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Wissenschaftliche Studie, 2007
1. Andrew D. White as a visitor of Oberammergau and the Bayreuth Festival
2. Appendix I: Transcription of A. D. White’s letter from the passion play to his mother
3. Appendix II: Reproduction of a letter to his friend George Burr (quotation in the text)
4. Appendix III: Autographs and dating White’s and Krausskopf’s
5. Appendix IV: Photos
In a corner of the well-known house dedicated to the Society of the Humanities at Cornell University, the A. D. White House, one can find an old wooden empty book-rack*. The different tier-levels of it are swiveling, a stylized globe is on its top. A canon of philosophers, writers and historians is represented in the different sections of the stall—one can find the writings of Goethe, Schiller and Wilhelm von Humboldt. The co-founder of Cornell-University ordered it in Germany in 1880, when he was a minister of the United States at the Berlin embassy.
White is not only known as a statesman, but also as a famous historian. Trained at Geneva College, Yale and at Friedrich-Wilhelm University he taught for several years as professor in at Ann Arobr, Michigan. He was in touch with the academic world in Europe, especially in Germany. Many of his publications and reviews refer to German scholars and their books and methods; as a patron for the newly founded university in Ithaca he tried to adopt German models of university organization and to make Cornell a place of free and independent teaching, research and—reading. Today not only students, but also many tourists visit the room in Uris Undergraduate Library dedicated to White—a beautiful place of contemplative work, silence and noblesse. This collection of books refers to the intellectual and politician’s passion. White wanted to improve one of America’s best libraries and he himself contributed not only enormous funding, but also a personal collection of thousands of books, some oft them are still in the President A.D. White Library, others are kept in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch-Library. A large number of these books were written in German and it is not surprising, that White sent back 700 books from Berlin, while staying in Europe for only one summer in the 1870s. White enjoyed participating in German intellectual culture, his correspondence includes such as Adolf von Harnack, Hermann Grimm, Theodor Mommsen, Heinrich von Treitschke and Wilhelm Oncken. His special interest in German History was the time of the Reformation, especially Luther, and Witchcraft in Germany. He also admired the variety of the literary and scientific scene. Two cases proove that White did not join the crowds of American tourists, doing a ‘pilgrimage’ to places of secular cultural-religion every summer. The diplomat argues against developments of semi-religion and characterizes them as typical of the fin-de-siècle. In his autobiography, his diaries, and in several letters he expresses his opinion about plays, institutions and the social context of the performances, which makes A. D. White an outstanding and interesting witness of the American reception of German festivals like Bayreuth and Oberammergau. About ten books in Kroch- and Olin-Library at Cornell give us a view of to White’s stay in Germany in 1880 and his interest in German culture. In August 21st -23rd he visited the Oberammergau Passion-play, which takes place every ten years in this little rural village south of Munich and is staged by its inhabitants. Andrew D. White clearly took as many books from this tourist attraction as he was able to; he bought books reporting about the 1870 passion plays including its texts in German and English. White’s collection at Cornell is one of the largest dealing with the Oberammergau-play in the United States and contains many rare volumes. White would write his name, the date and the place where he found it on the first blank page of each volume. All of them were signed on August 21st.
The year 1880 was a very important one in the passion play’s history: The railway had been extended to the neighboring village of Murnau and 2,500 beds were awaiting the visitors. Thirtynine performances were given for 50,000 spectators. This year a housing office was established for the first time and Thomas Cook received permission to make arrangements for travelers from the U. S.; while Henry Gaze offered such services for British visitors for the first time. In 1880 the style of the court theater of Meiningen became the most influential model and consistable amounts were spent for costumes, background and ‘living tableaux’. Also the text of the play was improved by the village priest Alois Daisenberger. Professionalization is also recognizable in the environment of the play: in 1870 the court photographer of the Bavarian King Ludwig II took impressive photographs—one of the world’s first photo-series. Ten years later a group of photographers took pictures of the play (they had to pay a fee to the community of Oberammergau) and some thousand postcards of the predominant actors were produced. Local an foreign wood-carvers were offering their products and the houses of Oberammergau were freshly painted until nearly every house was in the style typical for the region. Guidebooks were available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian. Advertising, marketing and the reproduction of the play by the media reached a new level and the play became a symbol of modernity in many ways.
The tradition of the passion play is of course, noted in the Catholic church, aswas emphasized by its representatives. In 1934, for instance, it was declared a missio canonica. But journalists and intellectual like Eduard Devrient reporting about the passion and making it known during the early 19th centuries were Protestant. During the 1860ies a number of publications assume it to be “biblically” or at least “Protestant under the surface”. Oberammergau was supposed to be a place of religious consensus and a point of crystallization and synthesis of both religious creeds.
Another interesting phenomenon is that Oberammergau as the embodiment of the Bavarian village was also recognized as a typical German place. The tradition of Oberammergau would prolong old German habits of the people. It was said to be an “incomparable relic of the former Germany” and “an indestructible stronghold of the German people’s spirit”. The passion play would be one example of the singular cultural practice of “the German species of man”. Before 1871 it was said to be “a place for the German cultural nation and a sign of hope”. It is important to recognize that 1880 was the first season for the play after the Franco-Prussian war and the founding of the German Empire. As a place of national memory it became also a problematic test-case in the Kulturkampf. By the time when A. D. White arrived in August, the play had been running since June and the whole business was well established.
*I whish to express my gratitude to Michael P. Steinberg for making my stay at Cornell possible and offering me numerous suggestions. The staff of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University Library, especially Susette Newberry, assisted me in reading letters and White’s diary and gave helpful hints.
 See Glenn C. Altschuler, Andrew D. White—Educator, Historian, Diplomat. Ithaca / London 1979 and Wolfgang J. Drechsler, Andrew D. White in Deutschland. Der Vertreter der USA in Berlin. Stuttgart 1989 (=American German Studies vol. 8) as well as: E. J. Edwards, Andrew D. White: Educator and Diplomat. In: Review of Reviews 155 (12/1902); George L. Burr, Andrew Dickson White. In: Dictionary of American Biography, vol. XX. New York / London 1936; Ruth Bordin, Andrew Dickson White: Teacher of History. Ann Arbor 1958. Have also a look at the pictures in the annex.
 H. Simon; Ein amerikanisches Studentenleben, in: Deutsche Rundschau VI (1879), p. 123-136 as well as Drechsler, p. 33-37.
 See A Legacy of Ideas: Elaine D. Engst / Mark G. Dimunation, Andrew Dickson White and the founding of the Cornell University Library. Ithaca / London 1996; Carl L. Cannon, American Book Collectors and Collecting. New York 1941; Jane Moress, Andrew Dickson White and George Lincoln Burr: The Building of a Historical Library. Ithaca 1954; Rita Guerlac, Cornell’s Library. In: The Cornell Library Journal 2 (1967).
 See Drechsler, p. 65-80. See also Hartmut Lehmann, Alte und Neue Welt in wechselseitiger Sicht. Studien zu den transatlantischen Beziehungen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Göttingen 1995, esspec. the American reception of Luther and the jubilee in 1883, p. 27-106 and p. 127-166 concerning the influence of German histiography. J. Herbst, The German Historical School in American Scholarship. Ithaca 1965 and H. R. Guggisberg, Das europaeische Mittelalter im amerikanischen Geschichtsdenken des 19. und fruehen 20. Jahrhunderts. Basel 1964.
 engst / Dimunation, p. 26-34 and Martha J. Crowe / Rossel H. Robbins (Ed.), Witchraft. The Witchcraft Collection in the Cornell University Library. Millwood 1977,
 In the Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collection in Kroch Library at Cornell one can find the following titles related to White:
Henry Blackburn, The Oberammergau Passion Play. Art in the Mountains. The Story of the Passion Play. Information for Travellers. London 1880. [with signature].
Gemeinde Oberammergau (ed.), Das grosse Versoehnungsopfer auf Golgatha oder Die Leidens- und Todesgeschichte Jesu. Munich 1880.
Ferdinand Gross, Oberammergauer Passionsbriefe. Leipzig 1880.
Edward McQueen Gray, To Oberammergau and back. A practical guide for visitors to the passion play 1880. London / Oberrammergau 1880 [with signature].
John P. Jackson, The Oberammergau Passion Play: Giving the Origin of the Play, the History of the Village and People. London / Munich 1880.
John P. Jackson, The Album of the Passion Play at Oberammergau. Munich / London 1874 [with signature].
W. Wyl, Maitage in Oberammergau. Eine artistische Pilgerfahrt. In zwei Theilen. Zurich 1880 [with signature].
Olin-Library still provides the following books concerning Oberammergau, which’s connection to White can’t be proved so far:
August Hartmann, Das Oberammergauer Passionsspiel in seiner aeltesten Gestalt. Leipzig 1880.
Friedrich Lampert, Oberammergau und sein Passionsspiel 1880 nebst Fuehrer in die naechste Umgebung. Munich 1880.
W. A. Snively, Ober-Ammergau Passion Play of 1880. New York 1880.
 An actual introduction into the history of the passion play as an institution gives: Etienne Francois, Oberammergau. In: Deutsche Erinnerungsorte. Vol. 3. Munich 2001, p. 274-291. See also: Otto Guenzler / Alfred Zwink, Oberammergau—beruehmtes Dorf, beruehmte Gaeste. Drei Jahrhunderte Passionsspiele im Spiegel seiner Besucher. Munich 1950 [White is not mentioned]; Norbert Jaron / Baerbel Rudin, Das Oberammergauer Passionsspiel. Eine Chronik in Bildern. Munich 1994; Thomas Dashuber, Die Entstehung des Oberammergauer Passionsspieles. Munich / New York 2000; Elisabethe H. Corathiel, Oberammergau and its Passion Play, London 1969; Saul. S. Friedmann, The Oberammergau Passion Play. A Lance against Civilization, Carbondale 1984.
 Helmut W. Klinger, Oberammergau in den Aufnahmen des ersten Photographen Korbinian Christa. Horb on Neckar 1997. The rare volume containing the pictures is part of the Oberammergau-collection in Kroch-Library.
 It would be interesting to consider the effects of Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth-project on Oberammergau as well as the role of aura, reproduction and the (re)-construction and processes of inventing of tradition.
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