Antje Petty's profile picture

Antje Petty

Associate Director

College of Letters and Science | Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies

Antje Petty is the Associate Director and Outreach Manager of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies. Her research focuses on the history of emigration from German-speaking Europe in the context of global migration and the experiences of German-speakers who settled in North America and their descendants. Antje shares the resources of the Max Kade Institute through public lectures, workshops, exhibits, and other programs. She has presented to community organizations, schools, libraries, historical societies, and other audiences.

Antje’s talks can also be offered in German.


German-Speakers in America: An Overview of Three Hundred Years of Immigration

This presentation will look at the experiences of German-speaking immigrants who came from Europe in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including the earliest settlers in William Penn’s colony, the three waves of mass immigration in the nineteenth century, and the most recent significant number of arrivals in the 1950s.

German Community Life and Traditions in Wisconsin

German immigrants kept many of their traditions while also being part of the state’s multi-lingual and multi-ethnic society. This presentation will look at their organizations and clubs; music, theater, and tavern culture; newspapers and magazines; as well as events today that have a German angle, such as Christmas markets and Oktober fests, but represent a unique Wisconsin regional culture.

German American Cookbooks and Culinary Traditions

This presentation examines changes in foodways among German Americans and their neighbors through the lens of cookbooks. German immigrants brought with them a multitude of regional recipes and food traditions. Before long, cookbooks specifically written for German Americans were published. They now provide fascinating insights into the acculturation process of an immigrant group and the creation of new, uniquely (German-)American, cuisines.

The German-American Press in the World War I Era
At the outbreak of WWI, 8 million Americans (8.7 % of the population) were German born or had parents born in German-speaking Europe
900,000 (38%) in Wisconsin. Over 400 German-language papers were published in the country, 89 in Wisconsin. This presentation provides a glimpse into German Americans’ views during the WWI Era, as well as their position in American society through the lens of their own publications.
The Mississippi River: Gateway to (German) Settlement in the Midwest

Before railroads extended to the Midwest, the interior of the continent was settled via waterways. This presentation explores the experiences and stories of German-speaking immigrants who arrived in New Orleans and headed up the Mississippi to settle on its banks and tributaries from Louisiana to Minnesota.

Americans Writing in German: Resources at the Max Kade Institute and in Communities.

The MKI Library holds one of the largest collections of German-language materials created in North America, and many more can still be found in local communities. Yet, because they are not written in English, they are often excluded from scholarship and discourse. This presentation will provide an overview of the breadth of American German-language resources and suggestions on how to incorporate them local and family research.