Emil Doernenburg collection of First World War ephemera
Held at: German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library [Contact Us]611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Emil Doernenburg was born in Langenberg, Westphalia, in 1880. He studied in Berlin and Bonn, in the fields of German language and literature, and English language and literature. He emigrated to the United States in 1903. Around the same time, either just before or after his emigration, Doernenburg married Elfriede König, who was also born in Germany. The couple had two daughters, Elsie and Isolde. Emil Doernenburg was naturalized as an American citizen in 1908.
It is not known whether or not Doernenburg obtained a degree in Germany; however, after his arrival in the United States he pursued further studies in German literature, completing his Master's in 1908, at Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. in 1919, at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1911 Doernenburg was appointed assistant professor of German at Ohio University, where he remained until 1917, advancing to the rank of professor. In 1918 he was forced to resign when German was dropped from the curriculum due to the anti-German feelings of the times. After leaving Ohio he and his family lived for a short time in Washington, D.C. In 1919 they moved to Philadelphia, where Emil Doernenburg assumed a position as professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania. He remained there until 1930, and then taught at La Salle College (today known as La Salle University), from 1931 to 1933. Aside from his academic work Doernenburg was also a published poet, writing in German.
Doernenburg joined the German Society of Pennsylvania in either 1919 or 1920. In 1920-1921 he served on the Library Committee; and in 1923-1924 he served as the chair of the Archive Committee. The latter committee collected and preserved materials documenting German-American history and culture, forming what later became known as the library's German American Collection.
Emil Doernenburg died in Philadelphia in 1935.
Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon: biographisch-bibliographisches Handbuch. Begründet von Wilhelm Kosch. 3. Aufl. Bern: Francke Verlag, 1968-2010. 30 vols. Biographical entry on Emil Doernenburg, vol. 3, col. 408.
Thomas, Barry G. "Ohio University, the Department of Modern Languages : A Bicentennial History, 1804-2004." Published on the World Wide Web, http://modlang.ohio.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/DML-History.pdf. Accessed August 17, 2012.
Ward, Robert E., A bio-bibliography of German-American writers, 1670-1970 (White Plains, N.Y.: Krauss International Publications, c1985). Biographical entry on Emil Doernenburg, p. 64.
The collection includes 66 items of printed ephemera related to the First World War, nearly all produced by Germans, dating from 1914 to 1920. The majority of the items date from the war period; all of these items either address military personnel or are related to the civilian war effort. Only seven items date from the postwar period (Series VI), including three items related to the Kapp Putsch. With the exception of two items, all of the items in the collection were produced either in Germany, or in places occupied by Germany during the war. The two exceptions are a flier addressed to German soldiers that, according to a handwritten note, was distributed from planes flying from France in 1916 (Item 2); and a broadside produced in postwar Danzig (Gdansk, Poland; Item 61).
Fliers, broadsides, and posters account for most of the items. Among items of more than one leaf are nine individual issues of newspapers (Series II), one pamphlet (Item 31), and two four-page leaflets (Items 33 and 44). Included are five numbers of a series of fliers that appeared in Dortmund under the title Eiserne Blätter (Items 38 to 43).
Approximately one third of the items were intended to address German soldiers or other military personnel, including general ephemera (Series I) and newspapers (Series II). The newspapers are mostly military publications, including several issues of the Liller Kriegszeitung, produced in Lille, France (Items 18-21), three of them with an illustrated supplement; and one newspaper produced in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Scottland (Item 16). One item is a newspaper for soldiers published by the Lutheran Church in Schleswig-Holstein (Item 11).
Other items specific to a certain geographic location include nine items related to German-occupied territories (Series III), some of them public notices for posting in Libau (Leipaja, Latvia; Items 25-28), in German and Latvian; and in Brussels (Items 29 and 30), in German, Dutch (Flemish) and French. There are also nine items intended for display or use in Hamburg (Items 1, 53, 54, 57, 59, 62-64), including two related to the Hamburg branch of the German Red Cross (Items 1 and 59), two promoting the Hamburg Opfertag (day of sacrifice; Items 53 and 54), and a public notice concerning registration for the draft (Item 55). Related to other localties are a pastoral letter of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and other German bishops, addressed to German soldiers returning to Cologne (Item 5); a broadside giving the text of Emperor Wilhelm's speech at the Krupp works in Essen (Item 49); a flier relating to jewel-and-gold buying week in the province of Posen (Item 50); and a poster/flier distributed by the Pfullingen branch of the Stuttgart-based company Stahl und Federer Aktiengesellschaft (Item 58).
The collection contains 17 items that are illustrated (nine using color to some extent), including three pictorial broadsides consisting of satirical color drawings in panels, with rhymed captions (Items 47, 48, 51); six posters (Items 53, 54, 57-59, 66); two illustrated broadsides (Items 36 and 45); two illustrated leaflets (Items 33 and 44); and four illustrated newspapers (Items 11, 17, 20, 21). One playbill has an artistically designed head (Item 24).
A mention of Emil Doernenburg's donation of this collection to the Archives of the German Society of Pennsylvania is found in the minutes of the GSP Archive Committee of 29 April 1922. No information could be found about how the collection came to be assembled. All of the items except one bear the personal stamp of Doernenburg; the one that does not (Item 66) was found together with the others and seemed alike enough in nature that it was presumed to have been part of the donation (it is from postwar Hamburg, as are several other items). Doernenburg traveled to Germany several times in the mid to late 1920s; however, no evidence could be found of his making a trip there between March 1920 (the latest dated item) and the time of the donation, in April 1922.
In the present processing, the items in the collection have been organized into broad categories, beginning with several groupings related to the German military: Series I and II comprise items that address military personnel, either in the form of broadsides, handbills, or fliers (Series I) or in newspapers by and/or for the military (Series II). Series III contains items related to the German military presence in German-occupied territories. Of the remaining wartime ephemera, Series IV gathers together items from late in the war that refer to and comment upon the peace overtures made by Germany and its allies (the Central Powers), especially the peace note of Emperor Wilhelm II of 12 December 1916. (Three additional items that refer to the peace offer are addressed specifically to German soldiers, and are found in Series I.) Series V comprises all other remaining wartime ephemera. Series VI contains items dating from the postwar period.
For reasons of clarity, given the variations in format, Series II to VI are subdivided into two or three general groupings according to size: smaller format; larger format; oversize.
The item descriptions include mention of illustrations, color printing or color paper, if present; and note author, artist, editor, publisher, and/or printer, to whatever extent attributions are given on the item itself. At the end of each description the number of leaves or pages is noted (in the case of items of only one leaf, the note "printed both sides" is added if applicable), followed by the dimensions in parentheses (height x width).
Gift of Emil Doernenburg, 1922
- World War, 1914-1918--Caricatures and cartoons
- World War, 1914-1918--Humor
- World War, 1914-1918--Propaganda
- World War, 1914-1918--Public opinion
- World War, 1914-1918--War work
- German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz
- Finding Aid Date
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Max Kade Foundation, as part of the grant project "Retrieval and Cataloging of the German-American Experience, 1918-1960."
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the German Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
See also three broadsides in Series I, addressed to German soldiers: Item 3, "Soldaten!" 12 December 1916; Item 4, "Was der Feind will!" ; and Item 10, "Es geht ums Leben," circa October 1918.