Hilgenberg Reception Recap & Article in The Baltimore Sun

The German Heritage Open House/Hilgenberg Archive Reception went swimmingly! I could not have asked for a better turnout. Everyone I spoke with (I tried to make it around the room and speak to as many people as I could) had some sort of connection to the paper in one way or another or was deeply interested in the project. The speakers consisted of Burt Kummerow (MdHS Interim Director), Mr. John Hilgenberg (Project Founder), Francis O’Neill (MdHS Reference Librarian), Dr. Gary Ruppert (Award Winning Genealogist and Author), and myself, Project Manager. Burt expressed his enthusiasm for the amount of people in attendance and spoke of his own German background. Mr. Hilgenberg spoke about how the project came to fruition and made it known that we were not only celebrating the archive on January 23rd, but we were also celebrating what would have been Mr. Charles E. Hilgenberg’s 100th birthday! Francis and Gary spoke to the importance of newspapers being available to the public. Gary also spoke specifically about his book, which is a two volume book titled, The German Correspondent, Baltimore, Maryland: Translation and Transcription of Marriages, Deaths and Selected Articles of Genealogical Interest, 1879-1883, in which he worked directly with  Der Deutsche Correspondent newspaper. I spoke about the technical side of the archive – where we are now, the next steps (being OCR), and indexing so that  the digital files will be searchable online. Our ultimate goal is to provide a digital archive that is completely searchable so that you can find a family name or business name, article, etc. that is as specific or general as you would like it to be.

Here are a few photographs that I was able to take with my phone before the reception began. Regretfully, I did not get to take any pictures during the reception. So if you were able to attend and have any photographs, I would very much appreciate it if I could view them!

This is one of the display cases that presented prospective collections to be included in the German Heritage Archive in the future.
Upper Left: PP164 – Germania Maennechor Album, 1865. This is a one album, 50 carte de visite photograph collection. The Germania Maennerchor (Men’s Choir) was established in circa 1870, with quarters first on West Lombard Street and later on North Howard Street. The choir was one of 40 German-singing societies in Baltimore in 1890, part of a lively and prominent German culture in Baltimore during the last part of the 19th Century and early 20th Centuries. Studio portraits by H. Merz of New York, identified on verso with man’s name. Some also contain man’s vocal range.
Bottom Left: MS 2550 – German Catholic Prayer Book, 1818. This prayer book was written by Johann Friedrich Feurich from Saxony, Johnsdorf near Zittau. The English translation of the title is: “Prayer and Edification Book for Catholics Who Love a Pure Ingenious Worship.” This handwritten and hand illuminated prayer book, written in German, contains morning, evening, and special prayers. Of particular importance are the beautiful hand illustrated titles and drawings.
Right: MS 1493 – Louis P. Henninghausen Collection of Essays, 1868-early 20th Century. This collection of essays mostly concerning the Germans in North America and Maryland was written by L.P. Henninghausen for various publications. Henninghausen presents the role of the Germans in politics, education, and other phases of life in Maryland. About one half of the collection is written in German.

At the entrance of the France-Merrick Room of the Maryland Historical Society, I placed three Hilgenberg Family photographs. As I said before, we were not only celebrating the archive, but we were celebrating Mr. Charles E. Hilgenberg as well.

Our Counting Room Suite

And finally, here is a link to Fred Rasmussen’s article (Jan. 24, 2010)  in The Baltimore Sun on the Hilgenberg Archive: http://bit.ly/5N4oCT

  1. I’m especially interested in seeing the images of the Germania Maennechor Album, 1865. Once there were well over 50 German-American singing groups in Baltimore. Now, there is but one – the Arion Gesangverein. Created in 1850 it still possesses a ton of wealth within its archive. Might this treasure trove perhaps be a candidate for digitization itself?

    Old Dirty Shirt
    Der Wecker
    German American Discussion Forum
    Baltimore-Washington Corridor

    • Yes, this collection has been proposed for digitization, although we are unsure of when funding will become available to do so. However, if you are within driving distance to MdHS, you could certainly visit with our Special Collections Department and take a look at the album itself. We are open Thursday through Saturday from 10a until 5p.

      Thank you for your interest!



  2. David T. Hillgenberg said:

    Doing research, I just happened on this site and wondering if there is any connection to my family. The only difference is in the spelling. Which I spell Hillgenberg. Any information would be appreciated.

    • Mr. Hillgenberg, have you traced your genealogy? This might help in making a determination.

      Thanks for your comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: