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Moravian Publication Office

Moravian Publication Office

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Moravian Publication Office


Profile Description

Creation: 20.04.2012
Language: English

Title: Moravian Publication Office
Dates: 1823 - 1964
Quantity: 41 boxes
Identification: MPO
Language: German

The collection contains correspondence and business papers related to the Moravian Publication Office, primarily from 1860 through 1893. Most of the content of the correspondence dealt with the placing or fulfilling of orders, with business advertisements, and with the submission of news for "The Moravian," plus attention to subscription details such as updating addresses. Also, in this time period financial details of billing were often incorporated into the prose of personal correspondence. Most items are in English, with some correspondence and financial records in German script.

Papers designated as "bound" remain tightly wired into an Amberg's holder or Indexicon, with genre such as Letters/Orders/Subscription/Bills lettered onto the spine or first page. Items to E.G. Klose had been wired onto metal prongs in brown cardboard binding cases. When removed, they were organized by year or partial year (e.g., January-June), and then foldered alphabetically by business name or surname of sender, thus maintaining the original ordering.

The history of bookselling in Bethlehem began in 1745 when the Moravian Church appointed Samuel Powell, landlord of the Crown Inn on the south bank of the Lehigh River, to also manage the new "Bethlehem Buchladen." Eventually the book store, and other branches dealing with printed material, centered near Main Street on the north side of the river. The first established printing press in Bethlehem began operation in 1830, providing local newspapers and advertising.

The first official Moravian publication to be issued was the quarterly "Missionary Intelligencer", from 1822 to 1849, edited by the Rev. Henry Van Vleck and printed in New York City. It was then continued as the monthly "Moravian Church Miscellany" from 1850 to 1855. In 1856 a new and expanded weekly "The Moravian" was introduced, with a joint editorial board of Edmund de Schweinitz, L.F. Kampmann, and F. F. Hagen. At first the printing was done in Philadelphia, then transferred to Bethlehem at the end of 1858.

The priority of publication of materials for worship, education and communication was stated in the Resolutions of the 1864 Provincial Synod (Northern District) of the Moravian Church: that "a strenuous effort" should be made to create a printing/publication establishment whenever the Provincial Elders deemed "such a step practicable." The cause of publications was strongly supported by Rev. Sylvester Wolle, who was Treasurer of the Provincial Elders Conference and worked in the Publication Office during the 1860s.

The subsequent 1867 Synod authorized the formation of the Publication Concern that would "combine the printing office, bookstore, and bindery, in one establishment." A key figure at this time was H. A. Brickenstein, on the Committee of Publications at the 1864 and 1868 Synods, and Secretary of Publications in 1871. In May 1868 a location was rented within the new YMCA building on Main Street. The printing office was "put under the management" of brothers Amos C. Clauder and Henry T. Clauder, with the bindery to be added as soon as the means were "on hand." Upon the October 1868 decease of the former, Henry Clauder became sole printer, publisher, and agent for the Concern. In 1871 the three entities - printing office, book store, and book bindery (under Anton Hesse) - were moved into one new building on the adjoining property, which is the site of the current Moravian Book Shop. In 1884 Clauder was succeeded by Edwin G. Klose, former professor at the Theological Seminary in Nazareth, who retired in 1894.

While it may appear that printing of "The Moravian" plus church worship and educational supplies such as hymnals and daily texts formed most of the business of the print shop, it is also true that print jobs such as advertisements were done for other and non-Moravian local businesses and schools. Several smaller and sometimes short-term periodicals were also printed for the Church.

Printing of the biweekly German-language paper "Der Brüder Botschafter" was begun in 1866, "The Little Missionary" in 1871, and the Sunday-School paper "Der Missions Freund" in 1889. The office for German-language publications was managed by Bishop Karl Müller in Wisconsin from 1898 to 1941.



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