Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center

As President of National Palatines to America, I was invited to attend the fall board meeting of the Pennsylvania Chapter of PalAm.  Doris Glick, the current President of that Chapter issued the invitation, and fortunately I was free on that Saturday, 8 September.  The Pennsylvania Chapter had recently undergone a change in officers, and they thought I might be able to help answer some of their questions.  I was happy to be able to join them.

The meeting took place on the campus of Kutztown University, at the library of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, which is a non-profit organization.   As part of the Kutztown University community, it serves to enhance the Pennsylvania German Studies Program at the University.    
The library in which we met is housed in a small modern building in a cluster of other buildings that include the Sharadin Farmhouse, a Pennsylvania German Bank Barn and the Freyberger One Room Schoolhouse.  Lucy Kern, the Secretary for the Pennsylvania Chapter, is also the librarian at the library, and Doris Glick is a volunteer staff member.

My initial reaction when I walked into the building was that it was small.  However when I walked into the room where the books where housed, I was impressed by the amount of material that filled the wall to wall shelving.  On the shelves were transcripts of church records for a large enough number of churches that it took several shelving units to hold them.  It also included the Germans to America from 1840 to 1897, and many other books. If you are researching German ancestors who settled in Pennsylvania, this would  be a good place to visit. Perhaps a picture would say more than all my words.

The University had given the Pennsylvania Chapter access to the library for its board meeting, but has also generously allowed them to hold their Fall 2012 Conference in the University’s Academic Forum.  The conference will be held on Saturday, October 6, beginning with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.  You can find more information on the conference by going to the Palatines to America web-site,, and navigating to the Pennsylvania Chapter’s page.  You will find the registration form to print out and mail in.  I plan to be at the conference, and I encourage others to attend what promises to be a fine one-day conference.

As a reminder, I am still looking for a speaker for the 2013 PalAm National in Albany, who can address the topic of the Germans of Pennsylvania.  If anyone knows of such a speaker, send me the name and contact information.

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