After much trial and error, I have finally found the best paper on which to print the Hilgenberg Archive booklets. This booklet was designed, printed, and folded by yours truly and I couldn’t be happier with the reactions I am receiving when I show them to my colleagues. The concept for the booklets developed as I was thinking about the types of materials to mail to German Heritage groups throughout the US.

In the packets, I include a letter, an article written by Fred Rasmussen of the Baltimore Sun, history of Der Deutsche Correspondent and Frederick Raine, and an article I wrote in 2009 introducing the archive to our members. I wanted something that each person who received a packet would actually want to keep and look at more than once. Channeling what I learned in my printmaking classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I decided to create a booklet that did not require binding or stapling. The “chapters” inside the booklet consist of:

I. Assessing the Collection
II. Identifying the Digital Vendor
III. Scanning Der Deutsche Correspondent
IV. Post-production
V. Future Steps: Optical Character Recognition and Indexing
VI. Sustaining the Hilgenberg Archive; Partnering for the Future
Verso: How to get involved

When completely unfolded, the booklet turns into a poster:

The purpose of the booklets is to inform those interested how an archive of this magnitude is digitized, steps that need to be taken in order to make it available to the public, and why we need additional funding. I plan on making these booklets available at the MdHS front desk in case you are in the area and would like one.


I have been kept very busy in the Department of Imaging Services at the Maryland Historical Society. We are gearing up for three new exhibitions (Civil War, War of 1812, and historic fashion accessories), launching our new web site, involving ourselves with more collaborations, publications, patron requests etc. Nevertheless, the Hilgenberg Archive continues to be on my mind.

In an attempt to create national interest in the Hilgenberg Archive, I have identified some key German History groups throughout the United States in order to send information about the Hilgenberg Archive to their members. I certainly have yet to discover all of the wonderful groups that celebrate and educate the public about German history. If you would like to contribute to my mailing list, please leave a comment here!

Meanwhile, we are continuing our search for grants that will help support the next steps for the Hilgenberg Archive (which will result in public access). We have partnered with Loyola University Maryland in our search for additional funding. With Loyola’s strong German program and Der Deutsche Correspondent‘s richness in German history, we believe this partnership will benefit both parties profusely.

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:

This Saturday (January 23), Maryland Historical Society will be celebrating the Charles Edward Hilgenberg Archive from 4p-6p. A volume of Der Deutsche Correspondent will be on view (under glass) at the reception and we will speak briefly about how the project came to fruition and future steps. It also happens to be the late Mr. Charles Edward Hilgenberg’s 100th birthday on the 23rd! A very nice coincidence and we are happy to honor him on that day as well. This celebration is free and open to the public.

Also on display will be a flow chart of how we have been building a digital archive of Der Deutsche Correspondent.
The steps included in the flowchart are as follows:
I. Assessing the Collection
II. Identifying the Digital Vendor
III. Scanning Der Deutsche Correspondent
IV. Post-production
V. Future Steps: Optical Character Recognition