Before World War I, Iowa had about 40 thriving German-language newspapers. By 1926, all but four had ceased publication.
Anti-German sentiment during the war caused the majority of these papers to either switch to English or close operations entirely, including Iowa's premier German-American newspaper, the Davenport Demokrat that at one time had a circulation of 12,000.
A presentation on the demise of these newspapers will begin at 2 p.m., Sunday at the German American Heritage Center, 712 W. 2nd St., Davenport.
Glenn Ehrstine, associate professor of German at the University of Iowa, will document the decline of the German-Iowan press between 1915 and 1925, drawing upon the State Historical Society's extensive collection of German-Iowan newspapers.
In particular, the talk will focus on Postville's Iowa Volksblatt, the Muscatine Herald, and Davenport's Iowa Reform. The first two papers switched to English in an effort to survive, but then ceased publication.
Iowa Reform, however, continued to publish in German and survived until 1943, becoming Iowa's last newspaper to provide its readers with current political news in a language other than English.
The program is free with regular museum admission, which is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children.