Germania Maennerchor Collection - PP164

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Societu Library

GERMANIA MAENNERCHOR COLLECTION
1865
PP164

Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, September 1999
 


History

The Germania Maennerchor (men’s choir) was established in ca. 1870, with quarters first at 192-194 W. Lombard St., then 212 (ca. 1882-1886) and 410 (ca. 1888-1912) W. Lombard St., and finally at 848-850 N. Howard St. (ca. 1913-1917). In August of 1871, the choir performed at the Schuetzenfest held by the Baltimore Schuetzen Society at the society’s park on Belair Road (south of North Ave. and east of Gay St.), an annual event from the 1860s to 1890s featuring prize shooting, bowling, music, dancing, illuminations, and fireworks. In 1906, the organization maintained offices at 410-412 W. Lombard St., a performance hall at 408 W. Lombard St., and a Country Club at Garrison Ave. and W. Arlington.

The Germania Maennerchor was one of 40 German singing societies in Baltimore in 1890, part of a lively and prominent German culture in Baltimore during the last part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1880-1890, an estimated one third of Baltimore’s population spoke German, and the public school system maintained bilingual schools in some areas until 1904, one of which was No. 98 near Wilkens Avenue. Although schools ceased being bilingual, German remained the most popular foreign language studied in the schools until the situation was altered by World War I. At that point, anti-German sentiment halted German language studies in the schools, and the city’s German language daily newspaper ceased publication; in fact, the Germania Maennerchor disappears from the Baltimore Directory after 1917.

However, in the late 1930s, there were still cultural and social activities of the Baltimore German community taking place in the same location as the Germania Maennerchor’s last venue: Lehmann Hall (around 850-856 N. Howard St.) was the site of theatrical and musical events including performances of a Maennerchor, a Junger Maennerchor, and a Kinderchor (children’s choir). Lehmann Hall also housed a German movie theater, rathskeller, bowling alleys, and a dance floor, and was the meeting place of a club known as the Deutsches Ring. At this time, there were 10 German singing societies in Baltimore, including the Harmonie which met on W. Fayette St., and the Arion and Damenchor, both of which met in Arion Hall on Frederick Ave. In 1938, Baltimore German societies, including the Deutsches Ring, were consolidated in the Deutsches Haus, in the former Bryn Mawr School building at Cathedral and Preston Sts. At about this same time, Baltimore hosted a national saengerfest (choral festival). By 1969, remaining German singing societies were the Arion Singing Society, the Eichenkranz Society, the Deutscher Damenchor Society, and the Eichenkranz Damenchor Society.


Collection Origin

Provenance unknown.


Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 photograph album containing 50 photographs of men, members of the Germania Maennerchor of Baltimore. The album is stamped on the front "Germania Maennerchor Baltimore"; the photographs are studio portraits made by H. Merz of New York, and the album is stamped on the back cover "Saengerrunde New York 1865". The photographs are identified on verso with man’s name and (frequently) vocal range. Some of the photographs are captioned on verso "Germania Maennerchor Baltimore".


Arrangement

The photographs remain in the album, which is in pristine condition.


Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 1 Album

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