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Digitizing the Schwenkfelder Legacy Collection

Material Description

The Schwenkfelder Legacy Collection reflects the settling of Pennsylvania in a microcosm in its depiction of the daily and spiritual life of 18th and 19th century Schwenkfelder communities, as well as other German emigrant religious dissident communities including the Moravians, the Dutch Reformed Church, and the Mennonites. Having fled religious persecution in Silesia in the 1730s, the Schwenkfelders settled in Pennsylvania among German, English and Welsh neighbors, quickly establishing themselves religiously and economically. The SLHC collections tell the story through documents such as diaries, journals, educational records, correspondence, hymnals, recipes, and medicinal lists. The settling of Pennsylvania, early education in Pennsylvania, the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, early American hymnody, and the volatile relations between the neighboring cultures are all topics illuminated by these collections. In 1884, Dr. Chester Hartranft spearheaded an initiative to collect records and material culture relating to founder and church reformer Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig (1489-1561) and the history of the Schwenkfelder communities in North America. The breadth of material collected was very wide, including many items from the neighboring religious cultures. Items were copied, donated, and/or purchased (with records retained), forming the core manuscript and book collections of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center, founded in 1890. Highlights of the manuscript and book collections include: • Caspar Schwenckfeld’s Worms Bible (1529) with his extensive manuscript annotations. • Schwenkfelder Rosina Heydrich’s midwife journal, circa 1770-1819, showing remedies for a variety of illnesses – especially for women and young children. • A journal kept by Schwenkfelder immigrant David Schultz recounting his journey from Silesia to Pennsylvania. • Correspondence between quietist and mystic Gerhard Tersteegen and Schwenkfelder Abraham Wagner. • Schwenkfelder minister Christopher Schultz’s manuscript notes on the 1762 Easton treaty council.

Year Added:

2015

Institution

Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center

Contact(s)

Mr. David W. Luz
Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center



Date Range

1529 - 1529

Geographic Scope

The primary geographic areas of the collections are Germany, especially Lower Silesia and Saxony (Upper Lusatia), as well as the counties of southeastern Pennsylvania, including Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh and Bucks.

Materials

  • 18 bound manuscripts
  • 5 Manuscripts
  • 1 Books