The German Backlash
Tuesday, May 15 – 7:00 p.m.
Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St.
Sara Kosiba, English Professor at Troy University in Alabama and biographer of Lansing’s John Herrmann, will be featured at a book release party and signing for a rediscovered Herrmann manuscript. Lansing’s forgotten author, John Herrmann, pal of Hemingway and grandson of the founder of John Herrmann’s Sons, a bespoke Lansing tailor, often turned to his hometown for inspiration in his writing. His recently discovered manuscript Foreign Born is a fictionalized account of the anti-German backlash in Lansing during WWI.
In Foreign Born Herrmann describes tar-and-featherings and other actions against German citizens who espoused pro-German feelings. Included in the manuscript is a nasty libel trial against the Lansing State Journal regarding their description of what led to the tar-and-feathering of a Lansing butcher.
The manuscript was rediscovered by Kosiba, who uncovered it while researching the author’s life at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Kosiba then shepherded the manuscript through to publication. The book release party is free and books will be available for sale.
Old Germantown Walking Tour
Thursday, May 17 – 7:00 p.m.
LCC Administration Building, Board Room, 610 Capitol Ave.
A companion walking tour of Lansing’s old Germantown neighborhood, adjacent to Lansing Community College, will be led by LCC history Professor David Siwik.
When German families immigrated to the United States, they often settled in close proximity, forming “Germantowns” in many communities. Germans who settled in Lansing gravitated to an area along Capitol and Seymour Streets. Many of the new immigrants also started businesses in downtown and Old Town, including such notables as Herrmann’s, Kositchek’s, and Bissinger’s Flowers. Bissinger’s was located where the Lansing Community College Administration Building now stands.