The Folklore of the Pennsylvania Germans
A Paper Read Before the Pennsylvania-German Society at the Annual Meeting, York, Penns
By John Baer Stoudt
(Metalmark Books, Paperback, 9780271034591, 155pp.)
Publication Date: February 2009
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Published in 1916 and based on a paper presented at the Pennsylvania German Society's annual meeting in 1910, The Folklore of the Pennsylvania Germans constitutes one of the first collections of Pennsylvania German stories, rhymes, and ballads (most in their native dialect). John Baer Stoudt's compilation includes numerous examples of Pennsylvania German folklore, gathered over fifteen years through numerous interviews with Pennsylvanians who had a similar collective memory of these oral and literary traditions.
This volume focuses particularly on childhood lore, with chapters devoted to prayers, lullabies, riddles, counting-out rhymes, nursery rhymes, ballads, and many other traditions. Each section contains an English introduction or explanation about its subject, with examples documented in Pennsylvania German. The chapter "Riddles and Catches" also includes an English translation of each example. Stoudt provides background on the history and evolution of particular traditions, such as New Year's Wunsching, and explains how historically adult traditions, such as Powwowing charms, made their way into childhood lore.