Family Typewriter

A huge part of my immigration history comes from my great-grandfather William Oldhafer, who came over from Germany. Writing had always been an important part of his life, as he wrote diaries and journal entries. To do this, my great-grandfather had a typewriter, and this object is important in my immigration history. When he came over to New York, William Oldhafer kept very detailed accounts of his experiences here. As he got older, he thought it would be easier if he used a typewriter. From then on he would type records of nearly everything that happened in his life. This typewriter was so important because in a sense my Great-Grandfather carried part of the family legacy. He saw how special it would be for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. For example, in some of the typed entries he included important milestones, like the birth of my grandmother and the birth of my mother. Without knowing it, he was documenting my family tree and giving it life apart from set dates and facts. The typewriter gave him the means to do this, and made it more efficient for him. Thus, I can still remember as a kid going down to the basement and playing with the typewriter. I did not realize that about forty years prior, my great-grandfather was in the same position. Now as a young adult, I can see how the typewriter was no mere "plaything", but rather an essential part of my immigration history, and key to keeping part of it alive.

Year: 1960

– Rebekah Wallner

Relationship:  unknown unknown