Emigrant letters from North America


In collaboration with the Free University of Berlin and the Research Library Gotha emigrants are looking for letters written by emigrants from North America. The largest collection currently includes 7000 Letters should be complemented and supplemented and.

The Research Library Gotha is one of the major German libraries with historical collections. It preserves the collections of the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, since the 1647 almost interrupted housed at Schloss Friedenstein are. The library users are about 680.000 Books and magazines, 10.000 Manuscripts, 185.000 Maps of the collection and Perthes 800 linear meters of archival material available. (Links: Letter from Karl Berthold)

Who Emigrant letters possesses or can help, Please apply to subsequent contact:

Research Library Gotha
Manuscripts Department
North American collection of letters
Tel.: 03621/3080-0
Fax: 03621/3080-38

Source Inventory of the North American collection of letters:

as. 10.000 Letters in the original or a copy of the original, between the 1820 and 1930 of German (Territory of the German Empire 1871) Emigrants to relatives or friends were written in Germany

for about 5000 transcriptions of them with a typewriter or computer printout

for about 250 der ca. 300 Letter Series (three or more letters from a chart recorder), almost all of which are transcribed, detailed biographical data from German and American archives, as well as extensive information on the American home and place of residence of the emigrant

part of this series and the individual letters (one or two from the same writer) correspondence with the senders

Copies of well 2000 printed, published emigrant letters

the determination of approximately 4000 other printed emigrant letters

52 Letter Series (10 and more letters from a chart recorder) amounting to approximately. 3.500 Letters, among them 13 Series of letters from Latin America, 2 Letter series from Australia and 1 Series of letters from Malaysia., as. 184 Individual letters and 9 z.T. very large emigrant diaries

All letters are available as a digital facsimile and transcription as well and can be viewed for full-text search in the Research Library Gotha be. For research purposes, digital copies can also be made.


Helbich Wolfgang / Walter D. Kamphoefner (Hg.), German American Civil War. Letters from the front and farm 1861-1865, Paderborn u.a.: Schöningh 2002

Walter D. Kamphoefner, Wolfgang Helbich, Ulrike Sommer (Hg.), News from the Land of Freedom. German Immigrants Write Home, Ithaca u.a.: Cornell UP 1991

Wolfgang Helbich, Walter D. Kamphoefner, Ulrike Sommer (Hg.), Letters from America. German emigrants writing from the New World 1830-1930, Munich e.g.: Beck 1988

Wolfgang J. Helbich,“All people are equal there…”. The German-American immigration in the 19. and 20. Century, Dusseldorf: Schwann 1988

Wolfgang Helbich (Hg.), “America is a free country …” Write emigrants to Germany, Darmstadt u.a.: Luchterhand 1985