Annual Letter 1977

100 Ivyhurst Road
Buffalo, New York 14226
December 18, 1977

Dear Friends:

I am sorry that this letter will reach you late this year. The last few weeks have been extremely busy and Wilma will be leaving on the 21st, right after the completion of exams, to see her sister and family in Illinois before going to the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago the following week.

The most important event in our lives during this past year was the birth of our granddaughter, Sarah Elizabeth, on October 25th. Dan and Maggie have been living in Hamilton, Ontario, less than seventy miles from here, since last August so that it has been easy for us to see them and to admire Sarah developing. Sarah was born by natural childbirth with Dan present and assisting during the entire labor. Dan completed his law degree in Windsor last May and is now doing the year of articling, a sort of internship, required in Ontario for admission to the bar. He is working for a law firm in Hamilton, spent the first few months on relatively dull real estate cases but for the past several weeks has been involved in a fascinating murder trial. Maggie was working as a social worker in a home for battered wives in Windsor until the move to Hamilton. The Hamilton area is the home of many of Wilma’s relatives and Dan and Maggie have found a ready made circle of family in Hamilton.

Jeremy is continuing his work on a Ph.D. in the philosophy department at the University of Minnesota. He is now seeking to formulate a dissertation topic. He was involved this past year in a study which dealt with the ethical problems involved in the use of human subjects in medical experiments and is generally interested in the field of ethics. The employment prospects in philosophy are not exactly encouraging, nor is Jeremy entirely certain that he wants to spend his life in academia. He has become quite involved in journalism in his spare time and has a regular restaurant column in a Minneapolis weekly. He stopped with us for a few days last week on his way to Spain, where he is meeting his girl friend who has been spending the fall in Norway, and will be back here again later this month on his return to Minneapolis.

Jonathan is at home. He is a senior at Canisius College with a joint major in history and urban studies. His plans for next year are not clear yet but he is thinking of doing further work in public administration. He became quite in- volved this fall in a research paper for one of his courses on the Buffalo police force in 1855 for which he used the computerized census in the university archives. He tutored two children in an inner city school in connection with another course. A good deal of his social life centers around Canisius College where he has been particularly involved in the chess club.

Wilma has been particularly busy this past year. As student enrollments in modern languages at Canisius College have declined, the college has increasingly sought to utilize language teachers in administrative functions. Wilma was acting chairman of her department during the academic year ending in the summer, a position which she accepted with some apprehension but which went very satisfactorily. In additon she also continued in the graduate fellowship office which involves considerable student advisement. She completed a term as treasurer of the state AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and as a member of the Canisius faculty senate. She is teaching a full load of language and literature courses this year. At the same time she continues to work on her long term study of the intellectual and cultural assimilation of the Bohemian Jews in the nineteenth century and to pursue her interests in recent East (and West) German literature.

My own life has continued relatively unchanged. I continue to have lively seminars in my house on Monday evenings. In the spring I gave a seminar on Freud and the Marxians, this fall one on the consciousness of a crisis of modern civilization, both of which I taught with a colleague from Germany, Peter Heller, and both of which were well attended by students from a variety of departments and view points. There is a group of students who have come regularly to my seminars in modern intellectual history for the past several years so that there is a sense of continuity. Several of my students have been in Germany this past year working on dissertations, several students from Germany have been studying here, particularly from Darmstadt with which our department has an exchange. This summer when we were in Germany we had two reunions of students both German and American who had participated in the seminars in the past. As for my writing, I was busy during most of the year preparing a German edition of a small volume I published in this country on the reorientation of historical studies in recent years. I am now turning to the eighteenth-century historians as part of a broader history of historical writing which has occupied me for some years. For my work on the eighteenth century, I have received a grant which will enable Wilma and me to spend our sabbatical year in Germany. We shall probably leave for Göttingen in the middle of the summer and then spend the entire academic year there. As for my community involvements, I continue to be a member of the education and the executive committees of the local branch of the NAACP but find it very difficult to be involved in an effective way. School integration is proceeding painfully slowly in the city under a court order. My main commitment continues to be to the military counseling center, the successor of the draft counseling center of the Viet Nam days. The number of our clients has declined but we continued to work during the year both with long-term AWOL’s who were covered by the Carter program and with short-term AWOL’s, mostly very young soldiers from disadvantaged backgrounds, who were not covered and who very much needed counseling and support. I continue to be active in the exchange program, now operating on a very modest scale, with Philander Smith College in Little Rock, where Wilma and I taught twenty years ago and enjoy the opportunity of going there once a year and maintaining contacts.

During the summer we spent several very nice weeks in Rauschenwasser with our good friends Frau Bokemeyer and Frau Kube while doing research in nearby Göttingen. Maggie met us midway during our stay and she and Wilma went to Czechoslovakia to visit friends and relatives. The personal atmosphere in Czechoslovakia was heart- warming, the political climate bleaker than ever with the increased repression which followed the issuance of Chatter ‘77.

With all best wishes for the New Year,

Georg, Wilma and Jonathan Iggers

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