German-American Resources at Penn State


By the time New Netherland became New York in 1664, as much as one-third of the population of the Dutch colony actually came from northern German towns and principalities. Seven years later, William Penn took his first journey through "Germany" encouraging people to come to his American colony to enjoy religious liberty and access to property.

sauer bible
1743 Saur Bible in the Rare Book Room of Pattee Library

The thirteen families who arrived at Philadelphia in October 1683 aboard the Concordia signaled the beginning of a new migration to North America from the German-speaking parts of Europe. A century later, about 101,900 German-speakers had made their home in British North America alone. Pennsylvania emerged as the center of a remarkably diversified collection of German-speaking regional cultures in North America.

Humanities Reading Room in the Pattee Library
Located near the geographic center of Pennsylvania, Penn State's University Park Campus includes the Pattee Library since its founding has emphasized the collecting of works pertaining to German-language documents and works in translation. The Allison Shelley Collection on Anglo-German literary and cultural relations, including German literature in English translation as well as German settlement and culture in Pennsylvania, is internationally recognized as a unique resource pertinent to the Institute's mission. The collection is housed in the University's Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection.  In 1997, the University also acquired the John A. Hostetler Papers , consisting of the research notes and observations of the world's preeminent authority on the Amish communities in North America. The Institute, along with the Pattee Library, continues to buy selectively to enhance the collection of original books, pamphlets, broadsides, and other primary source documents essential to scholarly research for the 1620-1820 period.  Important collections within the library are the Ammon Stapleton Collection and the new digital Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Broadsides Collection.

The Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures, established formally in 1901 as the Department of German, cooperates via the Max Kade Institute with the departments of History, Comparative Literature, English, Philosophy, Jewish Studies and Religious Studies Program in promoting interdisciplinary teaching and research at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral level into German literature, philology, history, and both secular and religious culture.

old main
Old Main at the Pennsylvania State University
Penn State has numbered among its faculty prominent scholars who received their training at universities in German-speaking countries. One of the nation's Research I institutions, and a member of the Big Ten consortium of research universities, Penn State has a long tradition of student and academic exchanges with German universities.