A Century of German-American Publishing




Founded in 1866 by German immigrant Louis Lange, the Louis Lange Publishing Co. became a cornerstone of German-American literature and culture in St. Louis, Missouri. The company's inception coincided with a period of significant German immigration to the United States, particularly to the Midwest. Recognizing the need for German-language publications, Lange established a publishing house that would become a beacon for the German-American community, providing them with newspapers, magazines, and books that connected them to their heritage.

The headquarters of Louis Lange Publishing Co. was located at the corner of Texas Avenue and Miami Street in St. Louis, a testament to the company's enduring presence in the city. One of the earliest successes for the company was the weekly newspaper "Ihre Werthe Zeitschrift" (Your Valuable Journal), which catered to the informational and cultural needs of German-Americans with a mix of news, commentary, and cultural content.

Throughout its operation, the company published a variety of periodicals, including "Die Abendschule," a family newsletter that remained in circulation through 1940. This publication was a significant contribution to the German-American press landscape, with editions from the late 1880s to the 1930s, reflecting the company's long-standing commitment to its audience.

In addition to periodicals, the Louis Lange Publishing Co. produced a range of other printed materials. During the 1920s, the company released Christmas catalogs that became highly collectible. These catalogs featured wholesale Christmas decorations and toys handcrafted in the Erzgebirge region of Germany, known for its artisanal woodcarving and craftsmanship. The catalogs included black and white drawings, prices, and were printed in German, which appealed to both the German-American market and collectors of cultural memorabilia.

The company also published books, some authored by Hermann Zagel, such as "Dies und Das und noch Etwas" (1908) and "Zagel’s Allerlei" (1930). These works further contributed to the German-American literary scene and are now considered collectible items.

Despite the rich history and cultural significance of the Louis Lange Publishing Co., detailed records of its operations and publications are scarce. However, descendants of Louis Lange and collectors of the company's works have preserved some of its history. For instance, Dr. David Nahrwold, a great-grandson of Louis Lange, has been known to possess extensive information about the company and its founder.

The Louis Lange Publishing Co. also faced challenges typical of the era, such as the controversy surrounding tax abatements during the renovation of its former building. Nonetheless, the renovation was seen as a positive step in revitalizing a part of the city that needed economic support.

The legacy of the Louis Lange Publishing Co. is evident in the collectible nature of its publications and the fond memories held by those who have come across its works. The company's dedication to serving the German-American community has left an indelible mark on the history of publishing in the United States, particularly in the context of immigrant literature and cultural preservation.

In Summary, the Louis Lange Publishing Co. played a pivotal role in the German-American community of St. Louis, Missouri, for over a century. Its publications served as a bridge between the Old World and the New, providing German immigrants and their descendants with a sense of cultural continuity and identity. The company's history is a testament to the power of the written word in uniting communities and preserving heritage.



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