Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 1, No. 3, Summer 1981, pp. 202-203.
This small but competent book correctly concludes that the German experience in Oklahoma was extremely limited, primarily because the settlement of Germans there was sparse. In addition, the Germans, like most white settlers in the state, arrived only after periods of time spent in other states, notably in the Midwestern states of Nebraska, Wisconson, Iowa, and Illinois. In Oklahoma the Germans were concentrated near the center of the state in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and Blaine counties.
One in a series of small books treating the newcomer ethnic groups to Oklahoma, this volume contains a bibliographical essay and footnotes for each of its six chapters. An index is sadly missed. The chapters offer a general introduction; the patterns of German immigration to the United States; the settlement of Germans generally in Oklahoma; the three genuinely German counties of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and Blaine; Oklahoma's Germans and World War I; and the German experience since World War I. The author brings us up to date with information from the 1970s.
Chapter 2, which treats German immigration to the United States, relies almost entirely on two excellent publications: Walter F. Willcox, ed., International Migrations, 2 vols. (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1929-31) and Wolfgang Kollmann and Peter Marschalck, "German Emigration to the United States," in Donald Fleming and Bernard Bailyn, eds., Perspectives in American History 7 (1973). Other fine sources were ignored. However, this chapter is not crucial. Rohrs might have improved his book by devoting more of the limited space available to him by expanding chapters 4 (on the German counties) and 5 (on World War I). There are several fine graphs and tables, two state population maps by county, and a map showing the location of German-language newspapers and German clubs early in the twentieth century. A half dozen photographs add vitality to the text.