38 German-Americans mentioned in the video Off to New Shores: 300 Years of German Immigration to North America. Each of these persons made a significant contribution to the development of the United States.
The names are listed here in the order in which they are mentioned; however, not all persons mentioned are on your checklist. Please, check off each name as it is mentioned. This activity will help you prepare for the follow-up discussion and quiz.
Peter Minnewit (Peter Minuit) (1580-1638). In the service of the Netherlands he purchased Manhattan from the Indians in 1626 and became governor of New Netherlands.
Franz (Francis) Daniel Pastorius (1651-1720). Lawyer, commissioned in 1683 by a group of Frankfurt pietists, to negotiate the purchase of 25,000 acres of land from William Penn. Sailed on a ship called "America." The Frankfurt group together with thirteen families of Mennonite linen weavers from Krefeld followed on board the "Concord" (sometimes referred to as the "German Mayflower") and arrived in America on October 6, 1683. Together they founded the first German settlement in the new world at Germantown, Pennsylvania, which today is an economically depressed suburb of Philadelphia. Pastorius was their first mayor. In 1688 he drafted the first written protest against slavery in America.
Johann Conrad Weiser (1696-1760). Linguist who grew up with the Mohawk Indians. Negotiated peace treaties between warring Indian tribes and between warring red and white men.
David Zeisberger (1721-1808). Missionary who lived for many years with the Indians. He and his companions compiled the first grammar and dictionary of Indian languages.
Johann Conrad Beissel (1696-1768). One of many emigrants from the southwestern German territories known as the Palatinate. (Note: In the 17th and 18th centuries the word Palatine was synonymous with German in America.) Established a cloister for men and women at Ephrata in 1730, where countless settlers were prepared for a perilous life on the frontier. In 1740 the cloister installed a print shop; the German-language publication of the 1500-page book "Mirror of Martyrs," was an important mile stone in printing.
Thomas Mann (1875-1955). Author who fled to California during the Nazi period. Mentioned Beissel's noteworthy musical activity at Ephrata in his novel Dr. Faustus.
Christoph Saur (Christopher Sower) (1693-1758). Responsible for printing the first Bible in America in Germantown in 1743, a German-language edition that made it easier for immigrants to preserve their ethnic identity.
Michael Hillegas (1729-1804). Took over the office of treasurer shortly after the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence, thus becoming the first German-American official in the fledgling United States government.
Peter Mühlenberg (1746-1807). Pastor who, together with 300 of his parishioners, formed the Eighth Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War.
Emmanuel Leutze (1816-1868). Painter who became famous for his rendition of "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730-1794). Officer from the Prussian school of Friedrich the Great who turned a group of militia men and border guards into a crack troop and helped turn the tide of the Revolutionary War. He compiled the official manual containing the organizational principles of the U.S. military forces.
Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902). Painter, best known for his "Oregon Trail," and other paintings that captured the spirit of America's westward surge.
Johann (John) Jacob Astor (1763-1848). Fur trader and New York real estate investor who became the richest man in America.
Johann August Sutter (1803-1890). Early resident of California who worked for the annexation of this then-Mexican territory by the United States. When gold was found on his vast property, his workers left him and he was driven from his own land by the "Gold Rush." He lost a fortune.
Clement Studebaker (1831-1901). Last name originally Stuttenbecker. Head of family of successful wagon, carriage, and automobile manufacturers.
Friedrich Hecker (1811-1881). One of the organizers of the failed German Revolution of 1848. From his new home in Belleville, Ill., he helped found the Republican Party in the mid-1800s.
Carl Schurz (1829-1906). Another "Forty-eighter" who became a general in the American Civil War and was active in the early Republican Party. Contributed to the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and later became Secretary of the Interior in the Hayes administration.
Heinrich Hilgard (Henry Villard) (1835-1900). Railroad king who realized that the covered wagon's days were numbered. In 1883 his Northern Pacific Railway connected the east and west coasts. NOTE: The covered wagon was a Pennsylvania-German product, also known as the Conestoga wagon.
Thomas Nast (1840-1902). America's first political cartoonist who created the donkey and elephant symbols for the Democratic and Republican parties and is said to have invented the dollar sign. He created the image of the American Santa Claus we know today.
Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (Henry Steinway) (1797-1881). Organ builder who started a piano factory in New York with his sons in 1853. Today Steinway products represent the international standard for pianos.
Johann August Roebling (1806-1869). Conceived the idea of the suspension bridge. Designed the Brooklyn Bridge in New York in 1869.
Heinrich John Heinz (1844-1902). Giant in the food industry. Opened a pickle factory in 1869 in Sharpsburg, Pa. which was noted for humane working conditions.
Levi Strauss (c.1829-1902). Clothing manufacturer whose inspiration was to make durable work clothes from the sail cloth and denim from covered wagons.
Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899). Revolutionized printing technology by inventing Linotype, a more efficient and faster way of setting letters.
John Peter Zenger (1697-1746). Public printer in New York was brought to trial in 1735 for having made negative but true comments about a prominent politician of his day. His lawsuit was the first test case for freedom of the press.
Wilhelm (William) Weitling (1800-1871). Early labor leader in the USA, specifically in New York.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Nobel Prize-winning physicist who fled Nazi Germany in 1933. Developed an entirely new concept of the physical world.
Kurt Weill (1900-1950). Composer who fled Nazi Germany in 1935. Best-known work is the "Three Penny Opera, " text by Bertold Brecht. Husband of Lotte Lenya.
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992). Movie star who rejected lucrative offers from the Nazis and fled to Hollywood to continue her career. Her first great success in German film was "The Blue Angel" (1929).
Fritz Lang (1890-1976). Movie director who fled Nazi Germany in 1934. Most noted for psycho-thrillers such as "M" which starred Peter Lorre.
Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956). Painter who was born in the United States. He studied in Germany and returned to the USA in 1937. One of the world's great artists.
Walter Gropius (1883-1969). Founder of the school of design known as the "Dessau Bauhaus" in Germany. Fled to USA in 1938 and continued his work with the "New Bauhaus." Designed many important buildings, including New York's Pan Am Building atop Grand Central Station.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). Architect who was the last Dessau Bauhaus director before the Nazis closed it down in 1938 as "degenerate." With the philosophy "less is more," he changed the face of the Chicago skyline with his many buildings of steel and glass.
Wernher von Braun (1912-1977). German rocket scientist who came to the United States after World War II. Created preconditions which made flight to the moon possible.
Georg (George) Drumm (1874-1959). Composed "Hail America" in 1917, which was renamed "Hail to the Chief" in 1952, when it was first used by the Eisenhower Administration. It is played today to introduce the United States President at official functions.
Herbert Hoover (1874-1964). Ancestors were named Huber. United States president from 1929-1933.
Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969). World War II general and United States president from 1953-1960.
Henry (Heinz) Kissinger (1923- ). German-born statesman who left Nazi Germany in 1933 with his parents. Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
1. The reasons people from German-speaking countries left for America:
Historical events in Germany that led to several "waves" of German immigrants:
Reasons German-Americans were integrated into the predominantly Anglo population faster than other ethnic groups:
Areas in which German-Americans made significant contributions (as presented in the video):
What remains of German culture in a country in which approximately 25% of the population (more than 50 million people) claim some form of German ancestry?
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Updated: 16 November 2007, BAS
Comments to: IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, firstname.lastname@example.org
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