In Their Own Words Exhibition Image

Drawing on the rich resources of the Max Kade Institute Library and Archives, this exhibit, “In Their Own Words: German Americans in the World War I Era,” showcases German-language newspapers, magazines, books, and other materials that were printed in the United States in the World War I era.  Interpretive posters and translations offer a glimpse at how German-Americans saw world events and their own position in American society in the years before, during, and after America and Germany fought against each other in the Great War.

Eight panels form the core of the exhibit. They interpret German-American materials from four distinct periods in the World War I Era: 1) the years preceding the beginning of the war in Europe; 2) the early war years before the entry of the United States; 3) the war years after the entry of the United States; and 4) the years immediately following the end of armed conflict. The exhibit is complemented by historical materials from the WCHAS collection and an audio magazine on American and German popular and propaganda songs.“In Their Own Words” can be viewed during open hours at the Morgan House, every Saturday from 10 to 1.  Admission is free, and all our members and the public are invited to come see the display during the summer.


On November 5, the Winnebago County Historical Society will present a public lecture by MKI’s Associate Director, Antje Petty, about this exhibit and its story “In Their Own Words.”  The lecture will be held at 6pm in the lower level meeting room of Oshkosh Public Library. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. WCHAS previously sponsored Antje Petty’s 2016 presentation on German-American immigrant cookbooks, which was also held in the Public Library.

The Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies is an interdisciplinary unit in the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.   The Institute is dedicated toresearching the story of German-speaking immigrants and their descendants in a global, multicultural, and interdisciplinary context, preserving American print culture and personal documents in the German language and making them part of America’s story and historiography, and sharing the Institute’s resources through publications, community outreach, and educational programming. The MKI Library and Archives house one of the largest collections of German-language materials published in North America, as well as primary source documents, such as letters, diaries, and business records; and the North American German Dialect Archive, which contains thousands of hours of recordings of immigrant dialects from the mid-1940s to the present.

The Max Kade Institute was founded in 1983 with an initial grant from the Max Kade Foundation of New York. The Institute is named after Dr. Max Kade (1882–1967), who came from Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, to New York City in 1905, where he achieved success and fame in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Kade established the Max Kade Foundation in New York to promote scientific and technical progress and to further the peaceful coexistence of nations. He was also committed to advancing German-American relations.

Madison’s Max Kade Institute is committed to telling the story of how German-speaking immigrants and their descendants have both shaped their North American environment and been shaped by it. In addition to conferences, lectures, travel exhibits, and presentations throughout the Midwest, MKI sponsors touring exhibits that showcase aspects of these social and cultural influences both historically and in the present.

More information on the Max Kade Institute can be found online at