Heidi VarblowResearcher, 2003–Present

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Heidi Varblow's knowledge of the German language and culture has been an invaluable asset to the Diary Project.

Varblow’s research has concentrated on reading the German daily newspaper, the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung, printed in old Gothic for the years 1861 to 1896 at the Library of Congress. She copies and translates the Staats-Zeitung items referred to in the Diary, some of which are several columns or pages in length, and shares her findings with other researchers. The diary and the paper both cover politics, opera, theater performances, the endless Liederkranz business, social and benefit activities, as well as those of many other German community activities in the New York metropolitan area. Varblow loves reading the original diary entries written in old German script for accuracy and clarification. She also weighs in on transcription queries. Her research also includes reports on the Hamburg Pianofabrik, Carl Schurz, Oscar Ottendorfer, the German Club, German Society, German-American Schools, and many items on Bismarck celebrations, along with William Steinway’s correspondence with the Court of Emperor William II. Varblow maintains continuous contact with current German newspapers, institutions and author Strohschein to find information and source material. In addition she has assembled a spreadsheet of membership names for the various German clubs and societies and has translated the History of the Liederkranz of the City of New York 1847–1897 into English.

Varblow, who was born and raised in Germany, moved to Detroit, Michigan with her parents and sisters after high school graduation. She has a graduate degree in German language and literature from the University of Michigan, where she took piano classes as an elective. Varblow taught German in Fairfax County High Schools for 10 years. She then worked for over 15 years in the computer industry as a systems analyst and trainer, and has volunteered at various other organizations, including a local orchestra. Her love of music and interest in American history and German in this country brought her to the Steinway Diary Project. Varblow and her husband, Carl, live in Alexandria, Virgina. They have two sons and five grandchildren.