The Meaning of Names is the Title for this Months Book Discussion at Homestead National Monument of America

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Date: May 12, 2015

“The Meaning of Names” is the Title for this Month’s Book Discussion
at Homestead National Monument of America

You are invited to join the Beatrice Public Library Book Discussion on Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 7 p.m. at Homestead National Monument of America's Education Center. The book for this month, "The Meaning of Names" by Karen Gettert Shoemaker, is about the prejudice shown towards German immigrants during WWI. The library is honored to have Dr. Charles Joahanningsmeier leading the discussion.This event is cosponsored by the Library and Homestead National Monument of America.


"The Meaning of Names" was selected as the One Book, One Omaha title for 2014. Dr. Johanningsmeier was one of the special presenters who provided public programs to complement this book. To properly appreciate this novel, Dr. Johanningsmeier feels, it helps a great deal to fully understand the cultural context of the American home front during World War I. In his presentation "The Meaning of (German) Names in Nebraska, 1914-1920", he will illustrate this background and follow it with a discussion among audience members about the book.

Set in Nebraska during World War I, THE MEANING OF NAMES tells the story of a German-American woman trying to raise a family during extraordinary times. Suddenly "liberty cabbage" replaces sauerkraut on food menus, job advertisements warn "no Krauts need apply" and neighbors demand that the nearby university stop leading courses in "that vile language." At the same time that nationalism is leading to widespread prejudice again German-Americans, the influenza epidemic of 1918 is killing millions. This book reminds us of the bonds that hold us together and the fears that can tear us apart.

Dr. Joahanningsmeier is a Professor of American Literature in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He teaches courses on a wide range of subjects, including American Immigrant Narratives, American Regionalist Fiction, and Willa Cather. He has more than 30 published books and articles that deal chiefly with American literary works published between 1865 and 1940. He has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Leipzig in Germany. During the past few years, he has used his knowledge of German language and culture to research and publish a number of articles about American literary texts in Germany.

Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM), Facebook (HomesteadNM), and Instagram (HomesteadNPS).

 Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit



Last updated: May 15, 2015

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