German Studies Department

German has been offered at Davidson since 1874. At that time, depending on the finances, Davidson offered classes from either one or two language departments, and in 1874, Davidson College offered classes from both the Greek and German Department and Latin and French Department. In that year, William Myron Thornton was the professor of Greek and German. By 1900, Davidson was offering a two-year course in German taught by one professor, Professor Harding. It wasn’t until 1912 that Davidson hired a second German professor, Professor Lingle. In this same year, the two-year German course ended, and the professors began teaching three German classes: Elementary German, Beginning German for Advanced Students, and Literature and Grammar. In 1936, the German Department experienced an increase in students while other languages such as Spanish and French were decreasing in size. As a result, more German courses were being offered such as Scientific German and Contemporary Literature. The two-faculty department ended in the 1950s, and in 1966, the German department consisted of a faculty of six professors.

German became both a major and a minor in 1954. In this year, eight courses were offered including: The Romantic Movement in Germany, Goethe’s Faust, Modern German Literature, and Introduction to German Classicism, Romanticism, and Realism. As of 2014, the German Studies department still offers a major and a minor and offers 34 courses to students, eight of which are offered in the Fall of 2014.

Davidson began its first study-abroad program in 1964 by offering a Junior Year Abroad for 15 students at a university and France and 15 students at a university in Germany. A year-long program in Germany was offered until 2006. In 2008, a new program started in collaboration with Duke that offers either a semester or year abroad in Berlin.

Works Cited:

Beaty, Mary D. A History of Davidson College. Briarpatch Press, 1988.

“German.” Davidson College Catalog. 1874-2014.

Author: Meredith Pintler ’16
Date: 11 August 2014
Cite as: Pintler, Meredith, “German Studies Department” Davidson Encyclopedia, 11 August 2014.

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