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Pochmann Family Papers

Identifier: A-0025

Scope and Contents

The first two boxes of the collection pertain to Ruth Pochmann. The collection includes her correspondence with various editors, personal correspondence and letters about awards and honors. A biographical sketch or "vita" of Mrs. Pochmann by Essie Richardson and an article and program about Mrs. Pochmann receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award of 1981 at SFA are contained in the collection. There are also many pages of handwritten notes by Mrs. Pochmann.

Some notes are about Mrs. Pochmann's heritage and training. Most of the notes pertain to topics she may have discussed in her radio broadcasts for WHA such as crafts, hobbies, antiques, home building and furnishing, jewelry, antique glass, china, pottery, and furniture. Several typescripts of her radio broadcasts about antiques are included. Mrs. Pochmann's brother, W. C. (Casey) Fouts, of Nacogdoches, is mentioned often in the collection.

The boxes contain correspondence, notes, clippings, and articles pertaining to Mrs. Pochmann's book, 'Triple Ridge Farm.' The typed manuscript called 'A Farm is to Love' by Ruth Pochmann eventually became the book 'Triple Ridge Farm.' There is also a 1967 typed manuscript of 'Triple Ridge Farm' and an account of the experiences Mrs. Pochmann and her family had while reclaiming a rocky hill farm near Coloma, Wisconsin.

The third through the sixth boxes of the collection pertain to Dr. Pochmann. The collection has his correspondence with Harold S. Jantz of Clark University in Worcester, MA during the 1940s in which they critique one another's writings. Also included is Dr. Pochmann's correspondence with Karl J. Arndt of Clark University's German Department who helped him write a 'Biographical Dictionary of German-American Editors and Journalists.' There is also personal correspondence with A. W. Birdwell and some relatives.

There are programs, articles and correspondence about the Conference on Immigration in American History, held at the University of Minnesota January 29-30, 1960. Dr. Pochmann gave a speech entitled "The Migration of Ideas" at the conference. In 1961, the published proceedings included his speech were published. Dr. Henry S. Commager edited the volume, entitled 'Immigration and American History.'

Programs, notes, and a map about conventions of the Modern Language Association are also included. The collection has programs, mementos, speeches, awards, honors, clippings, articles, and biographies about Dr. Pochmann. There is one reel of microfilm, a typescript of the manuscript for Dr. Pochmann's book, 'German Culture in America: Philosophical and Literary Influences, 1600-1900,' as well as articles and reviews about the book. Articles, notes, reviews, and pamphlets about other works of Dr. Pochmann are included.

The sixth box of the collection contains some correspondence and research about Mark Twain as well as fifteen essays written by Dr. Pochmann's students for his Mark Twain Seminars during 1966-1968.

The seventh box contains articles, book reviews, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and notes about Henry and Ruth Pochmann; manuscripts of other authors; Round Top, TX, Henry Pochmann's hometown; Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top; Henry Pochmann's great grandfather Traugott Wantkeand, who built the pipe organ of Bethlehem Lutheran Church; and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson's visit to Round Top in 1967 are also included.

Box eight has original writings of Ruth Pochmann, including poetry, a play and fictional as well as non-fictional prose, some of which have been entered in contests. She took a creative writing course taught by Sinclair Lewis at the University of Wisconsin in 1945 and the collection has some class notes about Lewis and his advice to his students. There are diary notes by Mrs. Pochmann from 1969-1970. The collection features tributes to Henry Pochmann, an extended vita and some additional book reviews.


  • Creation: 1910-1981

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Virginia Ruth Fouts Pochmann (1903-1993) was born on March 20, 1903 in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her parents were Wilbur Courtland and Lela (Roquemore) Fouts. She graduated from Nacogdoches High School and then, during 1920-1923, attended Southern Methodist University. Mrs. Pochmann received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College in the first graduating class of 1925. After earning her Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in New York in 1927, she married Henry August Pochmann on Sept. 11, 1928. They had one daughter, Virginia Ruth (Mrs. Theodore P. Weis).

Mrs. Pochmann was known as an educator and author. She gained experience as a teacher at Nacogdoches Junior and High Schools (1923-1924), Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College (1924-1928), Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge (1929), the University of Mississippi (1930-1931), Mississippi State College (1932-1935) and the U. S. Air Force Institute (1941-1943). Subjects taught included Physiology, Ancient History, Spanish, English Grammar, American and English Literature, and Creative Writing. She was an active member of study clubs, garden clubs, and the Methodist Church wherever she lived. She acted in the Little Theatres in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and won the Best Actress Award in the Texas State Little Theatre Tournament in 1928.

Mrs. Pochmann had experience in writing radio scripts and broadcasting for WHA (the oldest radio station in the nation) in Madison, Wisconsin. She discussed garden problems, landscaping small yards, horticultural topics, old pewter, old china, old glassware, Christmas legends concerning flowers, and book reviews.

In 1942, Mrs. Pochmann authored a genealogy, 'Some Early Texas Families,' which included the Roquemore, Lacey, Fouts, Pochmann, Burrows, and one hundred and fifty related families. Mrs. Pochmann did postgraduate work at the University of Wisconsin from 1958 to 1959. In 1954, the Pochmann's bought a Waushara County, Wisconsin farm for fun and Mrs. Pochmann began a daily journal which led to her writing a non-fiction book, 'Triple Ridge Farm.' In 1968, William Morrow and Co. published the book and it became a best seller and was adopted by three book clubs: Farm Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, and Christian Advocate. The book won several honors including the Hull Award and was placed on the Ambassador's List of 1968.

Mrs. Pochmann was listed in several 'Who's Who' including the prestigious 'Who's Who in America' by Marquis. Dr. and Mrs. Pochmann moved to Nacogdoches early in 1971. Annually, Mrs. Pochmann would give the "Ruth Pochmann Literary Award" to the student in Nacogdoches High School who had shown the most potential for becoming a creative writer. In 1973, she established a $10,000 scholarship for SFA through the Alumni Association. Mrs. Pochmann died December 5, 1993 and is buried next to her husband in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Henry August Pochmann (1901-1973) was born on January 5, 1901 in Round Top, Texas, about 70 miles west of Houston in Fayette County. He received his early public school education in Round Top. Mr. Pochmann attended high school at Round Top and Main Avenue High School in San Antonio. He then attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1923 majoring in English and mathematics. While attending college, he edited 'The College Star' during 1922-1923. Mr. Pochmann received a Master of Arts degree in English at the University of Texas in 1924 writing the thesis "The Mind of Mark Twain." He taught English at Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College during 1924-1926. In 1928, Mr. Pochmann received a Ph. D. degree at the University of North Carolina writing the dissertation, "The Influence of the German Tale on the American Short Story (Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe)," which won the $500 Smith Prize for the best dissertation for the year. Dr. Pochmann married Virginia Ruth Fouts of Nacogdoches on September 11, 1928. He taught English at Louisiana State University during 1928-1930 and lectured during the summers at S. F. A. State Teachers College (1928 and 1929) and Southwest Texas State College (1930). Dr. Pochmann served as a professor of English and the head of the Department of English at the University of Mississippi during 1930-1931. In 1931, he published two articles: "Irving's German Tour and its Influence on His Tales" (in the December issue of 'Publication of the Modern Language Association') and "Irving's German Sources in 'The Sketch Book'" (in 'Studies of Philology'). He then served as the head of the English Department at Mississippi State College during 1932-1938. He continued to lecture in summer schools for universities in Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas. During April 1 through September 1, 1934, Dr. and Mrs. Pochmann traveled and conducted research in Europe especially at the British Museum in London. In the fall of 1934, he published a book called 'Washingt Irving' as one of a series of 20 books called the "American Writers Series" and prepared under the general editorship of Harry H. Clark of the University of Wisconsin.

In 1936, Dr. Pochmann became the Dean of a newly created Graduate School at Mississippi State College and served as Dean until 1938 when he accepted a position as Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. He remained there until his retirement in 1971 when he moved to Nacogdoches. His seminar on Mark Twain was a particular favorite with doctoral candidates on the Madison campus. Dr. Pochmann published several books while teaching at the University of Wisconsin, including 'Masters of American Literature' (with Gay Wilson Allen), 1949; 'New England Transcendentalism and St. Louis Hegelianism,' 1949; and 'Bibliography of German Culture in America (to 1940),' 1953.

His bibliography on American and German culture appeared second in a group of works treating American and French, Spanish, Italian, Scandinavian, and Russian culture. Dr. Mumford Jones wrote the first volume about American and French culture. In the 1930s, Dr. Pochmann began tracing German culture in America during the years 1600-1900. After 25 years of effort and such delays as a change in publishers, wartime unpopularity of his subject, an airplane crash which damaged his proofs, a dock strike delaying delivery of the finished text, and two revisions during which he had to cut about 400 pages from his book, Dr. Pochmann published his 865 page work: 'German Culture in America, 1600-1900: Philosophical and Literary Influences' in 1957. The book traces the influences of German traditions upon American character as they show through the writings of perhaps a hundred native American authors. The book was included in the White House Library and was placed on the United States Ambassador's List. It won the $1000 Loubat Prize awarded by the Trustees of Columbia University. During the late 1960s, Dr. Pochmann worked as editor-in-chief of a 28-volume series on Washington Irving for the first three volumes. The series was called 'The Complete Works, Journals, and Letters of Washington Irving.'

Dr. Pochmann was active in the Modern Languages Association, a professional organization of American, Canadian, and European college and university professors of modern language and literature. During the mid 1930s he served as chairman of the Bibliographical Committee of the Anglo German group which published annually a bibliography in the 'Journal of English and Germanic Philology.' Also he was appointed chairman of the nominating committee which nominated several officers of the association and two members of the advisory council. Dr. Pochmann attended meetings and conventions of the Modern Language Association of America held in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Missouri during 1933-1936. He continued to serve on various committees of the Association through 1970. Other groups that Dr. Pochmann identified with were Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, American Studies Association, Bibliographical Society of America, and the Modern Humanities Research Association. Dr. Pochmann died on January 13, 1973 and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches.

(Pochmann, Ruth. "Pochmann, Henry August, Ph.D." and "Pochmann, Ruth Fouts." Nacogdoches County Families. Dallas: Curtis Publishing Corporation, 1985. pp. 534-535).


3.00 Cubic Feet


This collection is described in 144 folders and was originally housed in seven clamshell boxes and a microfilm box (Box 4). Boxes 1-5 were consolidated into a single banker's box. the original folder numbering for boxes 1-8 remains in place. The collection is organized at the folder level.

Guide to the Pochmann Family Papers
Emily Kerr
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository