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H. H. Fick autobiography

Ms. Coll. AM 2171

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
Creator:
Fick, H. H., (Heinrich H.), 1849-1935
Title:
H. H. Fick autobiography
Date:
circa 1935
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. AM 2171
Extent:
0.13 Linear feet (1 box)
Language:
German
Abstract:
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 the Chicago German-language newspaper Sonntagpost, not long before Fick's death, in 1935. 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. Included, at the back, is an obituary of Fick, which describes his funeral, in the chapel of the Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati.
Cite as:
H. H. Fick autobiography, "Zwischen Anfang und Ende: mein Leben," Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library, German Society of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

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.

References

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.

Scope and Contents

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.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library,  2013.08

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz

Sponsor

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.

Provenance note

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.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

The German Society of Pennsylvania holds an uncataloged copy of the following work by Fick: German taught with success in American public schools, 1911 (see Carl Schurz Pamphlet collection, Box 6).

The University of Cincinnati holds books on German-American life and culture that were collected by Fick, forming the core of the University’s German-Americana Collection, including many titles by Fick himself (see list of holdings on the website of the Archives and Rare Book Library, especially: Fick Pamphlet Collection).

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Autobiographies
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Manuscripts, German--20th century
  • Memoirs
  • Obituaries
  • Poems
  • Scrapbooks
Geographic Name(s)
  • Chicago (Ill.)
  • Cincinnati (Ohio)
Subject(s)
  • Education, bilingual
  • German American poetry
  • German Americans

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Collection Inventory

I.  H. H. Fick autobiography (scrapbook), circa 1935. 32 leaves. Clippings from the Chicago newspaper Sonntagpost, circa 1935.

Section I (p. 1-2): Lübeck; Mein Vater; Die Mutter; Schwere Zeiten; Handarbeiten; Vom Waisenhaus; Die erste Erinnerung.

Section II (p. 3-4): Tante Trinette; Wenig Spielgelegenheit; Zur Schule; Armbruch; Auf der Grossheim'schen Schule; Ich lese rückwärts; die Autorität der Schule.

Section III (p. 5-6): Körperliche Züchtigung in den Schulen; Strafarbeiten; Rechnen und Geschichte; Literatur; "Wuttwutt"; Schönschreiben; Direktor Bruhus; Mitschüler.

Section IV (p. 7-8): Der Grossmutter Amerikareise; Was die Grossmutter berichtete; Die Mutter; Vom Leben daheim; Ferientage.  Note: break in text; conclusion wanting. Handwritten note continues the last printed sentence: "[Wie die Schwester des] Moses hiess, sollte ich sagen und wusste es nicht. Besser erging es mir ein andermal bei einem anderem Pudel der fragte nach dem Namen von Luthers Gattin und erhielt die richtige Antwort." A further note: "Fehlt ein Kapitel-Abschnitt / Weihnachtszeit".

Section V (p. 9-10): Vom Lübecker Militär; Das Schützenfest; Ein Liebesdienst und seine Folgen; Plattdeutsch und Reuter; Der Umgang mit Herrn Spiegel; St. Marien.

Section VI (p. 11-13): Im Lübecker Dom; Der Abschied von der Heimat naht; Der Tag der Abreise; Auf See; Ankunft in London; Ueber den Kanal nach Havre; Auf der "Germanie; Vor New York; Im Land der Freiheit.

Section VII (p. 14-16): Bei den Verwandten; Kaufmannsstift; Das Erlernen des Englischen; Bürgerkriegszeit; Lincolns Ermordung; Lincolns Leiche in New York; Brand des Barnumschen Museums; das zweite Feuer; Die "Great Eastern"; Unfrewillige Landung auf Blackwells Island; Verkäufer im Geschäft; Nach Cincinnati.

Section VIII (p. 17-19): In Cincinnati; Der Verfasser wird Lehrer; Kollege und Schüler; Zeichnen; Der Krieg 1870/71; Zeichenlehrer.

Section IX (p. 19-20): Zum ersten Male in Chicago; Das grosse Feuer; Das literarische Debut; Verlobung und Hochzeit.

Section X (p. 20-22): Förderung des Zeichenunterrichts; Eine Besuchsreise in die Heimat; Mitbegründer des Deutschen Literarischen Klubs; Ein Vortrag mit Knalleffekt; Forbrigers Ableben.

Section XI (p. 22-24): Ich werde Superintendent; Der englische literarische Verein; Eine spiritistische Sitzung; Gäste im deutschen literarischen Klub; vom Schulsuperintendenten; Unlautere Einflüsse in der Schulverwaltung.

Section XII (p. 25-26): Drei Enkel Steubens auf Besuch in Amerika; Eine denkwürdige Feier im Eden Park; Amerikanische Bäume im sächsischen Tharandt; Zweihunderjahrfeier zum Andenken an die ersten deutschen Ansiedler; In Cincinnati; Die Parade; Die Feier in der Musikhalle; Die Luther-Feier; Feier von 1883;.

Section XIII [and XIV?] (p. 27-29): Das grosse Hochwasser von 1884; Ein nasser Winter; Mit dem Boot über die Gaslaternen; Begräbnis und Hochzeitszüge auf Kähnen; Der Krawall vor dem Gefängnis; Marsch des Mobs; Das Gefängnis wird erstürmt; Der Sturm aufs Gerichtsgebäude; Die Miliz muss zurück; Maschinengewehre Tätigkeit; 45 Personen tot.  Note: There is no header for Section XIV; it is unclear whether these pages include Section XIV as well, or if one installment is missing.

Section XV (p. 30-31): Der Hahnmarket-Aufruhr; Reibereien zwischen Arbeitern und Kapital; Der Streik bei der Harvester Company; Aufforderung zur Versammlung; Die Bombe; Der Prozess; Der Verfasser als Dolmetscher für Lingg; Linggs Selbstmord.

Section XVI (p. 31-33): Schulgründungspläne; Die deutsch-englische Schule für Knaben und Mädchen; Räumlichkeiten werden zu eng; Weitere Aufschwung; Grundsteinlegung des Schulneubaus.

Section XVII (p. 33-35): Die neue Schule; Die Einweihung; "Columbia und Germania"; Veränderungen im Lehrpersonal; Von den Schülern.

Section XVIII (p. 35-37): Allerlei Schwierigkeiten; Ein abgelehntes Angebot; Zurück nach Cincinnati; Erinnerungen an Schüler; Neuerrungen im Schulbetrieb; Der Verfasser erhält den Doktorhut.

Section XIX (p. 37-38): Die neue Aufgabe; Ein altes Schulhaus; Der Neubau beginnt; Der fürchterliche Fuchs; Das neue Haus; Stiftungen aller Art; Besucher und Benützer der Schule; Tod des Schulsuperintendenten.

Section XX (p. 39-40): Literarische Tätigkeit; Eine weitere Deutschlandreise; Der letzte Besuch bei der Mutter; Der neue Superintendent; Ernennung zum Hilfs-Superintendenten; Die neuen Aufgaben; Vertragserfolge.

Section XXI (p. 40-42): Das Schul-Bulletin in deutscher Sprache; Wieder ein neuer Superintendent; Direktor des deutschen Unterrichts; Ausstellung der deutschen Klassen auf dem Bundesturnfest; "Jung-Amerika"; Lesebücher des Verfassers.

Section XXII (p. 42-44): "Das Lied, das meine Mutter sang"; Das schläfrige Hotel; Ein Gewitter zur Unzeit; Italien; Wieder daheim; Die Wahrsagerin; Rückgang des Deutschunterrichts.

Section XXIII (p. 44-46): Besuch bei den Trappisten in Kentucky; Das Leben der Klostergemeinde; Allerlei Legenden; Des Lehrerbundes Reise nach Deutschland; Die Seefahrt; Der Empfang in Bremen; Die Rundreise durch Deutschland.

Section XXIV (p. 46-48): Rücktritt des Schulsuperintendenten; Der neue Mann; Das System des Ersatzes der Deutschlehrer; Anerkennende Urteile über den Deutschunterricht; Ein Jubiläum; Ein Gedichtwerk des Verfassers; Sommerkursus an der Staatsuniversität von Ohio.

Section XXV (p. 48-49): Die Deutschenhetze zur Kriegszeit; Wie es den deutschen Schulbüchern erging; Rücktritt des Verfasser vom Amt; Des Verfassers weitere Betätigung.

Section XXVI (p. 50-51): Allerhand Veränderungen; Goldene Hochzeit; Ableben der Gattin; Fort von Cincinnati; Nach Norwegen und Schweden; Kurzer Besuch in Deutschland; Die alte Schule in Lübeck; Rückkehr nach Amerika.

Section XXVII (p. 52-53): Eine weitere Europareise; Schöne Stunden in Oslo; Dänemark; Wieder in der alten Heimat; Eine Trauerbotschaft; Schlusswort.

Index (p. 55, 57). Handwritten. Containing a listing of section titles and approximate page numbers.

Obituary (p. 59, 61). Clipping, "Letzte Ehren für Dr. H. H. Fick: würdige Trauerfeier in der Kapelle der Spring Grove Friedhofes," circa end of March 1935.

II.  Hardcover facsimile copy of the above scrapbook, produced by Bridgeport National Bindery, 1996.