of Theodore Fontane
Theodor Fontane



The Poem

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Research Articles

Origin of the Ship's Name

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Bibliography and Links



Two Research Articles by George Salomon
Three Research Articles by Norman Barry

Read George Salomon's 1965 Fontane Blätter article in German.

Read Norman Barry's English translation of the Fontane Blätter article.

Read Norman Barry's transcription of the 1964 Niagara Frontier article in English.

Read Norman Barry's 2007 research article in English.

Read Norman Barry's updated 2008 Fontane Blätter article in English.

Read Norman Barry's updated 2008 Fontane Blätter article in German.

Read Norman Barry's 2008 THE TRIANGLE in English.

Read Norman Barry's 2008 THE TRIANGLE in German.

(Please be patient when clicking on these links. The PDF documents are large and may take some time to download.)

George Salomon published two articles that present some of the most thorough research on the background of the poem, "John Maynard." In 1964, "John Maynard of Lake Erie: The Genesis of a Legend" was printed in the Niagara Frontier, a publication of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Then, in 1965, the Fontane Blätter printed "„Wer ist John Maynard?“ Fontanes tapferer Steuermann und sein amerikanisches Vorbild." Building on those articles and taking a fresh approach to an examination of the origins of "John Maynard," Norman Barry, with the benefit of access to many internet sources, has written a third research article in 2007. Here is the history of how these three articles have reached this website.

In 2002, Lutz Weide, who had found my web pages, e-mailed me an electronic copy of the Fontane Blätter article and suggested that I put it on my site. I responded that we would have to find out about the copyright provisions for the article before I could put it on the web.

Lutz immediately contacted the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv in Potsdam, publishers of the Fontane Blätter, and asked for permission. They responded that the author also had rights and that they couldn't grant permission unless the author agreed.

Lutz had also asked me to find out something about the author, George Salomon. He wondered how a man from New York had managed to have an article published in German behind the Iron Curtain in 1965.

When I looked for information about George Salomon, I discovered that he had donated the notes from his research for the article to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. I visited that library to see if the notes would give me any clues about who George Salomon was. The only clue they gave me was a return address he had used on several letters of inquiry. I looked that address up on the internet and discovered that someone with the same last name still lived there. The letter I sent to that address was returned to me, but fortunately the Post Office had supplied a forwarding address.

Very shortly I received a lovely reply from George Salomon's wife, Mathilde. She explained that "George Salomon came to this country as a teenager, a refugee from Nazi Germany in 1937... For many years, until his death in 1981, George worked for the American Jewish Committee. He was a writer, editor, translator and manager of the publications department."

She also explained that one time, when he passed through Buffalo on at trip, memories of "John Maynard" and Theodor Fontane came back to him and motivated him to pursue his research for two articles, one published in the Niagara Frontier in English in 1964, and one published in German in the Fontane Blätter in 1965.

Mathilde put me in touch by e-mail with her sons, both of whom are professors at American universities. They both agreed that there was nothing very unusual about scholarly communication across the Iron Curtain. Their father had wanted to publish his article in the most appropriate place, and the Fontane Blätter in Potsdam was the logical choice.

One of the sons consulted with his mother about placing the article on this website, and they both agreed that it would be a good idea. They granted permission by e-mail.

Lutz immediately informed the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv that the author's heirs had granted permission, and they graciously granted their permission.

In preparing the article for the web, I have preserved the original page numbers, and I have tried to reproduce it as faithfully as I can.

I am very grateful to Lutz Weide for initiating the process by scanning the original article, e-mailing it to me, and getting permission from the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv; to Mathilde, Frank, and Richard Salomon for sharing much information with me and granting permission to put the article on the web; and to Dr. Christine Hehle at the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv for sending the final message of permission.

In 2007 Norman Barry (who has made many other contributions to this website) felt that we should provide an English translation of Salomon's Fontane Blätter article. With the blessing of the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, he tackled the project. I'm pleased to be able to provide you with his fine translation. It contains an added bonus; a new translation of Fontane's "Tay Bridge" is included in the appendix, following the translation.

Norman also transcribed the original Niagara Frontier article so that we could include it on this page. He says, "Although the material in the Niagara Frontier (1964) and the Fontane Blätter (1965) necessarily overlaps in many instances, Salomon's article in the Fontane Blätter is more 'academic' and delves more deeply into the questions as to the date when Fontane composed his ballad and where and how he came upon his material. I believe the two articles tend to complement one another."

Norman followed these translation and transcription efforts with further extensive research and analysis, all of which resulted in the development of his own research article. He brought together all of his ideas in one grand synthesis: "Fontane's "John Maynard": History in the Role of Poetry's Handmaid, A Close Look at Literary and Historical Precedents."

Having continued his research and having developed new theories about sources of Fontane's "John Maynard," Norman Barry submitted an article to the Fontane Blätter. It was published in Potsdam, Germany, in Volume 85, 2008, pp. 150-170. Naturally, he wrote an English version to share it with as many readers as possible.

Finally, in June, 2008, Norman Barry brought together more research results in an article called THE TRIANGLE: THREE GERMAN LAKE ERIE BALLADS. IS EMIL RITTERSHAUS THE CATALYST BEHIND ADA LINDEN'S AND THEODOR FONTANE'S "JOHN MAYNARD" BALLADS? He presents this work in both English and German, and he continually updates this and other works as he uncovers new information.

I hope you will enjoy reading the articles. Click here for the original German Fontane Blätter article.. Click here for the English translation. Click here for the Niagara Frontier article. Click here for Norman Barry's 2007 research article. Click here for Norman Barry's 2008 updated Fontane Blätter article in English. Click here for Norman Barry's 2008 Fontane Blätter article in German. Click here for Norman Barry's 2008 THE TRIANGLE in English. Click here for Norman Barry's 2008 THE TRIANGLE in German.

--Anne Huberman


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