Pennsylvania Deitsch Lullaby “Sleep, My Baby, Sleep”

Songs Along the Mahantongo Book Cover
Book cover for Songs Along the Mahantongo, 1951

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1 Response

  1. Avatar Chris Witmer says:

    There is an interesting side bar about Albert Buffington, one of the authors of Songs Along the Mahantongo. Historically, the Buffington family were English Quakers who came to Pennsylvania in the late 17th century. The line that Albert is descended through found its way to northern Dauphin County in the Gratz area and became assimilated into the local PA Dutch culture. Pennsylvania Dutch was his first language despite the fact of his Anglo heritage. Albert later became known for his love of the dialect and was noted for his scholarly studies of PA Dutch and his thesis submitted at Harvard in 1937 entitled “A Grammatical and Linguistic Study of Pennsylvania German.”

    The lesson being that you don’t have to a have a direct ancestor connection to Germany or Switzerland to be part of the culture. Stories like this of people with non-Germanic names that are pure dialect speakers abound in Pennsylvania, especially in the areas where the Dutch culture was overwhelmingly predominant, such as northern Dauphin County.

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