Singing Societies

100 Year Anniversary-United Singers of Baltimore 1936

Did you have an ancestor in one of the many 'Singing Societies'?

(Check out this list from a Baltimore Sunpaper Article, dated February 25, 1902.  The choirs joined together for a special welcome for Prince Henry!)

Arbeiter Maennerchor 

 Arbeiter Maennerchor Baltimore 1903

Baltimore Liederkranz

The group was founded in 1836 and merged with the Germania Männerchor in 1899.  It was the second oldest singing society in the United States, the first being Philadelphia (1835).  Those two groups invited each other to their visit.  The Baltimore group made a motion and invited Philadelphia to a fraternal union.  The Baltimore group visited Philadelphia on March 13, 1837 and the Philadelphia group visited Baltimore on March 28, 1837.  This was considered the first ‘Sängerfeste’ in the history of the United States.  The public was admitted to the third of such gatherings in Philadelphia in 1846.  It is interesting to note that both societies were founded by the same man.  The Philadelphia Männerchor, founded on January 15, 1835 by German immigrant Phillip Matthias Wohlseiffer existed until 1962. The following year, in 1836, Herr Wohlseiffer, an accomplished musician from the Rhineland, moved to Baltimore where he founded the Baltimore Liederkranz.

Edelweiss of Baltimore 1903


Eichenkranz means oak wreath in English.  Its members came to Baltimore in the late 1800s.  Philip Wagner founded a German social club/singing societyon March 18, 1894.  Its name was Eichenkranz.  The director of the group was Prof. G. Poehlman.  The original headquarters was located at Fait Street and East Ave.  The original membership was 13.  They frequently gathered at the Highland Academy or Conklin Hall as it was commonly called.  It was located at the corner of Conkling Street and Eastern Avenue.   They would frequently perform there with a 30 voice choir.  On June 8, 1934, the Eichenkranz Ladies Choir was founded.  On November 16, 1939 the Eichenkranz was incorporated and opened its doors in a newly build residence for them at 611 South Fagley Street.  Eichenkranz was host to many events and served its old world fare to the public in its 1st floor dining room.  Many of the original members passed away and the club membership dwindled.   Note:  Eichenkranz closed it's doors after 75 years.  See the Sunpaper article here.

The man in the striped shirt is Christian Neumeister, the bar manager! 

A crab feast at the Eichenkranz Restaurant in Highlandtown.  The name stands for 'Oak Leaf'.  Left to Right:  Langenfelder-a fish company President Schmidt Bakery, Brewmaster for National Brewery, Exec with Oriole baseball, Governor's son, Herbert R. O'Connor, Jr. and Patrick Roche-VP of National Brewing Company (and grandfather of John Millard (The Wire).  

If you know any additional names or information, email us at GermanMarylanders@

Big Thanks to David Langenfelder!


In 1954, members of a German-American singing society gathered over steamed crabs and beer at the (now closed) Eichenkranz Restaurant in East Baltimore's Highlandtown, which was then a working class ethnic neighborhood. Bodine (1906-1970) was an internationally recognized, award winning photographer for the Baltimore Sunpapers.

The restaurant aspect of the club flourished.  The club ultimately disbanded, giving its club treasury to the Baltimore Kickers.  The building was sold to private parties and the restaurant and the name carried on.  In the seventies it became the Kozy Inn, but reopened as Eichenkranz in 1985.  After several owners and another closing the present owners Harold and Audrey Bowles reopened the restaurant in 1990.  It was been completely remodeled and opened September 21, 1991.  Closed May 1, 2015.

Was someone in your family a member of the Eichenkranz Männerchor or Damenchor? 

Eichenkranz Officers 1936 & 1956

See the members of the 1939 Eichenkranz Choirs

Program-April 23, 1944 at the Lyric Theater

Eichenkranz Anniversary Concert-50 Years 1894-1944

Eichenkranz Ladies Chorus-10 Years 1934-1944

Check the names of the Officers, Patrons and Advertisers

Read the Histories

The program also includes a list of those members serving in the Armed Forces (page 3 of program)

You may just find a family member!!!!

Program, Minute books & Photo of Eichenkranz Ribbons:  Courtesy of Michael Miller

Michael's Grandparents, Karl and Martina Bauer were proud members of the Eichenkranz Manner and Damen Chor until it disbanded.
Several photos were added after being donated by Trudy Siemer.  They are marked with her name.  Her family was the Beutgen and Brown families.  Photos at bottom of page.  If you can identify anyone, please email 

Additional photos of Eichenkranz below!

Frohsinn Singing Society

Frohsinn meaning cheerfulness or mirth.  This singing society was founded on November 14, 1872.  It began with 13 members and grew to rank fifth among the singing societies of Baltimore.  The organizers were F. Elenbrok, J. Muenzing, F. Steinwedel, A. Steinwedel, C. Gackenheimer, C. Murbach, J. Murbach, G. Steinwedel, H. Sander, C. Steinwedel, A. Gayer, C.F. Meyer and Otto Buchner.  They celebrated their Silver Anniversary in 1897.  The celebration began with a concert at Germania Hall on Lombard near Paca Street.  It concluded with a banquet at the hall of the society, Frohsinn Hall, located on Frederick Avenue and Payson Street.   This was a big event in Baltimore and many of the elite from the singing societies attended.  The concert was under the direction of Prof. Hubert Kruppel.  Many gifts were presented to the society[1]

The hall was purchased on August 20, 1894.  Prior to owning the hall most of their concerts were given at the Concordia Opera House.  The Hall was sold in 1912 to Frank Steil Brewing Company.  The price was $9,500.

There was also a very active Frohsinn Ladies’ Society that planned and sponsored many events[2].

[1] The Baltimore Sunpaper, November 15, 1897, page 10

[2] The Baltimore Sunpaper, September 19, 1909, page 21


The Germania Männerchor (men’s choir) was established in 1856, with quarters first at 192-194 W. Lombard St., then 212 (ca. 1882-1886) and 410 (ca. 1888-1912) W. Lombard St., and finally at 848-850 N. Howard St. (ca. 1913-1917). In August of 1871, the choir performed at the Schützenfest held by the Baltimore Schuetzen Society at the society’s park on Belair Road (south of North Ave. and east of Gay St.), an annual event from the 1860s to 1890s featuring prize shooting, bowling, music, dancing, illuminations, and fireworks. In 1906, the organization maintained offices at 410-412 W. Lombard St., a performance hall at 408 W. Lombard St., and a Country Club at Garrison Ave. and W. Arlington. It also celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee with plenty of festivities.  The Germania Männerchor was one of 40 German singing societies in Baltimore in 1890.  Unfortunately as with the schools and the newspapers, many of these established cultural events disappeared at the onset of World War I.  The Germania Männerchor disappears from the Baltimore Directory after 1917.

However, in the late 1930s, there were still cultural and social activities of the Baltimore German community taking place in the same location as the Germania Männerchor’s last venue: Lehmann Hall (around 850-856 N. Howard St.) was the site of theatrical and musical events including performances of a Männerchor, a Junger Männerchor, and a Kinderchor (children’s choir).

News Article Names those in Germania Chor-1909

News Article 'Germania Plays the Steel Pier'

Germania Quartet Club 1938

                                 Germania Maennerchor-1903

Harmonie Singing Society

Harmonie Singing Society 1903

Photo Courtesy of

Harmonie Founded in 1853

Photo from 1938

The Harmonie Singing Society was founded in the old St. Stephen's Lutheran Church on Hamburg and Hanover Sts.  They became independent on 7-4-1853.  They met on W. Fayette Street. The Building Society was incorporated for the purpose of buying, selling, leasing, improving, disposing of and otherwise dealing in land. The Society's first project was to purchase a building at 414 W. Fayette Street, and rent it back to the Singing Society.

The Singing Society remained there until 1905, when the premises were rented to the Gottlieb, Bauernschmidt, Strauss Brewing Company. In 1911, the brewing company agreed to lease the third floor back to the Singing Society.

In 1903, an offshoot of the Harmonie Singing Society was founded: the Harmonie Schützen Verein. The shooting society was one of a number in Baltimore established by the German community.

The Harmonie Singing Society was involved in programs with national and international societies. They had relationship with the Lancaster Verein in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Wien Verein in Vienna, Austria.

Harmonie Celebrates their 40th Anniversary  7-5-1893

They celebrated their 75th Anniversary on October 24, 1928 with a concert at the Lyric. 

The Harmonie Singing Society disbanded sometime after 1957.

Metzgerchor (The Butchers)

Metzgerchor-1905 (Butchers)

1903 Saengerfest Gala-Baltimore

Newspaper Note

The New York Times reported in an article on 11.1.1892 that of the five leading singing groups in Baltimore, four are considering leaving the Baltimore Sängerbund or the United Singers of Baltimore. It reported that the Germania Männerchor voted to withdraw from the United Singers at their meeting.  The four groups were the Germania Männerchor, Arion Society, Arbeiter Männerchor and the Baltimore Liederkranz. 


In 1854, and again in 1859, the Grand National Sängerbund assembled in Baltimore.  This group was established because not only was Baltimore blessed with a large number of choral groups, so too, were areas surrounding Baltimore and Maryland, such as Brooklyn, New York; Camden, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Neward, Washington, Wilmington, Wilkes Barre, etc.  This led to the Northeastern Sängerbund that consisted of a membership that exceeded 6000.

The group met in Baltimore in 1903.  The festivities were held at the Fifth Regiment Armory.  It was a four day event that included picnics, parades and a festival address delivered by the then president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.  Competition was divided depending on the size of the group and awards were given to the best choral group with 200+ members and one for those under 200 members.  There were also special awards for the ‘best musical composition’ and for the ‘best poem that could be set to music’.  A special prize, a gift from the German Emperor, William II (Kaiserpreis), drew special attention.  It was a statuette, two and a half feet high, the work of a silversmith, said to be valued at $20,000.  As a finale, the Star Spangled Banner was sung in German.

The group held these large festivals every three years.  

By the late 30's there were 10 German singing societies in Baltimore, including the Harmonie which met on W. Fayette St., and the Arion and Damenchor, both of which met in Arion Hall on Frederick Ave. In 1938, Baltimore German societies, including the Deutsches Ring, were consolidated in the Deutsches Haus, in the former BrynMawr Schoolbuilding at Cathedral and Preston Sts. At about this same time, Baltimore hosted a national saengerfest (choral festival). By 1969 the only remaining German singing societies were the Arion Singing Society, the Eichenkranz Society, the Deutscher Damenchor Society, and the Eichenkranz Damenchor Society.

Photo provided by Patricia Siebert
(Patricia's grandfather is fourth from the right on the first row.

Thalia Maennerchor

Officers of the Saengerfest Association and Officers of the United Singers of Baltimore

Saengerfest Association

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, there were a large number of singing societies that comprised more than 500 members:

(If you have information, news articles, programs, etc., that you would like to contribute on any of the above, please email me at

They joined forces to form The United Singers of Baltimore (See program at top of this page) and held large concerts, many of which were held in Germania’s Hall at 410-412 West Lombard Street.  The United Singers took part in memorial services and provided charity concerts.

See also Baltimore Liederkrantz above. 

The United Singers of Baltimore

In the spring of 1837 the two oldest German Singing societies, the Philadelphia Männerchor (1835) and the Baltimore Liederkranz (1836) paid each other a visit.  The Baltimore organization made a motion and invited the other group to form a fraternal union.  On the 13th of March 1837, Baltimore visited Philadelphia and on the 28th of March the Männerchor made a return visit to Baltimore.  These engagements are regarded as the first ‘Sängerfeste’ in the musical history of the United States.  The mixed chorus idea was not new.  The New York Liederkranz accepted the ladies of Zionskirche in Baltimore as members in 1838.  

The ‘Sängerfests’ became a public event in 1846 with many of the concerts being held in open air venues.  It was not uncommon to host 20,000+ at these events. 

The ‘push’ behind these events was the work of Philipp Matthias Wolsieffer (1808 Rhenish Palatinate).  He arrived in Philadelphia in 1835 and founded their Männerchor and came to Baltimore to teach at the Zion School.  There he became the founder of the Baltimore Liederkranz. 

The events were very competitive.  The judges were often screened from the contestants to prevent bias.  The events were held all along the East Coast.   The top prize was for that of the best ‘United’ Männerchöre (the choirs all from the same location, thus the United Singers of Baltimore), which could comprise 200-600 members competing with united singers of other cities.  Baltimore gained from the events in several ways.  Of course, the large crowds were good for business and the city as a whole, but Baltimore’s United Singers were a group of the best.  They proved this by twice bringing home the grand prize.  The prize was a statue/bust of a famous German composer. 

In 1900 Baltimore won the first prize at the 19th Triennial National Sängerfest held in Brooklyn, New York.  The event was held from June 25th to July 4th and drew over 5000 singers.  According to the New York Times, ‘The National Sängerfest, which takes place in Brooklyn June 30 to July 4, is to be the greatest yet given in the history of the Northeastern Saengerbund. It is he nineteenth Saengerfest, and at the same time the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the society’.  The German Emperor was in attendance.  [June 25, 1900]

The prize was a bronze bust of composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883).  The song ‘Sheiden’ (Parting) by D. Malamet was the winning song.  The singers gifted the statue to the City of Baltimore and the bust was placed at the lawn of Druid Hill Park’s Mansion House.  The statue was created by German born, New York sculptor, R.P Golde.

The event was held in Baltimore at the Fifth Regiment Armory in 1903/ Nordoestlicher Sängebund’s triennial festival.  The New York Times reported that this event was attended by President Roosevelt and six or seven thousand members of the singing societies in the Eastern States. [June 7, 1903, pg. 26] For more details on the President's visit and the event in Baltimore, click here.

Again, in 1915, the United Singers of Baltimore took home the esteemed prize at the 24th National Sängerfest.  This event was also held in Brooklyn New York.  The prize was a scultpture/bust of Conradin Kreutzer (1780-1849).  The winning song was written by F. Langer. The statue stands in the Sculpture Garden at Patterson Park.  This too was created by R.P. Golde.

Richard Wagner
Photo courtesy of Susan Baldwin

Photos above courtesy of Brad Schlegel

The United Singers or the Vereinigte Saenger also took part in almost all of the festivals in the German Community.  In 1933, at the end of prohibition, the United Signers co-sponsored with the Independent Citizens Union, a Volksfest.  See Sunpaper article dated June 5, 1933.

Sources:  The German element in the United States with special reference to its political, moral, social and educational influence.  Albert Bernhardt Faust, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1909.

Outdoor Sculpture in Baltimore:  A Historical Guide to Public Art in the Monumental City.

See also:

The Great Sangerfest 1888 in Baltimore

Saengerverein & Eintract Anniversaries (Sunpaper November 13, 1891)

Preparations for the Great Saengerfest in Baltimore (Sunpaper June 6, 1903)

New Singing Society as Four Merge (Sunpaper August 14, 1909) 

The German Society and Singers (Sunpaper October 31, 1909)

The 1938 National Saengerfest in Baltimore 

1000+ Attend Song Festival (Sunpaper July 28, 1941)

Nord-Amerikanischer Sängerbund:

Nordöstlicher Sängerbund von Amerika (NOSB)

Washington Sängerbund

Delaware Sängerbund

Photos from Eichenkranz

Do you know someone in the photos?  Send their position and name to

Photos courtesy of M. Miller, T. Siemer and M. Wittig.  

1944-Do you have a family member in this photo?

Front: Karl Bauer 4th from the left; Matt Beutgen 4th from right; Albert Vogt  5th from the right; Center Row: 8th from right, Karl Wittig; Top row, 2nd from right, Christian Neumeister

1944-Do you know someone in this photo? 

Front: Marie Vogt  2nd from the left, Martina Bauer 6th from the right2nd Row:  1st from right,  Maria Brown, 10th from right Rosa WagenfurherTop row 3rd from right Rose Brown Beutgen; 9th from left, Fanny Wittig


Above 1944-The soloist is Hilda Burke of the Metropolitan Opera.

Thank you to M. Wittig, whose great-grandparents, Karl & Fanny Wittig were members of the group from their arrival in the U.S. in 1912 until their death. 



1st Row:  5th from left, Clara Bishop; 

2nd Row:  1st from left, Rose Beutgen; 2nd Martina Bauer; 2nd from left, Marie Kipf

3rd Row:  3rd from right, Matt Beutgen; 

Top Row:  3rd from right, Albert Vogt; 4th from right, George Kipf; 1st from left, Karl Bauer, 2nd from left Christian Neumeister, 6th from left Matt Brown

1938-Do you know someone?

Bottom Up:2nd Row: Marie Vogt 5th from the right5th Row:  Martina Bauer 5th from left, 

1938-Do you know someone?

1st row:  far right, Albert Vogt2nd row:  3rd from right, Karl Bauer; Top Row:  2nd from left George Kipf,  3rd from right Matt Beutgen

Eichenkranz-the beginning

 1st Row: 1st from the right is Albert Vogt 3rd Row: 1st person left is Karl Bauer

Eichenkranz Ratskeller

Top row 1st person Karl BauerThe man in white shirt behind the bar is Christian Neumeister, (bar-manger) the lady in the window is his wife Anna Neumeister. (cook)Karl Bauer tended bar for over 25 years and Martina Bauer was a waitress for over 40 years.

    Eichenkranz-Unknown Years 

(Carousel photos Courtesy of Trudy Siemer)

             Other Singing Societies

Junger Maennerchor 1938 

Schubert Maennerchor

Vorwaerts Maennerchor 1938

Arbeiter Liedertafel

Mozart Maennerchor

Locust Point Maennerchor Baltimore