[Hymnal – German.] Zionitischer Weyrauchs-Hu[e]gel. Germantown: Sauer, 1739.

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Zionitischer Weyrauchs-Hu[e]gel oder: Myrrhen Berg, Worinnen allerley liebliches und wohl riechendes nach Apotheker-Kunst zu bereitetes Rauch-Werck zu finden


Published by Christoph Sauer, 1739
THE FIRST GERMAN BLACKLETTER BOOK PRINTED IN AMERICA. Germantown: Gedruckt bey Christoph Sauer, 1739. Small octavo (6" x 3 7/8", 152mm x 99mm). [Full collation available.] Bound in contemporary panelled calf. On the spine, five raised bands and raised head- and tail-pieces. Marbled end-papers. Spine superficially cracked. Altogether rubbed but a handsome tall copy (with lower deckles preserved, e.g., H8, P4, T3 etc.). Some losses to the fore-edges of the initial and final blanks. Dampstaining from the first free end-paper to p. 48, and from p. 785 to the final free end-paper. Moderately foxed throughout. Z1 (pp. 721-722) tattered, with an early repair. Ownership signatures of Hannah C. Kemper (verso of the second binder's blank) and of Hanna Diskong on the final free end-paper. This hymnal was the first book from the Germantown press of Christopher Sauer (Sower). Sauer is probably best known for his newspaper, the Pennsylvanische Berichte (Pennsylvania Reporter), the first German language newspaper in America. With his son, also Christopher, he was very influential in the German community of Pennsylvania. The family arrived in America in 1724, but in 1730 Sauer's wife left him to be with the ex-Brethren mystical Conrad Beissel and his community. Undeterred, Sauer and his son returned to Germantown in April of 1731, where they settled on six acres and opened a shop. In 1738 Sauer acquired a printing press, and in 1739, printed an 800-page book of hymns for that same Conrad Beissel. "As the edition was small and the book was in common use for devotional purposes, it has become extremely scarce, nearly all of the few known copies being imperfect" (Hildeburn). Beissel and his community had helped Sauer found his press, and provided him with paper for some of his publications, but the discord between the two men that must have begun with the departure of Sauer's wife to the Ephrata Cloister came to the fore again when Sauer claimed that some of Beissel's hymns were blasphemous. Their falling-out led to the establishment of the now famous press at Ephrata: the second German press in America. Evans 4466; Hildeburn 617; Reese, Printers' First Fruits 65; Robacker, Pennsylvania German Literature, p. 31; Sabin 106364; Sasche, German Sectarians of Pennsylvania, 1: pp. 312-349.
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