Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Elizabeth W. Nelson

Second Committee Member

Eugene Moehring

Third Committee Member

Andrew J. Bell

Fourth Committee Member

Maria R. Casas

Fifth Committee Member

Ralph W. Buechler

Sixth Committee Member

Ronald Smith

Number of Pages



German immigrants came to San Francisco, Sacramento and Marysville, urban northern California, seeking a better life than they had in the Germanic states of central Europe. Some came directly from Germany but some made an intermediate stop during their journey in Europe or the United States. In all three cities, they created an ethnic community where they practiced the social, economic and cultural traditions from their homeland,including Vereinswesen (associational life) and Gemutlichkeit (celebration of the joy of life), led by their ethnically based association, the Turnverein. They interacted with the main steam Anglo-Americans through associations and celebratory events to create political stability and economic success, and they influenced the native-born to adopt some of the German traditions to create a Californian culture unique to the West. Rather than assimilate, they created a dual identity of German-Californian to adapt to their new home This study rediscovers the active German communities in the three urban Californian cities neglected in earlier histories of the gold rush.


California; California – Marysville; California – Sacramento; California – San Francisco; Cultural history; Economic history; Ethnic community; Ethnic neighborhoods; German Americans – Ethnic identity; German Americans – Social life and customs; German immigrants; Gold mines and mining; Gold Rush


Cultural History | Ethnic Studies | Social History | United States History

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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