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Read the Revolution Speaker Series graphic featuring Frederike Baer's headshot and the cover of her book on Hessians.
Dearest friend, I would have to fill a book, no, a ream of paper, if I wanted to give you an account of the many truly incredible incidents that happened here.
Hessian Major Johann Ludwig Friedrich von Stamford, Long Island, Jan. 2, 1782

Author and historian Dr. Friederike Baer joins the Museum to offer a groundbreaking reimagining of Britain's war against American independence from the perspective of German soldiers, a people uniquely positioned both in the midst of the war and at its margins. The event marks the launch of her new book Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War, set to release in May 2022.

Between 1776 and 1783, Britain hired an estimated 30,000 German soldiers to fight in its war against the American rebels. Collectively known as Hessians, these soldiers traveled along with accompanying civilians, including hundreds of women and children. The German military units also actively recruited Black men as musicians, laborers, servants and, in rare instances, privates. When the British evacuated the United States in 1783, an estimated 200 Black men, women, and children went with the German corps to Germany.

The Germans could not fathom why the colonists would rise up against a king under whose reign they had grown so prosperous. Moreover, the German auxiliaries entered the war with the assumption that they would easily and quickly defeat the rebels. They were mistaken. As one German officer put it, they eventually realized that the Americans had “many natural talents of war and the profession of the soldier.”

Members of the German corps penned a large volume of private and official records that pro­vide detailed accounts of the American war as well as descriptions of the built and natural environment, local customs and manners, the prevalence of slavery, and encounters with Native Americans. Baer draws heavily from these accounts in her new book, which presents an original, new look at this watershed event in world history.

The program will be held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Following the presentation, Museum President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson will join the conversation to facilitate a live Q&A with the onsite and online audiences. Doors open at 6 p.m. for onsite guests to see a featured artifact, enjoy refreshments at a cash bar, and have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the featured book.

Health & Safety Note
Guests attending this program in person will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination upon entry. Original CDC vaccination cards, photos, or electronic copies of the card are all acceptable forms of documentation. Proof of a negative COVID test will not be accepted. For ticket holders unable to provide proof of vaccination, a livestream link will be made available. Masks will be required unless eating and drinking. Please contact the front desk at 215.253.6731 with any questions.

About Dr. Friederike Baer

Read the Revolution Speaker Series graphic featuring Frederike Baer's headshot and the cover of her book on Hessians.

Friederike Baer is Associate Professor of History and Division Head for Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, Abington College. Her research focuses on the experiences of German-speaking people in North America from the Revolutionary period to the late nineteenth century. Her publications include the monograph The Trial of Frederick EberleLanguage, Patriotism and Citizenship in Philadelphia's German Community, 1790-1830, winner of the St. Paul's, Biglerville Prize for the best book in Lutheran church history.

The Read the Revolution Speaker Series is sponsored by The Haverford Trust Company.

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