The Pennsylvania German Groundhog Lodges and Versammlinge

  • 2019-01-20
  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Meeting Rooms #1 and #2


William Donner will explain the history, cultural context and significance of Pennsylvania German Groundhog Lodges and Versammlinge. The Grundsow (“Groundhog)” Lodges were started in the 1930s by a group of Pennsylvania Germans who wanted to have an occasion for speaking the Pennsylvania German language (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch) and celebrating Pennsylvania German culture. The first official meeting was held in 1934. Eventually, 18 lodges developed in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. Scores of related Pennsylvania German Versammlinge (“gatherings”) also developed which adopted a very similar format, although not structured around the groundhog. William W. Donner is a professor of anthropology at Kutztown University. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Donner completed over three and a half years of ethnographic research on Sikaiana, a Polynesian people in the Solomon Islands. He also has researched Pennsylvania German (Dutch) history, culture and heritage. He developed a website about Sikaiana and written a book about the Pennsylvania German Groundhog Lodges: Serious Nonsense: Groundhog Lodges, Versammlinge and Pennsylvania German Heritage which will be available for sale and signing.

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