The Pennsylvania Germans

By Ralph Wood; Arthur D. Graeff et al. | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

THIS book tries to interpret the Pennsylvania Germans to their fellow Americans and to themselves, and to pull together a few loose ends of the web of Pennsylvania German research.

The writers of the various chapters have been free to write as they wished within the limits of the space allotted to them. The editor rewrote only where repetition was too obvious or where an author introduced too much encyclopedic detail. He was surprised to find that a common denominator developed spontaneously throughout all the chapters, namely, that the Pennsylvania German character was moulded by the fact that the Pennsylvania Germans were farmers practically and spiritually.

The book is not an encyclopedia of Pennsylvania German. Many familiar with the section will be irritated to find that we have not mentioned many of their favorite bits of "Dutch." Many just getting acquainted with the section will regret that we have omitted some things necessary for their understanding of this or that phase of Pennsylvania German history and life. We feel as badly as they do about some of the omitted material on the quaint customs, folklore, architecture, the role of the Pennsylvania Germans in the military history of America -- several pages would be needed even to note all that we might have discussed.

We can say in excuse that since we had to keep within the limit of a reasonable number of pages, we tried to use material which would best answer the question we set up for ourselves: Who are the Pennsylvania Germans, why are they what they are, and what is their place in America? Those who want more can find the material for themselves from the sources listed in the bibliographical index; particularly from The Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society and the publications of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society.

In the chapters on the "churches" and the "sects," "Parre" Musselman and the editor avoided writing from the purely

-vii-

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