Dr. Friederike Baer to Launch New Book “Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War” at the Museum, May 12April 14, 2022
Event is Part of the Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series
What was the Revolutionary War like for the German soldiers who fought alongside the British? Author and historian Dr. Friederike Baer will join the Museum of the American Revolution on Thursday, May 12, 2022, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. to offer a groundbreaking look at 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 for release on April 29, 2022 (Editor's note: publication date is now May 13).
Part the Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series, the program will be held in the Museum’s Liberty Hall and also will be broadcast live via Zoom for ticketed viewers. 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.
Tickets are $20 for general admission onsite and $15 for Zoom-only access. Member tickets are $15 onsite and $10 for Zoom-only access. Tickets can be purchased here.
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.
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 Baer’s book. The featured artifact on display will be a Hessian miter cap plate fragment owned by the Museum and originally found in the Delaware River in 1915, after originating from a British transport ship that sank near Philadelphia in 1778.
The Museum’s Read the Revolution Speaker Series brings celebrated authors and historians to the Museum for lively discussions of their work. Now in its fifth year, the series is based on the Museum’s national Read the Revolution bi-monthly e-newsletters, which feature excerpts from thought-provoking books about the American Revolution.
Read the Revolution is sponsored by The Haverford Trust Company.
Health & Safety Note
Guests attending this program in person will be required to show proof of full 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 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
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 Eberle: Language, 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.
About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.