The Pennsylvania Dutch: From Migration to Acculturation

The Pennsylvania Dutch: From Migration to Acculturation
Click To Enlarge
  • Item #: 9781620062746

An invitation to the “Land of Milk and Honey” by William Penn led to waves of immigration, various religions, and ethnicities in created a free world religious Utopia, void of persecution. Most obvious were the Plain Pennsylvania Dutch practicing freedom of religion, and including the Moravians who settled Bethlehem. The port of Philadelphia (Germantown) was the benefactor of their skills at printing, and those upstate Rhineland farmers soon flooded the port city with a quantity of grain, flour, foodstuffs, and industrial exports. Historians trace this Rhineland immigration to 1683, when the first waves of Rhenish immigrants, speaking a German Dialect, arrived in Pennsylvania.

Although the immigrants that made up this 1683 Germantown settlement in the city of Philadelphia were German-speaking Dutch, German, and Swiss immigrants, most of them were Dutch. Germantown became the Colonial printing center for German language Bibles and religious imprints for the entire Pennsylvania Dutch community and for many decades that followed. The Pennsylvania Dutch, as other diversified ethnic immigrants who founded America, are to this day very proud of their ethnic heritage, as Germanic acculturation has taken place in American Civilization. However, most often forgotten is that among our German-speaking forefathers were non-German nationals from other Rhineland Countries who spoke the German Dialect in these early Colonial frontier years. Most prominent of these other German-speaking nationals were Holland Dutch, Swiss, and French Huguenots, etc., who collectively comprise today’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country.


Richard L.T. Orth, a longtime native of Berks County, namely of his hometown Fleetwood and historic Kutztown where he earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees and worked for the American Folklife Institute for past 23 years. Kutztown considered by Orth and other scholars like Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker the epicenter of our historic and colorful Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs and elaborately decorated barns, but also currently home to several hundred old order horse and buggy Mennonites who continue to flourish and expand in the fertile East Penn Valley.

Richard has had nearly 300 articles published on our rich Pennsylvania Dutch culture: it's heritage, history, folk religion, folklore, architecture, folklife, folk art, and cuisine through several magazines, journals, and is current "A Look Back in History" and "Everything Pennsylvania Dutch" columnist for both the Berks-Mont Newspapers and South Schuylkill News, where his weekly articles can be read online or in newspaper through the Kutztown Patriot, Oley Valley Sentinel, Boyertown Times, Hamburg Item, Southwest Berks News, among others. 

Orth's past book titles include Oley Valley Heritage: The Federal Years (1776-1862) & Folk Religion of the Pennsylvania Dutch: Witchcraft and Related Practices. He is currently working on a (tentative) title of Architecture of the Pennsylvania Dutch: True Grit German Builders of Exquisite English Design, and plans for a 2019 release through Sunbury Press. Richard L.T. Orth started with the American Folklife Institute in May 1995 with close friend and Mentor, Richard H. Shaner to revamp Shaner's popular 1970s American Folklife Society. Both consider themselves part of the Dr. Alfred Shoemaker lineage tree and 9th and 10th generation Pennsylvania Dutchmen, respectively.

For more information, please visit: 
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: In Defense of Humility and "Demut" Plain Dutch Living 
  • Chapter Two: Old Wolrd Wars and Perservering Toward a New World Democracy
  • Chapter Three: William Penn's Free World Holy Experiment and Religious Spirit
  • Chapter Four: Folkways & Good-natured Wisdom Among the Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Chapter Five: Frontier Folk Art of the Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Chapter Six: Farm Life and Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine
  • Chapter Seven: True Grit Work Ethic & the Pennsylvania Dutch Calendar 
  • Chapter Eight: Architecture of the Pennsylvania Dutch and their Reverence for Stone
by Richard L. T. Orth
Trade Paperback - 8 x 10 x .6
214 Pages indexed w/color photos
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
HISTORY / Social History
  * Marked fields are required.
Price $29.95
Availability In-Stock

You may also like...

Reviews (0) Write a Review
No Reviews. Write a Review