Pursuit of an 'Unparalleled Opportunity'
The American YMCA and Prisoner of War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations
during World War I, 1914-1923.
by Kenneth Steuer


1In researching and writing this book, I received significant assistance from many talented professors and librarians, without whose help this task would have been much more difficult. The digital dimension of this research project was possible only through the financial support and technical assistance of the American Historical Association and Columbia University Press, which supported my work through the Gutenberg-e Project.

2The faculty of the University of Minnesota was invaluable in helping me develop my dissertation, which served as the basis for this book. I owe special thanks to my dissertation committee, which included my dissertation advisor, Professor Kinley J. Brauer, my preliminary examination chair, Professor Clarke Chambers, Professor Theofanis Stavrou, Professor David Kieft, and Professor Martin W. Sampson, III. Their comments and insightful suggestions greatly improved the quality of the finished dissertation. These efforts also polished my dissertation, preparing it for selection for a Gutenberg-e Prize from the American Historical Association. I sincerely appreciate all of their time and energy on my behalf.

3The librarians at the Kautz Family YMCA Archives at the University of Minnesota supported the research of my dissertation and the production of this book. Professor Andrea Hinding, Dagmar Getz, and David Carmichael provided unlimited access to the vast material held in the YMCA collection during my dissertation research. Ms. Getz and Lara Friedman-Shedlov supported the book production stage by allowing access to the documents, photographs, and journals that I digitized in support of this project. Jessica Dagen, a student at Concordia University-St. Paul, provided helpful research assistance in preparation for my trips to the archives in Minneapolis, saving me time and energy. Claude-Allen Danthe, the archivist of the World's Alliance of YMCAs Archives in Geneva, also helped support in this endeavor by extending the resources of this international organization for my analysis. In addition, the YMCAs of the U.S.A. granted me crucial copyright privileges, which make this digital book a unique resource on social welfare operations for Allied prisoners during World War I.

4I want to thank the Department of History and the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota for their generous financial assistance during my dissertation work, which allowed me to travel to Geneva, Switzerland to visit the World's Alliance of YMCAs Archives and to the Yale School of Divinity in New Haven, Connecticut to examine the John R. Mott Papers in support of this research.

5The Gutenberg-e Project made this digital book possible and I appreciate the generous support provided by both the American Historical Association and Columbia University Press. Arnita R. Jones, the Executive Director of the AHA, and Pillarisetti Sudar were instrumental in developing and supporting this ground-breaking project in digital publishing. I especially want to thank Professor Robert Darnton of Princeton University for conceptualizing and obtaining the funding for this project. He strongly encouraged the Gutenberg-e scholars to "think beyond the traditional book" in our quest to create the next generation of historical research. The AHA, in conjunction with Columbia University Press, acquired the critical financial support for this project through an Andrew W. Mellon Grant. The staff of Columbia University Press was equally important in this process. Kate Wittenberg, the executive editor of the Gutenberg-e Project, organized creative and productive workshops which allowed Gutenberg-e scholars to meet, discuss production strategies, and test the limits of digital publication. I would also like to thank the Columbia University Press editors who developed the means to display the text, images, and other materials for this book, including Sean Costigan, Gordon Dahlquist, Sharene Azimi, Nathaniel Herz, and Merran Swartwood.

6A number of other people provided me with invaluable services for this digital book. Doris Burns and Matthias Donath played the hymns of the YMCA's Das Liederbuch for the audio section. Professor Robert Goehlert of Indiana University assisted me with the resources of the IU Library system while writing this book. Jason Glatz, the Map Librarian at Western Michigan University, produced the maps in the appendix. I also thank Jürgen and Ursula Maier and Wilfried and Ricarda Schneider for their generous support while I was traveling in Europe in support of my research for this book.

7In addition, I must thank my family for their unfailing support and understanding throughout this project, including my daughters Jennifer, Magdalena, and Julianna. My parents, Andrew and Dorothy Steuer, also contributed to this project in innumerous ways. Most importantly, I thank my wonderful wife, Professor Susan M. B. Steuer, for her tremendous aid as supporter, proof-reader, and editor of this book. She helped me in every stage of researching and writing of both my dissertation and this book and I greatly appreciate her invaluable support and understanding throughout this process.

K. A. S.

Kalamazoo, Michigan June 2008