Heinrich Karl Ernst Martin Meyer
|Was||Historian Literary historian Author Writer Educator|
|From||Germany United States of America|
|Field||Academia Literature Social science|
|Birth||17 May 1904, Nuremberg|
|Death||10 October 1977, Bellingham (aged 73 years)|
Heinrich Karl Ernst Martin Meyer (17 May 1904 – 10 October 1977) was a German professor and author. He first moved to the United States to work at Rice University in 1930 and officially naturalized on 6 November 1935. In 1942 a petition was submitted to revoke his citizenship due to his national German sympathies, and the case was fought in courts until ultimately he was allowed to retain his American citizenship in 1944. In the next thirty-plus years Meyer wrote extensively about German literature and about American Culture, but also published on gardening under a pseudonym Robert O. Barlow. He died in Bellingham, Washington, and his papers are held in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library Special Collections at Vanderbilt University.
Meyer was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1904 to Wilhelm Meyer, a school teacher, and his wife Anna. He first enrolled at the University in Erlangen in 1923. In the same year he transferred to the university in Munich. From 1924-28, Meyer studied in Freiburg, where he received his doctorate in German Literature. After teaching in Martin Luserke's Schule am Meer for two years, he then moved to Houston, Texas, where he lived for 13 years as a German instructor at Rice Institute (today's Rice University (Werner 234-235). In 1935 Meyer applied for and received US Citizenship.
Meyer took two trips to Germany shortly after naturalizing, in 1936 and again in 1938. A request he made for an audience with Adolf Hitler in 1938 was denied. Nevertheless, Meyer defended many practices in Nazi Germany to his American audiences by comparing them to Jim Crow policies in the American south. His German nationality brought him under suspicion of the FBI, who began to investigate his work. In September 1942, a petition to revoke Meyer's citizenship was filed in Houston, and Meyer had to serve as his own defense until attorneys Garvey W. Brown and William Hatten were hired for his case.
Awards and prizes
- John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1953)
- Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1972)
- Der deutsche Schäferroman (1928)
- Konrad Bäumlers weiter Weg; ein Texas-deutscher Roman (1938) (as H.K. Houston Meyer)
- Goethe. Das Leben im Werk (1950 and 1952)
- The Age of the World; a chapter in the history of the Enlightenment (1951)
- Was bleibt. Bemerkungen über Literatur und Leben, Schein und Wirklichkeit. (1966)
- Die Kunst des Erzählens (1972)