I am a graduate of the University of New Mexico. To date, I have written The Hanging Of Susanna Cox: Pennsylvania's Most Notorious Infanticide And The Legend That's Kept It Alive; Peter Montelius: Printer and Teacher, Teacher and Printer; The Forgotten Nephew: D.E. Lick; and now The Face Of A Monster: America's Frankenstein. I frequently contribute to Passed Time, a website devoted to establishing a dialogue based on primary resources as a means of preserving the history and looking at it from the perspective of those who lived it. Additionally, I run the Earnest Archives and Library, a privately held library with a focus on the contributions of Pennsylvania Germans to American history.
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The year 2018 will herald the 200th anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. The timing seems right for the story of a real monster. German-born immigrant Anton Probst arrived in New York in 1863. Within two hours of his arrival, he enlisted in the Union Army. During the American Civil War, Probst bore witness to mankind's brutality. Afterwards, he became an inmate at the disreputable Blockley Almshouse in Philadelphia.
Frankenstein was first conceived by Shelley in 1816. Her monster was an embodiment of abandonment and loneliness, feelings Shelley shared. In despair, the creature resorted to violence. Fifty years after Frankenstein's conception, Anton Probst adopted characteristics of Shelley's monstrous creation. He became Philadelphia's first mass-murderer when he slaughtered members of the Christopher Dearing family.
After his death, Probst's story continued. The creature that he had become left a deep impression on the people of Philadelphia and New York. Researchers used Anton Probst's body to show the effects of galvanization, the same means by which Frankenstein's monster stirred to life. Incredibly, similarities surface between Shelley and her circle, her monster, and events that transpired when the blood of innocents was shed an ocean away. One defining difference is present. Unlike Shelley,s creature, the story of America's monster is very real.
Reality and Fiction Intersect in The Face of a Monster, America’s Frankenstein - Patricia Earnest Suter
The newest edition of Der Reggeboge (The Rainbow) Journal of the Pennsylvania German Society is out. Established in 1891, the Pennsylvania German Society is dedicated to exploring 325 plus of Pennsylvania German history in the colonies and America. Volume 54 of Der Reggeboge is dedicated to the study of Fraktur in this case, Fraktur Fest IV! This issue includes, “In the Beginning: A Fraktur Genesis,” by Russ Earnest and Patricia Earnest Suter. In this case, the word Fraktur encompasses a discussion of the early American version of the illuminated manuscript to include religious text, New Year’s Greetings, House Blessings, Vorschrift, Birth and Baptism Certificates, and more. Additionally, articles written by June Burk Lloyd, Del-Louise Moyer, Marilyn A. Becker, and Deborah Bussert Baker complete the discussion. Beautifully illustrated, Der Reggeboge showcases both free hand and printed works. To learn more, contact the Pennsylvania German Society at www.pgs.org