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Wolle Family Papers

Wolle Family Papers

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Wolle Family Papers




2012



Profile Description

Creation: 20.04.2012
Language: English

Creator: Wolle Family
Title: Wolle Family Papers
Quantity: 12 boxes
Identification: PP Wolle
Location: 159C+D
Language: German

The Collection contains papers related to personal family matters, business affairs (including Jacobsburg Store, Oxford Furnace, Catherine Furnace, Chapman Quarries, Aerial Navigation, and Bethlehem Iron Company), and the involvement of the Wolle family in the Moravian Church. Most of the papers are in English, with only a few in German script.

Materials are organized largely under names of four persons:

John Frederick Wolle: Correspondence and early business papers
Bishop Peter Wolle: Church-related papers
Sylvester Wolle: Correspondence and business papers as Provincial Elder
Augustus Wolle: Correspondence and business papers
Genealogical memos and scrapbooks comprise a significant section of documentation.

These invaluable materials could be foundational for detailed future research into hitherto unstudied aspects of Bethlehem history.


The Wolle Family of the Bethlehem-Nazareth area descended from one John Frederick Wolle of central Europe through his son Peter (1745-1813), Moravian missionary to the West Indies. Peter's eldest son, named John Frederick Wolle (1785-1860), married Sabina Henry (1792-1859), daughter of William Henry of the Henry Gunworks at Boulton and settled at Tria (now called Belfast), Pa. In 1809 he became the storekeeper at nearby Jacobsburg. In 1821 he moved to manage the Nazareth Store, and then in 1824 became manager of the Bethlehem Store. John Frederick Wolle also engaged with members of the Henry and extended Jordan families in joint entrepreneurial projects such as land transactions and the search for iron ore with eventual establishment of blast furnaces.

John Frederick's brother Peter Wolle (1792-1871) became a Bishop of the Moravian Church. The Rev. Sylvester Wolle (1816-1873), fourth son of John Frederick, served as Provincial Elder in his later years, after service as a teacher, pastor, Presbyter, and Principal of the Ladies' Boarding School at Bethlehem. Augustus Wolle (1821-1878) sixth son of John Frederick, was a merchant and entrepreneur in Bethlehem. He donated land on which the present Lehigh University was founded, was a vital figure in early steps that developed into the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and with older brother Francis Wolle developed a machine to make paper bags.

A strong and continuing sense of community responsibility appears to have been a heritage of the Wolle descendants as over a span of years various members preserved papers and items documenting the long-term effects of the family on commercial, civic, cultural and spiritual life in the Lehigh Valley.


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