Rosemarie K. Lester, Ph.D.
904 Spaight Street
Madison WI 53703
Phone: 608-255-7039

Lecture topics:

Milwaukee: The German Athens on the Kinnickinnick

Early German immigrants experienced moderate success as farmers, craftsmen and tradespeople. With the age of industrialization and the rapid growth of cities, German prosperity and cultural presence expanded, especially in the city of Milwaukee.

This slide illustrated lecture explores the social history of the rise and fall of German influence in Milwaukee.

An Austrian in Wisconsin

From 1856 to 1860, Franz Hölzlhuber, an enterprising young Austrian who taught art and music at Milwaukee's German-American Academy, kept a fascinating and delightful pictorial record of his travels throughout Wisconsin. His writing style reveals a mixture of journalistic curiosity and an earnest desire to bring to the folks back home - and the readers of Harper's and other well known magazines - a kind of grass-roots idea of what this great "new world" was really like.
This lecture presents slides of his watercolors, accompanied by Hölzlhuber's original commentaries, translated from the German into English. It may be a stretch, but you might just be reminded of Charles Kuralt's On the Road!

Cowboys, Indians, Hogan's Heroes: How Germans and Americans see each other

Bratwurst and Biersteins, cowboy hats and six-shooters - key words that quickly evoke images of a "typical" German or American. But what do we really know about each other? Television, movies and popular books on both sides of the Atlantic rely on cliches and stereotypes, and when one group looks at the other, we sometimes only see what we want to see. Stereotypes usually tell us more about those who believe them than of the people represented. With that in mind, Dr. Lester discusses mutual German-American images and their historical origins and use, illustrating the lecture with slides.

Reunion in Berlin: D-Day and the Class of '44

In 1994, Dr. Lester attended the fiftieth anniversary of her high school graduation in Berlin and conducted interviews with some of her surviving class mates. These stories are part of women's oral history, providing insights into a generation of women who learned to survive, to cope and to assert themselves long before feminism, coming of age the hard way, during WWII.

She Wore the Yellow Star: The autobiography of Inge Deutschkron

This is the true story of a Jewish girl and her mother who escaped deportation to Nazi death camps and managed to survive the entire war years in Berlin. A monument to the strength of the human spirit and sometimes, the kindness of strangers, Inge Deutschkron's autobiography provides a rare inside view of the day to day existence in the underground of Nazi Germany.

From Africans to Afro-Germans: Image and Reality of Blacks in
German Cultural History
Black history as taught in US high schools and universities has largely focused on African-American history. But from the early European voyages of discovery to the colonial empires of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Black history has, in fact, been an integral part of European history. This slide lecture focuses on Africans and African-Americans in German cultural history.

Oscar Howe: Artist of the Sioux and the Painting of the Truth

This is a retrospective of the late Oscar Howe, artist of the Sioux, who overcame the stark deprivations of childhood on a South Dakota reservation in the nineteen-forties to become a highly respected professor of art and an internationally renowned painter. His work is unique in that it is centered wholly within Native American tradition and imagery, fused with elements of modernist Western art. This slide lecture places Dr. Howe's work in its historical, social and aesthetic context.