Erich Uhlenbrock papers
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
Erich Uhlenbrock was born in the German city of Hilden, which is 10 miles east of the city of Düsseldorf, on July 1, 1907. In 1929, at age 22, he emigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen on January 12, 1938. Uhlenbrock worked as a machinist in the Maintenance Department of the Philadelphia plant of DuPont from the 1930s until retiring in 1970. In 1932 he married Hilda M. Rest in Philadelphia. She was born in Germany, in 1904, and became a naturalized American citizen on November 15, 1945. Together they had two children, Erich C. and Margaret H. The family lived at 418 W. Raymond Street in Philadelphia at least into 1956. Before 1962, they had moved to 43 N. Lakeside Drive, Medford New Jersey. On September 8, 1962, Hilda Uhlenbrock died and was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, outside of Philadelphia. Erich Uhlenbrock later remarried. By 1972 he was living at 22 N. Lakeside Drive, Medford New Jersey.
One of Uhlenbrock’s passions was for singing and he was a member of several singing organizations. For 25 years, he was president of the Liedertafel-Saengerbund. He was a singer with the Franklinville Quartett Club, honorary director of the Schwarzwald Quartett Club and was also one of three Founders of the German-American Jugend and Kinderchor, along with Jacob Esslinger and Mrs. Berger. Erich sang second bass in the Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia (United Singers of Philadelphia, an umbrella organization of various singing societies), a group he was a member of since 1946. In 1951, he became a trustee, Honorary Vice President, and board member. He was one of four members who, in May 1956, began planning for the group to attend the 14th German Sängerfest, which was held in Stuttgart, Germany, from August 2nd to 5th 1956. Four airplanes were chartered for all group members to attend. The Sängerfest was held at the Neckarstadion and, according to Uhlenbrock’s written account, was a great success for the singers from Philadelphia. He became director of the Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia in 1958. In 1985, he was awarded the Goldenen Ehrennadel for 50 years of membership in the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, a regional association of singing societies.
Uhlenbrocks’s 1956 trip to Germany with the United Singers was only part of a six week vacation to Europe with his wife. After the Saengerfest was over he, along with his wife, visited Mayor Hauser of Krefeld Germany where Eric, as co-chairman of the Pastorius Celebration Committee (Francis Daniel Pastorius having been the leader of the first German settlers in America, who came from Krefeld and founded Germantown in 1683), delivered a letter of greetings on behalf of the Historical Society of Germanton. Then he and his wife traveled to Ulm, Munich, Steingaden, and Obergammergau in Germany, then crossed over the border into Austria to visit Innsbruck and Tyrol before crossing back to Fredrichshafen, Germany. From there they went to Meersburg, Switzerland, and then back to Germany on their way to Bad Homburg, Bingen, Koblenz, Rudesheim and Heidelberg before ending back in Stuttgart. From there they rented a car and traveled to Hilden for a much anticipated reunion with his family, whom he had not seen since leaving for America in 1929.
From 1950 to 1956 Uhlenbrock was a member of a soccer group that introduced soccer to the United States. In 1955, he was involved in organizing an international soccer game at LaSalle Stadium in Philadelphia between FC Nuremburg (from Germany) and the Philadelphia All-Stars (a team made up of the best players from Philadelphia). The game was held on May 15th.
Uhlenbrock was an active member of the Steuben Society of America, and its Philadelphia branch, the Pastorius Unit No. 38, for many years. At one point, he was Vice Chairman of that organization. In 1958, he served as co-chairman on the Pastorius Day Celebration Committee. After retiring in 1970, he suggested and began organizing a parade for Steuben Day, which he continued to help organize until 1975. Afterwards he was honorary Chairman of the Steuben Day Parade. In 1985, he wrote a history of the Steuben Day Parade that was eventually published in the book Invisible Philadelphia: community through voluntary organizations (compiled and edited by Jean Barth Toll and Mildred S. Gillam; Philadelphia, PA: Atwater Kent Museum, c1995).
For more than 40 years, Uhlenbrock was good friends with the Philadelphia painter and illustrator Conrad J. Linke, who was also very involved in many German-American organizations and events. For his friend Erich, Linke created the painting “Steuben Accepting Cornwallis’ First Surrender at Yorktown, October 17, 1781,” which depicts the Prussian General Baron von Steuben accepting the surrender of the British General during America’s War for Independence. In 1985, Uhlenbrock decided to donate the painting to the newly created Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation for their museum in Virginia. Also, in 1969, Linke created the painting “The First Anti-Slavery Protest” depicting Franz Daniel Pastorius, in 1688, registering the first public protest against slavery. The original of this painting was donated to the Freedom Foundation in Valley Forge Pennsylvania and a copy was given to Uhlenbrock. In 1988, on the 300th Anniversary of this first public anti-slavery protest, he donated this copy to the City of Philadelphia and it was accepted in a ceremony at City Hall by Mayor W. Wilson Goode.
In addition, Uhlenbrock was also a member of the German-American organizations Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, Kolping Society, German-American Police of Philadelphia, German-American Police of South Jersey, and Hermanns-Loge of Philadelphia, a Masonic Lodge.
After retirement Uhlenbrock was Vice President of Senior Citizens of Medford New Jersey and an executive member of the board of the Forever Young Club, Retired Employees of DuPont Co. In 1989, due to the illness of his second wife, he moved to Paul’s Run Retirement Home in northeast Philadelphia (where copies of both Linke paintings were hung up). He died there on October 24, 1997.
This collection documents the activities of Erich Uhlenbrock. The collection spans the years 1917 to 1991 with the greater part of the material dating from 1942 to 1985.
A German immigrant who arrived in Philadelphia in 1929, Uhlenbrock was involved in different German-American organizations and events throughout his life. Included is personal correspondence, a biographical outline related to his accomplishments and the organizations he was a member of, as well as a newspaper clipping and photograph related to an international soccer game he was involved in organizing.
Uhlenbrock was friends with the German-American painter and illustrator Conrad J. Linke. He donated an original Linke painting and a copy of another Linke painting to select places and there are original Linke sketches for the two paintings, as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, business records, and photographs related to the creation of the paintings and the events surrounding their donations.
Uhlenbrock's passion was for singing and he was very involved in several singing groups. There is correspondence, newspaper clippings, business records, photographs and pamphlets related to the singing groups Liedertafel Saengerbund, United Singers of Philadelphia, German-American Jugend and Kinderchor, and the Nordoestlicher Saengerbund. There are also clippings and photographs of the United Singers trip to the 14th German Saengerfest in Stuttgart Germany in 1956.
Uhlenbrock was an active member of the Steuben Society of America and its Philadelphia branch, the Pastorius Unit No. 38 and there are some documents and pamphlets relating to these organizations plus correspondence, newspaper clippings, business records, and photographs related to his involvement in organizing the annual Steuben Day Parade, and as a member of the Pastorius Day Association. Miscellaneous items and a pamphlet collection that are primarily related to German-American issues and events are also included in the collection.
The collection has been arranged in five series. Series I to III are arranged into areas of activity. Series I includes correspondence, a biographical outline, information on Uhlenbrock’s 1956 tour of Europe and his involvement in arranging an international soccer game in 1955. Series II includes many items related to the creation and donation of two Conrad J. Linke paintings.
Series III includes other activities Uhlenbrock was involved in, including singing groups and various activities related to the Steuben Society of America. Series IV contains miscellaneous items of interest he collected that are not necessarily related to his specific activities. These include newspaper and magazine clippings, politics and ephemera. Series V is a collection of pamphlets, grouped according to organization or title. Many of these pamphlets are from organizations he was involved with.
Presumably the gift of Erich Uhlenbrock or his family
- Nordöstlicher Sängerbund.
- Steuben Society of America.
- Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia.
- German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Brett Tobias
- 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.
Three letters from 1945, 1976 and 1978
Two typed pages outlining his involvement in various organizations and accompishments throughout his life
Photographs, clippings, letters related to a 6 week trip to Europe to sing with the Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia (United Singers of Philadelphia), visit family and see the sights
Photographs, clipping and copy of Field Committee Duties
Contains slides, photographs, letters, sketches and clippings related to the creation and donation of this painting
Sketches, photographs, clippings, ceremony invitation related to the creation and donation of the painting
Sketches made for the painting
1 letter, two photographs
Business records, photographs, news clippings, letters
Meeting schedule, resolution, leaflet
Newspaper and magazine clipping, photocopies of newspaper and magazine clippings
Pictures, essays, biographical information related to von Steuben
Pastorius biographical information, Anti-Slavery Protest text, leaflet
one Congressional Record, an issue of Peace Action, a National Blue Star Mothers of America leaflet
Photographs, Deutschwehr-Fest pamphlet photocopy, Plan of the Minute-Men of '46, Reagan Inauguration invitation, Reagan speech article, Conrad Linke biographical information
1971 Pulaski brochure, Men of '76 booklet, A Resolution to Celebrate German-America Heritage brochure, Germans Helped Build America booklet
Event held at Liedertafel-Saengerbund Hall, 3647 North Sixth Street, Philadelphia PA on December 2nd and 3rd, 1950
Event held at Liedertafel-Saengerbund Hall, 3647-49 North Sixth Street, Philadelphia PA on October 11 and 19, 1975. Includes newspaper clipping about the event
Event took place at the Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia Pennsylvania on May 24, 25, and 26, 1985
Souvenir Program of the Golden Jubilee of the Socialist Liedertafel of Philadelphia, PA that took place December 4-6, 1925
Pamphlet for Steuben Day Banquet commemorating the birthday of General von Steuben held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on September 19, 1942
Pamphlet for Steuben Day Banquet commemorating the birthday of General von Steuben held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on October 2, 1943
Pamphlet for Anniversary Banquet commemorating the birthday of General von Steuben held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on September 28, 1946. Includes a seating list and newspaper clipping about the Steuben Day Parade
Pamphlet for the 38th Anniversary Banquet held at the Statler Hotel in New York City on May 4, 1957. Also contains seating list and typed petition with signatures
Pamphlet for the 39th Anniversary Banquet held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on May 10, 1958. Also contains seating list
Pamphlet for the 40th Anniversary Banquet held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on May 9, 1959. Also contains seating list
Pamphlet for the 42nd Anniversary Banquet held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on May 20, 1961. Also contains seating list
Pamphlet for the 47th Anniversary Banquet held at the Americana Hotel in New York City on May 21, 1966. Also contains seating list
Pamphlet for the 50th Anniversary Banquet held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City on May 24, 1969
Pamphlet for the 56th Anniversary Banquet held at the International Hotel in Queens, New York on May 24, 1975
Pamphlet for the 60th Anniversary Banquet held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on May 24, 1979. Includes seating list
Pamphlet dated April 23, 1966. Includes the leaflet "Was Steuben Just the Drillmaster in Washington's Army?"
Guidelines for conduct of the group,as well as bibliography for suggested readings. Included is a typed Ceremonial for inducting new members into the group
Contains information on German-Americans who have made historical contributions to the United States
Pamphlet for the 18th Biennial National Convention held at the Sheraton Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from August 29 to September 1, 1958
Pamphlet for the 19th Biennial National Convention held at the Riverside Hotel, Reno, Nevada from August 12 to August 16, 1960
Program for the 236th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Sunday, September 25, 1966
Program for the 238th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Sunday, September 22, 1968
Program for the 239th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Sunday, September 21, 1969
Program for the 240th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Saturday, September 19, 1970. Missing its cover
Program for the 241th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Saturday, September 25, 1971
Program for the 246th Anniversary of the birth of General von Steuben held Saturday, September 25, 1976
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War For Independence. In this issue Steuben Memorial dedicated, French Alliance Anniversary Celebration, Annual Meeting of the Company of Military Historians
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War For Independence. In this issue The Navy Past, Spy System 1777, Monument at Stirling's Headquarters, Duportail Portrait
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War For Independence. In this issue Women's Role in the American Revolution, The Birth of the Red, White and Blue, Washington's Route to Valley Forge
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War For Independence. In this issue Postal History of Valley Forge, Blacks and the Revolution, Deborah Sampson Gannett, Marth Washington's Great Cake
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War for Independence. In this issue Revolutionary War Firearms, Musket That Won The War, A "Paddy" At Valley Forge, Search For John Paul Jones
Quarterly pamphlet issued by Valley Forge Historical Society that contains articles and news related to the War For Independence. In this issue James Maddison, Valley Forge Letters, Committee Of Conference
Event sponsored by Pastorius Day Association, Inc. and held at Town Hall, 150 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia Pennsylvania dated Monday, October 6, 1958
Event dated Saturday, Marh 12, 1983. Also includes a Reservation-Subscription Card
Contains maps, charts and information that explains what led to the beginning of World War II