Thursday, November 29, 2007

German Newspapers in Sandusky

Some of you may not know that there once was a large, active German community in Sandusky, one large enough to support German-language newspapers. Many native Germans migrated to the United States in the nineteenth century; some chose Sandusky (and many other midwestern towns) as their point of settlement. Ernst von Schulenberg's book about the German influence in Sandusky (written in German, and translated into English as Sandusky: Then and Now) claims that there were about 300 German-speaking people in Sandusky by the 1830s -- out of a total population of about 1000.

In 1851, the first German-language newspaper in Sandusky began publication. The Intelligenz-Blatt was founded by Herman Ruess (left) and August Ruemmele (right). By 1860, the newspaper had ceased publication.
Another German newspaper began publication in Sandusky in 1856. Founded as the Baystadt Demokrat ("Bay City Democrat"), the newspaper later called the Sandusky Demokrat operated until 1919, when anti-German pressure as a result of World War I forced the paper out of business. (During the war, German-language publications were required to seek a government permit to publish; additionally, popular sentiment made it difficult to support German heritage at that time.)

These newspapers help us to understand a part of our culture that no longer exists. Unfortunately, the Sandusky Library has very few copies of these newspapers, and there does not appear to be a complete run of these newspapers in any public institution. Could there be copies of these newspapers in your attic, or in some other storage place? If you find any of these newspapers, please consider donating them to the Sandusky Library, or loaning them for microfilming, so that we might preserve our city's heritage.


klkatz said...

Sandusky appears to be a town rich with stories. I love what you do with them. And the primary source documents are priceless.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a list of German language newspapers currently in print in Ohio. If you know of any, can you contact me? My name is Jarrett Dunbar, and I'm a Public Information Officer at the Ohio Department of Insurance. My number is 614-644-2475.


Andrew said...

I think an important sidenote to the story regarding the founding of the first German language newspaper is the fact that Hermann Ruess and August Ruemmele were brothers-in-law. Hermann was married to August's sister Wilhelmina "Minnie"