The Lancaster printer Joseph Ehrenfried gambled on the Martyrer Spiegel (Martyrs' Mirror) and he lost his shirt.
In 1814 he published and printed the same martyrs' book that had put the Ephrata Cloister print shop on the bibliographic map, when they printed it in 1748. But luck was not with Joseph Ehrenfried. This hefty book broke his printing business into bankruptcy.
Joseph Ehrenfried had arrived in Lancaster County from Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany in 1802. He had studied for the Catholic priesthood in Germany, but he never became a priest. Here in Lancaster County, Joseph began teaching school in East Donegal Township.
Joseph then took a job in the print shop of Johann Albrecht, where he worked as translator and book keeper ...and where he learned the printing trade.
In 1808 he and printer William Hamilton founded Lancaster's Volksfreund newspaper, although they broke up their printing partnership two years. John Baer then bought this newspaper in 1817 ...and for 20 years Joseph Ehrenfried worked for John Baer.
In 1816 Joseph Enhrenfried followed Francis Bailey's example, and joined the Swedenborgian church.
Above: Joseph Ehrenfried's 1814 Martyrs' Mirror was beautifully designed and carefully printed. But fortune was not smiling on Joseph Ehrenfried. This book bankrupted him, and he was forced to work for the printer John Baer for the next 20 years.
Eventually Joseph relocated to Harrisburg, where he printed German-language works for the State of Pennsylvania, during the governorship of Governor Joseph Ritner. Joseph then relocated to Allentown ...and then relocated, again, to Lancaster, where he stayed for the rest of his life.