Germans in the Midwest
More than five million Germans came to the United States in the 1800s, the largest foreign language group at the time. The majority moved to the Midwestern "German triangle," between Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Many were farmers in their homeland and pursued the same livelihood in the Midwest. Living in close proximity to other Germans encouraged these immigrants to maintain traditional customs and language. The anti-immigration sentiment so prevalent in some U.S. cities gained less ground in the rural areas of the Midwest.
The Peter Glass Family
Peter Glass and his German-born first wife preserved aspects of their cultural identity by living near other Germans and keeping in contact with family in Europe. When his first wife died the Protestant Glass married an American-born daughter of German Catholic immigrants and became involved in her church.
Bringing the Old World to the New
The industrial revolution in Germany pushed many to migrate to the American Midwest, where they could continue to work as independent craftsmen or farmers. In Wisconsin, Peter Glass farmed and used his woodworking skills while embracing his adopted country. He became an American citizen, and made furniture that incorporated U.S. patriotic and historical motifs.