Skip to main content

How The Baron Got His Day

May 2024
1min read

Baron von Steuben lay in his northern New York grave more or less forgotten by everyone but scholars of the American Revolution until 1919. Then German-Americans, deeply disturbed by the propaganda generated by World War I, set about reviving him as a symbol of their patriotism. Chapters of the Steuben Society were founded in cities and towns with large German-American populations. During the 1930s they were vociferously anti-Nazi. In 1958, the 275th anniversary of the first German immigration to America, New York Steubenites began marching up Fifth Avenue, like the Irish-Americans on St. Patrick’s Day. The idea spread to Philadelphia and Chicago. All three parades now take place within a week of Steuben’s birthday, September 17.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.