Above: Die Ernsthafte Christenpflicht (The Earnest Christian Duty) The most popular Mennonite and Amish prayer book, even today.
The story of the printers of the Ephrata Cloister is a two-act play. Act One is Peter Miller and his Cloister Brotherhood Press.
Act Two is this page: The story of the Bauman family of Ephrata.
The Baumans were "householders" of the Ephrata Cloister, meaning they were members who lived off-property in traditonal families. No celibacy required. No monks' robes required.
They were The Three Baumans: John the Father, Samuel the Son, and Joseph the Cousin.
- John Bauman, the Father: (born 1765 - died 1809). John and his wife were married Cloister members. John purchased the Ephrata Cloister printing press in 1800, and moved it to his nearby Ephrata home. He previously had worked as a papermaker with his father Benjamin. John printed many books and broadsides.
Samuel Bauman, the Son: (born 1788 - died 1820) Samuel and his wife were married Cloister members. Samuel's father, John, died in 1810, so Samuel took on the business. He mostly printed broadsides, such as baptismal certificates and house blessings. But Samuel died young, leaving a pregnant wife and five young children.
Joseph Bauman, the Cousin: (born 1789 - died 1862) Joseph was Samuel's first cousin. Joseph's father was Christian Bauman, the papermaker. Joseph and his wife, Maria Bitzel, were not Cloister members. They were Church of the Brethren. Joseph most likely moved a printing press from the Cloister to his nearby Ephrata home. He printed books and broadsides in Ephrata from 1817 through 1830. The next year he moved to Shepherdstown, Cumberland County, PA. He took two printing presses with him, an Ouram and a Goodman, and continue printing in Shepardstown.
Ephrata Cloister's Websites: Here .
A Broadside Ballad printed by Samuel Bauman: The Virgin Concordia
Above: Concordia Broadside. Printing attributed to Samuel Bowman.
The Virigin Concordia was a Pennsylvania fairy tale, which was sung as a favorite folksong.
It the story of a Hungarian nobleman's daughter named Concordia, who is swept off her feet by Jesus, who is her handsome, young bridegroom. Jesus carries here into Heaven, where she lives happily-ever-after ...or at least for 120 years. She then returns to Hungary, not knowing she is 120 years older.
For hundreds of years, European and Pennsylvania singers sang this song of the Virgin Concordia. Numerous Pennsylvania printers reprinted this folktale as a broadside ballad, a 29-verse folksong.
The Virgin Concordia was a big hit at the Ephrata Cloister, where the unmarried Brothers and Sisters of the celibate orders probably saw themselves as the Virgin Corcordia ...married to Jesus (and his female alter-ego Sophia) in the chaste marriage bed ( keusche Ehebett) for eternity.
Another Bauman Broadside Song:
Above: A Broadside song, presumedly printed by one of the Baumans of Ephrata.
The Baumans printed several versions of this popular broadside ballad. This one descended in the Musselman family of New Holland, Lancaster County.
Joseph Bauman's Goodman Press: "The Oldest American-Made Press"
Above: A ca. 1990 wood engraving by John DePol of the Goodman printing press used by Joseph Bauman at Ephrata and in Cumberland County, PA. Today this printing press is at the Cumberland County Historical Society, in Carlisle.
In 1972, printing historian Stephen O. Saxe published an article titled "The Goodman Common Press, The Oldest American-Made Press," in "Printing History," the journal of the American Printing History Association. He is referring to this Bauman press from Ephrata.
The press was built in Philadelphia, circa 1787, by John Goodman. The press was owned by printer Joseph Bauman, in Ephrata, Lancaster County, in the early 1800s.
Above: An 1876 print of another press used by Joseph Bauman at Ephrata, his Ouram Printing Press. This image illustrated a broadside printed at the 1876 Centennial, Here. Today this printing press is owned by the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia, and is on exhibit in the print shop at the Ephrata Cloister.
Above: Harry Stauffer with Joseph Bauman's Ouram printing press, photographed at the Ephrata Cloister in the 1970s by Mel Horst.
Ephrata Cloister ABC: A is for Suffering. B is for Patience. C is for Hope.
Above: A Hand-Lettered ABC: "Abel Witwer His Hand"
Abel Witwer (born 1767 - died 1861) penned this manuscript ABC writing sample. Abel was an unmarried member of Ephrata Cloister's celibate order, where he was a maker of tall case clocks.
The lesson taught by the Ephrata Cloister's ABC books and broadsides is "Life is Suffering, Patience, and Hope. If you have all three, you have success."
Ephrata ABC Book & Broadside Links: