January 28, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Centre Furnace Mansion
1001 E. College Ave. 16801

Centre County Historical Society
2018 Henszey-Pyle Author Series

The Past and Future of Pennsylvania German Studies—and Pennsylvania German Identity

Join the Centre County Historical Society on Sunday, January 28 at 2:00 p.m. for “The Past and Future of Pennsylvania German Studies” by Author Simon J. Bronner at the Centre Furnace Mansion.

Colorful quilts draped on clotheslines and horse-drawn buggies on the country roads of Centre and nearby counties reflect the distinct culture of some of our Pennsylvania German neighbors.  But those outward trappings of tradition are only the most visible aspects of a rich and varied ethnic group, united by a distinct—and distinctly American—language, sometimes referred to as ‘Pennsylvania Dutch.’

On Sunday, January 28 at 2 p.m., the Centre County Historical Society will host Simon J. Bronner in the Hearth Room at the Centre Furnace Mansion for a presentation titled: “The Past and Future of Pennsylvania German Studies and Pennsylvania German Identity.” Dr. Bronner will discuss the modern understanding of the group—an understanding that has evolved since nineteenth century historians and social scientists first sought to document what they believed to be a dying culture. Bronner’s illustrated presentation will also examine the “new” Pennsylvania German Studies movement in the 21st century and its implications for the future of Pennsylvania German identity.

Simon J. Bronner, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of American Studies and Folklore and Founding Director Emeritus of the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. The author and editor of over forty books, including most recently Pennsylvania Germans: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (with Joshua Brown.) He served as editor of the Pennsylvania German History and Culture Series for Penn State Press, received the Pennsylvania German Society’s Award of Merit for lifetime contributions to Pennsylvania German studies, and the Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership from the American Folklore Society.

This distinguished author series is underwritten by the Anne Hamilton Henszey Pyle and Kenneth B. Pyle Educational Fund for Regional Heritage Preservation (Henszey Pyle Fund.)

The inspirations for the Henszey-Pyle Fund include the interest that Anne and Kenneth have in the history of the community in which they grew up and their belief in the value of the study of history.  Anne is the great-great-grand daughter of Moses and Mary Irvin Thompson and great-grand daughter of John Hamilton all of whose contributions to regional history are honored at the Centre Furnace Mansion and within the Centre County Historical Society.  Kenneth, who acquired a love of the study of history growing up in State College, is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of History and International Studies Emeritus at the University of Washington where he has taught history for over fifty years.

The lecture series is coordinated by CCHS Board of Governors member Dr. Ford Risley.


The Centre Furnace Mansion is located at 1001 E. College Avenue, State College, PA 16801. Parking is available in the lower lawn along College Avenue, as well as in the Mansion parking lot off of Porter Road. Admission to the program is FREE. Donations are appreciated.  For more information, please call (814) 234-4779.