H. H. Fick autobiography
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
Heinrich (Henry) H. Fick was born 16 August 1849 in Lübeck, Germany. He emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York, in 1864, and at first worked as a salesman. After moving to Cincinnati in 1868 he decided to become a teacher, passed his certification exam, and in 1870 was appointed a teacher of German in a public elementary school. Since he had a background and some talent in art, he also taught that subject with great success. During visits to Chicago he met Clementine Barna, the daughter of German immigrants, and a German teacher, whom he married in 1872. Fick went on to serve as superintendent of drawing at the Cincinnati school from 1878 to 1884. Then he and his wife lived for a time in Chicago, where he wrote for the German-language press, and gave private lessons in German and art. Together with a colleague the couple founded a German-English school. In 1890 to 1892 Fick attended Ohio University and completed a Ph.D., and then served as principal of the 6th district school in Cincinnati. In 1901 he became assistant superintendent of Cincinnati's public schools, and served until 1903, when he was appointed to head the system's German English Normal School, responsible for training teachers of German. He was forced to resign from that position in 1918, when the German program was discontinued. Fick authored textbooks for Cincinnati's bilingual program, and created a bilingual curriculum that was used in many other cities.
Fick was also a published poet in German. Also, at one point he and his wife published a children's magazine in German called Jung-Amerika, for which they wrote prose and poetry.
H. H. Fick died on 23 March 1935, in Chicago, Illinois. His wife, Clementine Fick, had died earlier, in 1927, several years after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Heinrich and Clementine Fick had two daughters, Alma S. Fick, who was a teacher, residing in Chicago at the time of her father's death; and Edna H. Fick-Menger, married to F.S. Menger, a professor at the University of Indiana, Bloomington.
Linden, Blanche M. G. "Cincinnati" (Vol. 1, p. 239-248). In: Germany and the Americas: culture, politics, and history (3 vols). Ed. Thomas Adam. Santa Barbara, California: ABC Clio, 2005. See reference to Heinrich H. Fick, p. 244.
Tolzmann, Don Heinrich. Cincinnati's German heritage. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc., 1994. Concerning Heinrich H. Fick, see p. 29-35, 86, 106-108.
Tolzmann, Don Heinrich. "The last Cincinnati poet: Heinrich H. Fick" (p. 273-284). In: German-American literature. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1977.
The collection comprises a scrapbook containing clippings of an autobiography written by Heinrich H. Fick, a German-American educator, writer and poet, born in Lübeck, who spent much of his professional life working in the public school system of Cincinnati, Ohio, and who was noted for his leading of the training program for German teachers, and his development of the bilingual German-English curriculum. His career there spanned the 1890s until 1918.
The work, entitled Zwischen Anfang und Ende: mein Leben (Between the beginning and the end: my life), was published in installments in a German-language newspaper, identified at the head of the title as Sonntagpost, evidently the Chicago newspaper of that title. The clippings are pasted down in a hardcover notebook of lined paper, and provided with a title page and a handwritten index at the back, giving the section titles found in each numbered installment.
In the memoir Fick tells of both his personal and his professional life, and also, at times, about current events, such as the assassination of President Lincoln, the Chicago fire of 1871, and German-American festive occasions.
The 4th installment breaks off in mid sentence, with the continuation (on a different page in the same issue) missing. The completion of the thought is written in by hand, in a few lines, ending with a note that a section concerning Christmastime is missing (Fehlt ein Kapitel-Abschnitt, Weihnachtszeit). Also, there is no header for the 14th installment; it is unclear whether the entire installment is missing.
The newspaper clippings are not dated. At the conclusion of the memoir Fick refers to the purchase of his German-American literature collection by the University of Cincinnati, and his needing to attend to the transfer, suggesting that the memoir appeared not long before his death, in March 1935.
At the back of the book an obituary of Fick, with a photograph of him, is included, which describes his funeral, in the chapel of the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati.
It is not known who assembled the scrapbook. However, a handwritten notation on the title page by pastor A. J. Bucher, an editor and friend of Fick, briefly commenting on the interest and value of the work (Äusserst interessant und wertvoll!), suggests that the scrapbook was created in Fick's milieu.
Gift to the National Carl Schurz Association; the original donor is not known. The item bears the stamp of the Association reflecting the change in its name (formerly: Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation), which was effected in 1962. Subsequently transferred with other holdings of the Association to the German Society of Pennsylvania.
- 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.
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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.