Edward George Hartmann was born on 3 May 1912 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA, the son of Louis Hartmann (1877-1954) and his wife Catherine (née Jones-Davies, 1877-1940). Catherine was three years old when her family emigrated to the United States. Her father, Edward R. Jones, came from Penhernwenfach, near Llanwrtyd Wells, in Breconshire. Edward Hartmann recalled that Catherine's mother, Jane Davies, came from 'Tynllwyn', also in Breconshire. Catherine Hartmann proudly claimed descent from 'some of the oldest families of the Irfon Valley', and direct descent from the Llwyn-On family, who were among the founders of Troedrhiwdalar Congregational Chapel, which she told Edward was the oldest existing dissenting chapel in Wales, dating from 1590. Edward had one brother, Louis (1906-1983).
The coalmining town of Wilkes-Barre was, along with Scranton, the centre of the greatest concentration of Welsh immigrants to the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century. Wilkes-Barre was a magnet for immigrant workers and Hartmann recalled, 'I grew up with Poles and Slovaks and Ukrainians and so on', and this helps explain his subsequent specialism as a historian.
Hartmann obtained his AB and AM from Bucknell University in 1937 and 1938 respectively. From 1943-46, he served in the U.S. Army in Europe as combat historian of the 90th Infantry Division. After his Second World War service, he obtained his PhD from Columbia University, New York, in 1947, writing his thesis on 'The Movement to Americanize the Immigrant'. Then, he recalled, 'I had the GI Bill, and I thought, well, I'll get myself another degree.' That degree was a BS in Library Studies in 1948.
During 1942-1943, Hartmann taught History at the Ann-Reno Institute in New York City. In 1946-1947, he taught at Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, and then at City College, New York (1947-1948). In 1948, he was offered the post of Director of Libraries at Suffolk University, Boston, at a salary of $5000 per annum, which he described as 'a wonderful salary in those days'. He was Suffolk's Director of Libraries for nine years and a member of the History faculty for 30 years. He retired in 1978. Hartmann's academic and administrative reputation was such that he was included for many years in Who's Who in America?
Amongst Hartmann's publications were: The Movement to Americanize the Immigrant, Columbia University Press, 1948; A History of American Immigration, Rand McNally, 1967; Americans from Wales, Boston: Christopher House, 1967 (reprinted in 1978 and 1983, New York: Octagon Books, and by the National Welsh-American Foundation in 2001); History of the Welsh Congregational Church of the City of New York, 1801-1951, Swansea, 1969; American Immigration, Lerner Publishing Group, 1979; The Welsh of Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming Valley, St David's Society of Wyoming Valley, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1985, which Hartmann described as 'a history of my own community'. Hartmann described himself as 'an ethnic historian, meaning my emphasis is broader than just plain Welsh, such as immigration, Americanization, and things of that sort.' When he wrote his thesis it was, as he said, 'before all the interest in immigrants... So I'm sort of a pioneer in the field among many others...'
Hartmann was active in maintaining Welsh-American links, noting in his Americans from Wales how he took pride in Welsh achievements in the United States. That pride in his Welsh ancestry led him to become a founding member of the National Welsh-American Foundation, whose Heritage Medal he was awarded in 1991. His services to Welsh-American relations were also recognised when he was awarded the Welsh Society of Philadelphia's Gold Medallion in 1966, and the St David's Society of the State of New York Hopkins Medal in 1970. He was an honorary vice president of both Wales International (1975-95) and the Honourable Society of the Cymmrodorion of London (1983-95).
Hartmann died on 26 October 1995 at Wilkes-Barre, and was buried in St Nicholas cemetery in Shavertown, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Published date: 2022-10-31
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