About the collection

The Art and Madeline Slicer Turnvereine Stein collection consists of 132 items, 106 of which are German beer steins and other drinking vessels; the remaining 26 items are memorabilia.  The collection was donated to Springfield College Archives in March 2015 by Art and Madeline Slicer, classes of 1959 and 1958, respectively.  All items were created by, or have the underlying theme of, the German sporting organizations called Turnvereine, known in the United States as the Turners. 

Made of pottery, stoneware, ceramic, pewter, and glass, the steins and memorabilia depict sporting activities such as gymnastics, running, lifting, and other track-and-field events.  Begun by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in 1811 in Berlin, these social clubs were designed to promote physical fitness and foster a sense of national pride.  

Members of these clubs also competed in festivals (Turnfests), commemorated through many of the steins in this collection, including Turnfests held in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Münich, and Nüremberg.  The historical period represented by the items in this collection ranges from the mid-nineteenth century through 1942, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1880 and 1934. 

About the donors

Photo of Art and Madeline Slicer

The collection was donated to Springfield College Archives and Special Collections in March 2015 by Art and Madeline Slicer.  Art Slicer was raised in Hartford, Connecticut and graduated from Springfield College in 1959.  His wife Madeline Slicer was born and raised in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and graduated from Springfield College in 1958. They each taught at schools in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, with Mrs. Slicer teaching physics and chemistry, and Mr. Slicer serving as an athletic director, swimming and gymnastics coach, and health sciences teacher.  Mr. Slicer began collecting steins in the late 1980’s, focusing part of his collecting on Turnverein (Turner) steins that depict sporting activities.  In March 2015 Art and Madeline donated their collection of Turnvereine steins and related memorabilia to Springfield College Archives and Special Collections.  Now retired, the Slicers continue to collect steins and are active in three local chapters of Stein Collectors International.

If you have questions about this collection or have problems accessing it, please contact Jeffrey Monseau, College Archivist, at Springfield College Archives and Special Collections.