Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Arthur Preuss: Journalist and Voice of German and Conservative Catholics in America, 1871-1934

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Arthur Preuss: Journalist and Voice of German and Conservative Catholics in America, 1871-1934

Article excerpt

Arthur Preuss: Journalist and Voice of Geeman and Conservative Catholics in America, 1871-19-34. By Rory T. Conley. ["New German-American Studies/Neue Deutsch-Amerikanische Studien," Vol. 16.] (New York: Peter Lang. 1998. Pp. xii, 361. $58.95.)

Although a prominent figure on the Catholic journalistic scene from 1894 until his death in 1934, Arthur Preuss has been almost completely forgotten. This is the first book-length study, and its bibliography lists not a single article devoted to Preuss's career. Two reasons for this neglect can be suggested. First. his identification as a (German and a conservative tended, as we say nowadays, to marginalize Preuss; second, the daunting bulk of his journalistic outputforty volumes most of which he wrote himself-perhaps discouraged potential students. Happily, Rory T. Conley did not allow himself to become discouraged. His book provides a comprehensive account of Preuss's career and serves as an exhaustive guide to his writings, including newspaper editorials not previously known to be his.

Preuss launched his Review, (later known as Catholic Fortnightly) Review and Fortnightly Review) to serve as an English-language vehicle of conservative German Catholic opinion in the polemical battles of the 1890's. He is best known to historians for this phase of his career, since he played a prominent role in the much-studied controversies about "Americanism." Conley suggests that Preuss's ultramontanism, which he frankly avowed, was rooted in the German Catholics' Kulturtrnpf experience reinforced in the United States by these controversies in which religion and ethnicity were so deeply intertangled. That seems plausible enough, and there is no doubt that Preuss remained a fierce papal loyalist who inveighed against recurrent outcroppings of "liberalism" for the rest of his life. He was, of course, an anti-Modernist, and was among the first to affirm a direct connection between Americanism and Modernism, but Conley argues that he was not one of the extremists associated with Benigni's "Sodalitium Pianum:'

Although an early supporter of the American Federation of Catholic Societies, Preuss lost interest in the organization when it failed to develop into an American version of the German Center Party. …

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