A New Book on the Schwenkfelders

After a long preliminary exchange of e-mails Dr. Horst Weigelt, Germany’s foremost scholar on Schwenkfelders, decided that he wanted his latest book to be translated into English and specifically wanted me to be the translator. I feel much honored that he chose me for that task. Of course, I agreed.

The pre-publication title of the book is Migration and Faith: The Flight of the Schwenkfelders from Silesia and their Emigration to America. The book is written in nine chapters and runs about 200 pages of double-spaced lines. There will be some illustrations. This book presents much new information since Weigelt’s last book published in 2007. Dr. Weigelt has spent his entire life researching and publishing on the Schwenkfelders. His dissertation appeared in 1973. It was translated into English by Dr. Peter Erb and published in 1985. His next book, Von Schlesien nach Amerika (From Silesia to America) was published in 2007 but no English version exists.


Only the English version of Migration and Faith will be published. With this volume Dr. Weigelt shows how the migration of the Schwenkfelders from their home village in Silesia to a refuge in Saxony and then finally to a permanent home in Pennsylvania brought about changes in Schwenkfelder faith and religious practices.

In the course of translating this book we have had some interesting discussions on how to translate certain words, as is normal in translation work. One of our recent discussions has been on the term “Magistrat”. Weigelt thought this might be translated as “magistrate”. I felt it was a possible translation for a person who participates in the governance of a city, but I felt that “city council” was the appropriate translation for the governing body itself. Weigelt felt that “civil” should be used instead of “city” and thus the body should be called the “civil council”. I still prefer “city council”.

The process of translating is always fascinating and always requires some give and take between the author and the translator. In the end I am certain that Weigelt and I will feel good about our efforts to bring new information and insights of Schwenkfelder culture to the broadest possible audience – and we hope you will, too.

Allen Viehmeyer

Associate Director for Research

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“The Planner in Me”

May 18, 2013 – a day that was filled with excitement, uncertainty, and mixed emotions.  For on this day, I was graduating from college.  A day that seemed so far away when I was a freshman, now already here before my eyes.  How four years flew by!  All I could think was, “Now what do I do?” I was so accustomed to having everything planned out and knowing what my next step would be for each semester.  After the ceremony and celebrations were over, I realized that I was uncertain of what my next step was going to be.  Being the planner that I am, this was an uneasy feeling.  I only knew a few things for certain.  One was that I had a degree in Education and minor in History.  Second, I wanted to teach but I always dreamed of working in a museum setting.  Three… wait, is there a third thing? That was all that I had to go off of at the time. 

The summer months consisted of working as a nanny and job searching, which I found to be a relentless task.  My uneasy feelings began to return around August when my nanny position was coming to its season conclusion and once again my next step was a mystery.  Needless to say, the job searching and interview process continued. 

It was then that I came across the position as a museum educator at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center.  After reading the job description it hit me that I could have the opportunity to work in a museum and teach; how perfect!  I decided to apply, unsure of my chances.  To my surprise, I was called for interviews and chosen for the position! I was ecstatic when I found out the news.  Finally I knew what my next step would be and what direction I was going in.

The week before my first day at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, I attended my first homecoming as an alumni.  A common conversation starter used by many, including myself was, “What are you doing now?”  I felt personally relieved because I finally had a response to this question.  When I told friends that I would be a museum educator I was often asked, “That is great… but what is a museum educator?” I was surprised how many times I was asked this question by friends and even family members.  For their sake I only gave a brief response.  However after a few weeks of being a museum educator, I realize that it deserves more explanation.

As the museum educator at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, I have several responsibilities to fulfill.  First, I am a teacher here.  I have a classroom with its own library and resources.  I teach Family and Homeschool Workshops on a monthly basis.  I feel warmth in my heart when my homeschool students recognize me as their teacher.  I put plenty of planning and preparation toward these workshops.  Today, I look back and am thankful for many of my education and history courses that I took and how they help me as I write multiple lesson plans, use state and national education standards, and create activities for my students. 

Another responsibility my position fulfills is reaching out and becoming involved with schools in the area.  I am developing new programs to be offered here at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center and also planning upcoming ones such as the Groundhog Lodge for Children.  I also gave a tour and planned an activity for a Cub Scouts group.  These are only a few of the tasks that I take responsibility for, but I am finding that the list can go on and on.

I guess it is true when people say it takes around six months to find a job after graduation.  I fit into this case.  I find myself to be fortunate because my first job really fits my “checklist” that I stated earlier; that I wanted to teach but I also wanted to work in a museum setting.  Finally I again know what my next step will be.  The “planner” in me is at ease and I can continue all of the planning that the museum educator must do… plan, plan, and plan!

Laura Price, Museum Educator

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This is only the beginning …

Image   A look at the personal papers collections in the SLHC stacks that still need inventories                                             

            At the last SLHC Board dinner I gave a synopsis of most of my cataloging and inventorying work. The reason for doing this, it turns out, was to show the Board the breadth of material that I have been working with in order for them to understand the progress of my work from my initial undertaking twelve years ago; in 2001 I began to catalog the library and archives collection not knowing what I was getting into. Truthfully, coming equipped with a limited archival and no library training, I was not sure how to even begin the process of this job, and I had no extended experience to draw on. Luckily I had a template, so to speak, in the library’s own cataloging systems and, because of this (without trying to be glib), what I came to learn was that as long as you can find it, it does not matter how it is organized; there is no single standard. After all, look at how many cataloging classification systems there are: LOC, Dewey, Cutter, etc. Archival work is altogether even more of an art form in that the “profession” is still coming into its own out of the library science field. Many archivists, including myself, come from history backgrounds. Anyway …

My initial idea for presenting this topic at the dinner emerged also out of a frustration of trying to explain just what it is I do all day at my desk. I too wanted to give the Board something that they could digest (other than the dinner) in a short period of time, as we only have five minutes to talk to them every six months. As I prepared my report that Monday morning I realized quickly just how much “stuff” that we do have in our collection. Of course, I have always been aware that we have a lot of “stuff” but never, incredibly it may seem, taken the time to look at the numbers all at once. The false perception that we are “small institution” (staff-wise, building-wise, Pennsburg is a small town, etc.) comes from the fact that we often, sub-consciously, compare the SLHC to bigger institutions. Yet this is not necessarily true. The amount of material in the collection reported at the dinner comes across as immense (for a “small institution”).

Here is the synopsis of my report:

          SLHC Fall Board Report


                                                                         October 7, 2013

I. Library:

IA. Cataloging:

1. Books:

Approximately 24,910 books in our collection


            17,760 books entered into PastPerfect:

                        Fully cataloged:

                        (Open Stacks= 4,880)

                     (Closed Stacks=5,262)


Total, fully cataloged= 13,256

Total, cataloged but needing checking=4,504

Not entered (approximate numbers):

Approximate # books not entered into PastPerfect

On shelves in Closed Stacks and office=app. 2,150 (43 shelves, 50 books each)

Total un-cataloged in stairwells= 5,000 (boxes in south stairwell=app. 2,000 ((200 boxes average 10 each)), and north stairwell ((Fritz Richter))=app. 3,000 books (30 boxes app. 100 in each)

Total, app. # need cataloging=7,150

    IB. Inventorying:

                2. Newspapers: 179 boxes, issues mostly inventoried (but in Word program)

                3. Periodicals: app. 9,000 individual volumes, mostly inventoried (not

    re-inventoried since de-accessions. Still have to inventory bound volumes

    in Closed Stacks)

                4. Schwenkfeldians, Schwenkfeldiana, Perkiomen Region: weeded

    out extra copies, library has tried to keep 5 of each volume.

    5. Maps: app. 250 individual maps sorted by region in map case drawers

    6. Microfilm: app. 160 reels, not counting the Silesian Collection

    7. Obituaries: “Gottshall” obituaries: 6,329 entered, so far

                8. Postcards: 1,913 total, arranged by location

II. Archives:

IIA. Inventorying

1. Personal papers, basic manuscript inventories started:

George DeBenneville, Chester Hartranft, Balthasar Heebner, Carl Heinze, Johann Friedrich Heinze, Balthasar Heydrich, Balthasar Hoffmann, Christoph Hoffmann, E. E. S. Johnson, Martin John Sr. and Jr., Krauss brothers, Christoph Kriebel, Abraham Schultz, Amos Schultz, David Schultz (not counting land drafts), Jonas Schultz, Joshua Schultz, Melchior Schultz, J. D. Souder (notebooks), Charles and Frederick Waage, Abraham Wagner, George Weiss, Christoph Yeakel

Other personal paper inventories planning to start:

H. W. Kriebel, Lester Kriebel, O. S. Kriebel, William Parsons, Friedrich Schneider, Christoph Schultz , J. J. Stoudt

2. Photographs: 2,900 inventoried and scanned

 (898 portraits and 2,002 images)

3. Deeds: 5,845 records inventoried

4. Land Drafts: 1,260 drafts

5. Loose Vault manuscripts:

VS inventory: 1,793 manuscripts

VSA-VSZ: 1,420 manuscripts

VOC: 222 manuscripts

6. Diaries/Account books: 432

7. Prints

Broadsides: 330

Certificates: 160

Taufscheins: 530

Posters and engraved portraits and structures: 235

8. Scrapbooks: 94

9. Minutes: various collections of minutes relating to the Schwenkfelder church

and library

10. Pastepaper books: 17 total, all in Vault-Archives

            11. Book box project: 620 books boxed and inventoried. Many of these

            Books are Vault folios which are also cataloged into PastPerfect


I tell myself often that I have two jobs, librarian and archivist, and I am not going crazy …

Hunt Schenkel



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A Week in the Life of the Executive Director…

 Being the Executive Director at a small museum and archives means I am involved with a wide range of activities.  In addition to administration work, I find I am also involved with helping in nearly all aspects of operations here from the sublime to the mundane.

DaveOver the past week or so, for example, I was helping our new Educator, Laura Price, get settled in and started in her new job.  This included, on her very first day here, helping coordinate and attend (and even a little teaching) the Home School workshop which had 5 children attending.  Part of the class was in the Meeting Room where Curator Candace Perry talked about Fraktur and artist Arline Christ talked to the children about the artwork inspired by Fraktur currently on exhibit: Elements of Fraktur, Studio B “Artist Members on the Road.  Later in the week, I was removing the round tables and setting up chairs in preparation for the Exile Society meeting and program on Sunday.

In addition to this, I also was matting and framing Frakturs for the new exhibit we’re installing: The Samuel W. Pennypacker Collection.  Once matted and framed, Curator of Collections Candace Perry laid them out in the Fraktur Gallery and I then hung them on the walls: some 40 or so Fraktur!  I also found myself beginning to mount and cut the labels for the exhibit.

While all this was happening, I was pulling together the next issue of the Heritage Headlines, the Heritage Center’s quarterly newsletter.  I was writing articles, collecting articles from staff, setting it all up in Publisher software, finding images (taking some pictures myself) and proofing, proofing, proofing!

I also had the pleasure to welcome a group tour and talk to them about Schwenckfeld and the Schwenkfelders; meet with the planning committee for the Penn Dry Goods Market event (coming up in May, 2014); schedule staff reviews which are due by the end of October; set up the Putz tables and railing around the Putz; talking to a contractor about installation of a door monitor; meeting with the Board of Governors of the Exile Society of which I am President; and prepare for the Exile Society meeting which I was leading including the presenting of updates on the Viewheg Monument treating and cleaning project (in Twardocice, Poland) and the progress on the Berthelsdorf, Germany Schwenkfelder Gemeindehaus restoration.

Yes, it was a week filled with the varied tasks required of an Executive Director at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center!

Dave Luz, Executive Director

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William Schultz’s Music Book

September 24, 2013

I love working in the Library. The library contains so much material that is yet to be explored. There are so many treasures. I’d like to spend a few minutes describing one of them.

Lately I have been working with a manuscript music book. The front cover has a small label with the inscription: The property of William Schultz 1851. The led naturally to determining just which William Schultz. WSchultz_02_Cover Inside_Web As you surely know, the name Schultz is ubiquitous among Schwenkfelders. Indeed there are several Schultz families, so tracking down which William Schultz seemed as though it would be thorny. Actually it wasn’t too difficult. The Genealogical Record of the Schwenkfelder Families (1923) contains only three William Schultzes who fell into that time period. One was the Schwenkfelder minister William Schultz (1806-1890), the second was William Schultz (1827-1913), and finally William Schultz (1836-1911). After other investigations I settled on the third William Schultz as the owner of this music book. The immigrant ancestor of this William was the renowned Schwenkfelder minister and community leader Christopher Schultz (1718-1789) who wrote the famous dairy of the trek from Berthelsdorf to Philadelphia. Christopher was his great grandfather. Otherwise, virtually nothing in known about this William Schultz.

Schwenkfelder manuscript books with musical notation are not common before the Civil War. The earliest are the Notenbüchlein, which were made in school and date from the 1790s. They contain hymns. The Schwenkfelders did not believe instrumental music, especially in the worship service. Many hymnals consisting of only hymn texts are extant, but not books of musical notation. In fact, the Schwenkfelders seem to have had distained instrumental music until the 1840s, when 14 year old David Anders formed a brass band in 1849. At first he was chastised, in a sermon no less, for the scandalous marching and playing of his band, but shortly thereafter the boys’ parents and even the minister permitted their activity.

WSchultz_11_WebWilliam Schultz’ music book is one of the earliest Schwenkfelder examples of secular dance tunes, doubtless for fiddle. There are 35 tunes in this collection, including marches, waltzes, reels, hornpipes, and quickstep among others. The tune Blue Eyed Mary was very popular at the time. A little notation next to the title is “by William Schultz 1856”. He was certainly not the creator of this tune, but perhaps this is his own variation. More research is needed to clarify this. Some of the tunes show the popularity of Irish fiddle music in this area of Pennsylvania: “Miss McLeod’s Reel or Did You Ever See the Devil Uncle Joe?”, “Irish Washer Woman”, “Rory O’More ”, and “Lord McDonald’s Reel”. Also include are Rickett’s Hornpipe and Fischer’s Hornpipe, the second of which has several words of the dance call:  “First couple down the outside, back, down the middle, back, cast off, swing right and left…” There are also several popular patriotic pieces: “Hail to the Chief”, “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, and “Hail Columbia”.

William Schultz’ music book is a treasure for its popular dance and patriotic tunes of the day and for an indication of how Schwenkfelders were coming more and more into contact with the popular culture around them.

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Mocha: Not the Coffee But the Cup It’s In

Any visitors to antiques shows, shops or auctions may have encountered the terms MochaPitcherSM“mocha” or “mochaware” attached to vibrant and sometimes slightly offbeat-looking ceramics.  To most of us in this coffee-driven world, the word mocha is a flavor or perhaps a color, not a bowl with a crazy spotted pattern or a cup that appears to have seaweed crawling up its side.

Right now at the HeritageCenter we have several pieces of our mochaware on exhibit, but what is it? Mocha is defined as a type of English-made decorated earthenware that was produced and imported to the United States from the late 18th century to the late 19th. The term “mocha” specifically relates to the seaweed type designs that resembled the patterns occurring naturally on mocha stone, another name for moss agate. Today all sorts of decorated earthenware are put under this umbrella term – from brightly banded vessels that have been turned on a lathe to undulating earthworm curlicues and spots called cats’ eyes.

MochaCupSMMochaware enjoyed at least some popularity among our Schwenkfelders and other Pennsylvania Germans, although it is difficult to gauge how much due to the lack of surviving pieces with good family histories. Visit our Time to Eat exhibit to view some excellent examples, then go treat yourself to a mocha latte.

Candace Kintzer Perry, Curator of Collections

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Meet Rachel Ruisard: Archival Collections Volunteer

Rachel RuisardRachel Ruisard, our Archival Collections Volunteer, recently sat down with our Museum Educator, Rebecca Lawrence and talked about her work with Allen Viehmeyer and our music manuscript collection. Rachel has been volunteering with us since the summer of 2012.

What excites you about working with the collection at the Schwenkfelder Library?
I was absolutely thrilled to work with Dr. Viehmeyer and the collection because I was able to immerse myself in the local history and get a feel for the Schwenkfelder and Pennsylvania German communities, past and present. Even more so, I had the chance to work hands-on with manuscripts from the 18th and 19th centuries, a task I was very pleased to be given. While learning about the tools and procedures used in archival studies, I also was able to work with some absolutely wonderful people.

For our readers, describe your cataloguing process:
Right off the bat I determine the condition of the manuscript and put it into the database; then, I try to summarize the contents. The sheer number of manuscripts that the collection owns means that I see many of the same things and repeat myself a good portion of the time when cataloguing. That being said, I try to look for something that makes each manuscript stand out from the others. Determining the author/owner of the object in question often proves difficult, so I try to catch other small details that mark the manuscript as unique. Embellished handwriting, bookplates, notes written in the margins or slipped between pages, I think of each difference as important and I try to take note of everything I find.

Embellished handwriting, bookplates, notes written in the margins or slipped between pages, I think of each difference as important and I try to take note of everything I find.

Do you have a favorite object/most interesting book you’ve come across?
There isn’t one in particular, but a few of the music manuscripts I catalogued contained figured bass, a basic method in music for realizing harmonies from a bass line. I was fascinated by this, and Dr. Viehmeyer and I tried to determine how it became a part of the Schwenkfelder culture, for there is currently no record of congregational singing, instruments in church or music education during the period from which the manuscripts originate. We haven’t yet settled upon a clear explanation, but every so often I come across it in my cataloguing and try to find new answers.

I was fascinated by this [figured bass] for there is currently no record of congregational singing, instruments in church or music education during the period from which the manuscripts originate in Schwenkfelder culture.

Describe your personal interests/personal research.
I am currently a junior majoring in Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with a minor in Medieval Studies at Moravian College. I hope to attend graduate school for musicology, with the Medieval/Renaissance period as my focus. I also aim to study at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University during my senior year. While the Schwenkfelder Library is the first non-profit organization I have volunteered with, I recently started working with the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA as well. I hope to continue working with both the Schwenkfelder and Moravian organizations and possibly incorporate one (or both) into a future research project.

Rachel’s entries in Past Perfect will be available in the coming weeks in our Past Perfect Online Catalog. We are thankful to have her as a volunteer. We continue to wish her well in her academic efforts at Moravian. If you are interested in working with our archival collections, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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