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German Monuments in the Americas

Bonds across the Atlantic


Hans A. Pohlsander

This book looks at the many transatlantic bonds which have linked and still link Germany and the United States. German immigrants to the Americas brought with them a good deal of cultural baggage. They cultivated their German heritage in their schools, churches, and clubs. They expressed pride in this heritage by erecting monuments to Goethe or Schiller, Beethoven or Wagner, Alexander von Humboldt or «Turnvater» Jahn. They claimed Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Carl Schurz, Gustave Koerner, and John A. Roebling as their own. But German-born or German-trained sculptors did not limit themselves to German subjects. They also paid tribute to America by creating sculptures of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and others who occupy a place of honor in American history. While a few German monuments can be found in Canada and in Latin America, the number of German monuments in the United States is surprisingly large. These monuments illustrate the contribution – often overlooked or ignored – of the German-American community to American society and American cultural life.
Contents: The Pioneers – The American Revolution – The Forty-eighters and the Civil War – Leaders in Business, the Arts, and Government – The German Heritage – The German Heritage, Continued – Tribute to America – Religious and Decorative Sculpture – German Monuments in Latin America