Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 22. Hermann von Holst

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I

§ 22. Hermann von Holst

In the historical field the crown of achievement belongs to Hermann von Holst, whose work on the constitutional and political history of the United States is generally conceded to be authoritative. It was written during the period of his professorship in the University of Chicago, and published in sections under the general title Verfassung und Demokratie der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Unfortunately the English translation is too literal and by no means does justice to the virile style of the original. Hugo Münsterberg in his Die Amerikaner (American Traits, etc.), gave a view of America from the psychologist’s standpoint, a book comparable to the works of De Tocqueville and Bryce for its critical and sympathetic treatment. An historical work of merit, though little known (the poor translation is perhaps partly responsible), is that of Therese von Jakob (”Talvj”), the wife of the American Orientalist Edward Robinson, entitled Geschichte der Colonisation von Neu-England, 1607–1692. Nach den Quellen bearbeitet. In its wisely restricted field it is not surpassed. Among the many valuable memoirs that have been written by Germans in the United States, some of which have already been mentioned, we should not forget the reminiscences of Hans Kudlich, the emancipator of the serfs in Austria, and a secretary in the provisional revolutionary government of 1849 in the Palatinate. Others of interest are Aus zwei Weltteilen, by Marie Hansen-Taylor (wife of Bayard Taylor); Memoiren einer Frau aus dem badisch-pfälzischen Feldzuge by Mathilde Giesler-Anneke, the ardent woman suffragist; Länger als ein Menschenleben in Missouri, by Gert Göbel; and similarly autobiographical writings of Friedrich Münch, Philip Schaff, H. Börnstein, and Carl Heinzen. Pioneers in the search for historical records of the Germans in the United States were Friedrich Kapp, Oswald Seidensticker, and H. A. Rattermann, the authors of many instructive monographs.