Center For PA German Studies

General Information

The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies was established at Millersville University in 1986 as a center for the study of the Pennsylvania German culture in America and as a clearing house for information on the Pennsylvania Germans.

The focus on the activities and collections of the Center will be on the various settlements of Americans which have come to be known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch, but chiefly on the non-sectarian groups, the Lutheran, Reformed (now United Church of Christ) and the Moravian church groups.

More than seven million people have immigrated to America from the German-speaking areas of Europe since the first permanent settlement was begun in 1683 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Thousands of German immigrants came to Pennsylvania from the Rhineland and neighboring provinces in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies is located at 406 Spring Drive, Millersville, PA.

What The Center Does

The Center’s activities include research, documentation and the gathering and dissemination of information on the Pennsylvania Germans. Scholars are urged to examine the holdings of the Special Collections in Ganser Library at Millersville University. Dieter Ulrich works closely with the Special Collections Library, which houses an important collection of material on the Pennsylvania Germans, including the Thomas R. Brendle Collection of Pennsylvania German Folklore on microfilm.

The nucleus of the Center’s collections will be the slides, magnetic tapes, tapes of dialect radio broadcasts, videotapes, and scrapbooks and notebooks, which have resulted from the director’s field research during the past three decades. Especially valuable are the collections of newspaper columns by dialect writers extending from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

It is anticipated that the Center will prepare and make available printed and audio-visual materials (videotapes) for use in schools and other institutions. The Center expects to publish from time to time new scholarship on the Pennsylvania Germans.

The Center also publishes the "Journal of the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies" which you may receive at no cost. Please send your request to the address below.

What The Center Can Do For You

Scholars planning to work on a project in Pennsylvania German Studies are encouraged to contact the Center and inform the Center of their research.

High school and college students are encouraged to make use of the Center’s materials and those in the Special Collections Department in Ganser Library.

The Center welcomes all kinds of serious inquiries by mail, but genealogical matters will be passed along to others.

What You Can Do For The Center

The Center will gratefully accept gifts of books, old newspapers, letters, manuscripts, records and recordings, artifacts and other material pertaining to Pennsylvania German history and folk culture in America.

The Center has established a research support fund. All contributors, individual as well as corporate, regardless of size, are deductible as allowed by Federal and State income tax laws. Checks should be made payable to Millersville University/Center for Pennsylvania German Studies.

  • Contact Information

    The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies
    C. Richard Beam, Director
    406 Spring Drive
    Millersville, PA 17551

    or, email inquiries to: