Presented by William Donner
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 Dutch 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. For the past 20 years, he has researched and published about Pennsylvania German (Dutch) history, culture and heritage. He also has written a book about the Pennsylvania German Groundhog Lodges: Serious Nonsense:Groundhog Lodges, Versammlinge and Pennsylvania German Heritage (2016, Penn State Press), which will be available for sale and signing.
Please register online, or call 717-533-6555 to speak to a staff member at the Public Services desk to register for this Friends Adult Program, one month in advance of the program.