The German-Texan Heritage Society was founded in 1978 by a group of participants in the Society for German-American Studies’ annual symposium.

At that time it was evident that GermanTexans needed an organization to help preserve the rich cultural heritage of the German families that immigrated to Texas since the early 1830s. In the early years of GTHS, the Society’s headquarters were unofficially based at the Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) University German Department.

One of the first tasks the founding members took on was publishing The Journal three times a year, offering information on German-Texan history, genealogy, cultural events, book reviews and more. This was followed by the publication of several books on German-Texan topics. A core group of members worked to build the organization through fundraising, new member recruitment, and
organizing an annual meeting.

An important goal of the organization was to establish a library to facilitate genealogical studies, research on German Texans, and German language publications, but the group did not find a suitable location until 1991. This was the year in which Austin artist Dr. Kelly Stevens bequeathed the historic German Free School (1857) to GTHS along with a fund for the purpose of management and maintenance of the property. The Trenckmann Library was established in the building and the German Free School Guild was formed to do much of the work associated with managing our historic property, which has historic plaques from both the City of Austin and Texas Historical Commission.

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