Our rich history: Don Heinrich Tolzmann’s new book “Explorations of German Heritage” shares his expertise

By Paul A. Tenkotte
Special at NKyTribune

If you want to know more about a foreign nation, you visit it. If you want to learn to play tennis or golf, you head to a tennis court or golf course. And if you want to know more about Germans of German descent, you must read one of the many books by Dr Don Heinrich Tolzmann.

Tolzmann’s latest work is called German Heritage Explorations, published by the famous German-American Max Kade Center of the IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis). You can review the many activities of the Max Kade Center on its website.

Tolzmann’s book is a superb introduction to the full scope of German-American immigration to the United States. Its short and readable chapters come from documents already published. Sections are designed for the busy person in today’s 21st century world characterized by increasing responsibilities and limited reading time.

Explorations of German heritage begin with a glimpse, then quickly move on to explorations of the country’s first permanent all-German colony in Germantown, Pa. (Now part of Philadelphia), and Germans serving on both sides of the American Revolution. Tolzmann discusses the “German triangle” of colonization, with its points in Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Tolzmann’s in-depth knowledge of German Americans stems from his fluency in the German language and decades of experience translating numerous German travel and immigrant guides, as well as diaries, relating to the United States. United. His understanding of the role of German emigration societies is also central to his story.

Tolzmann has yet another advantage as a historian. He studied extensively the Lutheran, Reformed and Catholic religious traditions of Germany. For example, the Forced Prussian Church Union of 1817, between the Lutheran and Reformed denominations in northern Germany (Prussia), led to an exodus of German Protestants to the United States. Likewise, it includes a fascinating essay on the role of the German language in the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.

There are also essays on the forty-eight Germans, that is, the disappointed revolutionaries of the German-speaking regions of Europe who failed to achieve democracy in 1848. Although around 10,000 forty-eight Germans or less immigrated to the United States, a great political and cultural influence. The same goes for the Turners (Turnvereine), whose organizations dedicated to a “Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body” remain today in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, as well as across the country.

Tolzmann also takes us on several excursions, to places animated by Germanic Americana. They include New Ulm in Minnesota, the Carl Schurz Memorial in New York, Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Turner Hall in Newport, Ky., Main Strasse in Covington, Ky., And anti-German hysteria during the First World War. World in New York City.

Finally, Don Tolzmann is The Cincinnati area’s culinary treat expert we call goetta. Chapter 21 of his new book is based in part on his entry on goetta for the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, which is available for free online.

Tolzmann’s Explorations of German Heritage are available in bookstores, as well as on Amazon, where a Kindle edition is free for KindleUnlimited members.

For other articles by or about Tolzmann appearing in Our Rich History, see:

Don Heinrich Tolzmann, “The German Origins of Memorial Day Cincinnati — Here’s the Link”

Don Heinrich Tolzmann, “Singing a Song of Praise, a New Yorker Enthusiastically Writes in 1855 About Cincinnati”

Don Heinrich Tolzmann, “Charles Cist (1792-1868) was one of the first historians of Cincinnati, motivated by the love of the region”

Don Heinrich Tolzmann, “The First Christmas Tree in Cincinnati, Thanks to German Immigrant Dr Rehfuss”

Don Heinrich Tolzmann, “The spirit of our German heritage lives on through the Newport Turnverein closed in 1936”

Paul A. Tenkotte, “Tolzmann’s Book on Beer Baron John Hauck Reminds Us of Our Brewing Heritage”

Paul A. Tenkotte, “Turning 150 Years in Style — The Roebling Bridge and Don Heinrich Tolzmann’s New Book”

Paul A. Tenkotte, “New Book, PBS Documentary Brings National Attention to the John A. Roebling Bridge”

Paul A. Tenkotte, “New Book and New Events at RoeblingFest 2016 Celebrating the John A. Roebling Bridge”

We want to learn more about the history of your business, church, school, or organization in our area (Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and along the Ohio River). If you would like to share your rich history with others, please contact “Our Rich History” editor Paul A. Tenkotte at [email protected] Paul A. Tenkotte, PhD is professor of history at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) and author of numerous books and articles.