Pastorius Bible.Front Cover.BTLast April, a woman called the Penn Libraries from California saying she had in her possession an English Bible that had belonged to Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651-1720). Pastorius is credited with being the founder, in 1683, of Germantown (now part of Philadelphia), which became the new home for thirteen Quaker and Mennonite families who emigrated from Krefeld, Germany in search of religious freedom and economic opportunity. Pastorius also drafted and signed, with three other Quakers, on behalf of the Germantown Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, the first protest against African-American slavery made by a religious body in the English colonies. The original 1688 Petition is now held by Haverford College and can be viewed on their website.

Pastorius was one of the few intellectuals in the Philadelphia region at this time, with a substantial library (probably the largest before James Logan, according to historian and librarian Edwin Wolf II) and a penchant for borrowing books from others. In addition to being the leader of the Krefelders, as they referred to themselves, Pastorius, who was trained in the law and practiced it regularly in service to the new settlement, also taught school and wrote numerous works. Some scholars consider his most important work to be the Beehive, a massive commonplace book in which he gathered together, like a bee, selections from the hundreds of books he had read. It has been in the collections of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania since 1949, the gift of Charles Sharpless Pastorius (1866-1950), and has recently been digitized and made available to the public as part of Penn in Hand.

The owner of the Bible, Glenda Marks, told us that she had inherited it from Lillian Pastorius Reynolds (1907-1991), whom she referred to as a “dear friend of our family for seventy years.” Ms. Marks engaged David Szewcyzk, of Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts, to confirm the provenance of the Bible and appraise its value. The Bible, which is lacking the engraved title page as well as the beginning of the Old Testament, turned out to have been published in Oxford by the University Printers in 1706. It is a quarto bound as an octavo (see below for an explanation of this format), in a Pennsylvania German binding of calf leather over wooden boards, unusual for an English Bible of the period.

After the appraisal, Ms. Marks contacted Penn about acquiring the Bible for the collections. We asked for the opportunity to see it ourselves and a few days later the Pastorius Bible was delivered to the Kislak Center for our consideration. I began by unwrapping the Bible, which Szewcyzk had described in his appraisal as being “in serious need of restoration.”

Pastorius Bible.Front Cover2.BTPastorius Bible.Front Interior Cover.BTIt reminded me of the condition of the Beehive manuscript when it arrived at Penn. The Bible, like the Beehive, is reminiscent of a ruin, albeit an important and fascinating one that should not only be preserved, but also conserved, so that future generations of scholars can use it without fear of damaging it further.

photo 4

Photograph of Beehive manuscript at its arrival at the University of Pennsylvania prior to conservation.

The Life of Francis Daniel Pastorius, The Founder of Germantown (1908) by Marion Dexter Learned, still the standard biography of Pastorius, includes a list of Pastorius’s books as prepared by Pastorius himself in his manuscript Res Propriae, now in the Pastorius Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Among the books listed under Quartos is “An English Bible, printed at Oxford.” Interestingly, there is “An English Bible printed at Oxford” listed as well under Octavos. Did Pastorius have two English Bibles, both printed at Oxford? The inventory of the effects of Pastorius, made after his death, reproduced in facsimile in Learned’s biography, lists “a English Bible in 4° and an other in 8° with a combined value of 2 pounds 10 shillings.

So clearly he had two. Why would Pastorius own not just one, but two English Bibles?

Like other humanist intellectuals of the period and due in part to his legal education, Pastorius knew how to read and write in a range of languages, both classical (Greek and Latin) and modern (French and Italian), in addition to German, his mother tongue. Pastorius’s multilingualism, and a related fascination with languages and their usefulness in understanding and communicating with other linguistic, cultural, and spiritual communities, was important throughout his life.

During a European tour that lasted from June 1680 to November 1682, Pastorius traveled to England. His interest in William Penn and his scheme for the colonization of Pennsylvania—a subject of heated debate in Pietist circles at the time of Pastorius’s return from his travels—may well have encouraged him to learn English, the official language of the province. When Pastorius was given the power of attorney to represent those interested in acquiring land in Pennsylvania on April 2, 1683, he translated the German document into English, revealing his increasing facility with the language at this early date. Once he arrived in Pennsylvania, while he used German to communicate with the other settlers in Germantown, he continued to improve his English, writing and publishing in both German and English and even Latin, depending on his perceived audience, which for some works was European. His New Primmer (Printed by William Bradford in New-York, and sold by the author in Pennsilvania, 1698), written, according to its title page, not only for the Youth of this Province, but likewise for those, who from forreign Countries and Nations come to settle amongst us, shows him working to unite the various groups settling in new province linguistically.

This ability to move between various communities was essential to Pastorius’s success in Pennsylvania. While an English Bible, like those used by many in the colony, may have originally helped him to improve his English, by this point in his life it is more likely that his interest in owning such a Bible had more to do with determining how well the sacred texts had been translated, that is, whether the specific renderings of faith in spoken languages reflected the same spiritual language. Most of his annotations in this King James Version of the Bible are corrections of what Pastorius viewed as mistranslations, or are more precise translations. He often notes the Greek, such as we see here in excerpts from 1 Peter 3 and 2 Peter 1:

Pastorius Bible.Annotation O8 verso.BTPastorius Bible.Annotation P1verso.BTThe same inventory mentioned above lists a Greek testament as being among his effects, and according to Res Propriae, Pastorius owned an edition of the New Testament in Greek and Latin. Originally part of the eight-volume Biblia Polyglotta, also known as the Plantin or Antwerp Polyglot, supervised by Benito Arias Montano and originally printed in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin between 1568 and 1573, the Greek New Testament was reprinted numerous times in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, first in Antwerp and then in Geneva.

Pastorius Bible.Long Comments.BT

Pastorius’s longest writings in the Bible are found on the verso of the leaf containing A TABLE of Office and Conditions of Men and consist of two “texts” in his own hand, the first beginning: “Found in the oldest Bible, that was printed at Worms” and the second “[In] some Greek Copies we read Luke 6. Between the 5th and 6th verses.” The first appears to be the Epistle of Paul To The Laodiceans, long excluded from the Biblical canon. It had appeared in some editions of the Vulgate, most often those written in England, and John Wycliffe had included it in his translation of the Bible from Latin to English.

It first seemed to me like Pastorius might be referring to an English translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek by William Tyndale, printed in Worms in 1526. But Tyndale’s translation does not contain this epistle. The first complete German Reformation Bible, translated from the original languages by Ludwig Hetzer and Hans Denck, does. It was printed by Peter Schoeffer at Worms in 1529. So this may well be the Bible “printed at Worms” that Pastorius is referring to in this header.

Pastorius’s second “text” is a set of comments related to particular passages in the Bible where there are differences among the various Greek copies, or different readings by different scholars. His first comment concerns an additional verse in 6 Luke that only appears in “some Greek copies.” Pastorius cites that verse in English. Another focuses on 12 Romans 11 and addresses scholarly disagreement about how to translate the Greek. In a third, he points out how copies differ as to whether they are talking about vinegar or wine. And so on.

In addition to the Greek New Testament referred to above, Pastorius owned a copy of Edward Leigh’s Critica sacra, or, Philologicall and theologicall observations upon all the Greek words of the New Testament, in order alphabeticall, a Greek grammar, and a Greek dictionary. He must have been referring to these texts when making these notes in his Bible.

The Winding Road to Penn

Research done once the Bible was on deposit at Penn gave me a clearer idea of how the Bible passed down through Pastorius’s descendants. The Bible contains numerous annotations by members of the family. The loose blank endpaper at the back of the book contains a list of the children of Daniel and Elizabeth (Mechlin) Pastorius, with their birth dates and times on one side of the leaf and the dates of their marriages on the other.Pastorius Bible.Back Endleaf.BT Pastorius Bible.Back Leaves.BTA loose blank sheet contains the death dates of Charles Pastorius (6 Sept 1796) and Leticia Pastorius (5 Sept 1813), while the page with two longer texts written in Francis Daniel Pastorius’s hand also contain a note in another hand listing two children, fraternal twins named Charles and Mary, who were born to Daniel and Sarah Mackenet on 17 April 1758. Written on the front pastedown is “Sarah Mackenet/her book” and on the back pastedown “Charles Mackenet/his Copy Book.”

Pastorius Bible.Front Interior Cover.BTWho were Daniel and Sarah Mackenet, and how did Sarah and their son Charles end up writing in this Bible?

Using the Pastorius genealogy in Learned’s biography, it is possible to follow the likely route of transmission. After Pastorius’s death, it appears that the Bible passed to Johann Samuel Pastorius (1690-1722), one of Pastorius’s two sons, and then to Daniel Pastorius (1717-1754), Johann’s son. Daniel married Sarah Shoemaker (1722-1795) in 1742 and together they had four children: Hannah (b. 1743), Abraham (1745-1779), Samuel (1747-1798), and Daniel Pastorius (1747-1831). After Daniel’s death in 1754, his wife Sarah remarried. With her second husband, Blasius Daniel Mackenet (1724-1761), she had three more children: twins Charles and Mary, born in 1758, and a second son named Daniel (b. 1760). The Pastorius Bible clearly remained in Sarah Mackenet’s possession after her husband Daniel’s death and was part of the household when Charles Mackenet was young, providing him with blank space on which to make his claim to this work.

The list, inscribed in the Bible, of children born to Sarah’s son, Daniel Pastorius (1747-1831), and his wife Elizabeth Mechlin (1757-1830) indicates that it then passed to him. Daniel and Elizabeth had five children: Mary Mechlin (1788-1868), Letitia (1790-1813), Joseph (1793-1845), Charles (1795-1796), and Daniel Pastorius (1797-1864), next in line to serve as a caretaker for the Bible.

On the papers attached to the front cover, one reads “The Bible of/Francis Daniel Pastorius/–Founder of Germantown–/Born Sommerhausen Sep 16, 1651/Died Germantown Dec 27, 1719/The property of Daniel Pastorius Bruner/417 West Chelten Avenue/Germantown.” Who was Daniel Pastorius Bruner (1852-1901), and from whom would he have received the Bible? Bruner was the grandson of Daniel Pastorius (1797-1864) and the son of Mary Macknett Pastorius (1826-1903) and Davies E. Bruner.

After Bruner’s death, the Bible appears to have left the line of Daniel Pastorius (1747-1831) for that of his brother Samuel (1747-1798). Samuel Pastorius and his wife Sarah had a son, Abraham Pastorius (1780-1825). Abraham married Charlotte Wilson in 1816 and had, among other children, a son, Washington Pastorius (1818-1880). Late in life Washington had a son, Horace Evans Pastorius (1876-1955), who with his wife Elizabeth Hoagland Pastorius (1880-1975) had a daughter, Josephine Lillian Pastorius Reynolds (1907-1991), the woman from whom Glenda Marks received the Bible. Perhaps Lillian, as she was known, received the Bible from her father, who would have received it from his cousin Daniel Pastorius Bruner.

The history of this Bible mirrors, to an extent, that of the better-known Beehive manuscript. A family tradition holds that Pastorius himself charged that the manuscript be kept by the male descendent next in line who lives within ten miles of Germantown. According to a letter written by Daniel Pastorius Bruner to Learned in 1897, the line of ownership for the Beehive was as follows:

Francis Daniel Pastorius

Henry Pastorius, his son (1692-1734)

Daniel Pastorius, grandson (1717-1754)

Abraham Pastorius, great grandson (1745-1815)

Daniel Pastorius, great grandson (1747-1831) [Bruner’s great grandfather]

Washington Pastorius (1818-1880) [son of Abraham (1780-1825), whose father was Samuel Pastorius (1747-1798), brother to Abraham and Daniel]

Francis Daniel Pastorius, son of Washington (1863-1926) [and father of Washington Pastorius (1892-1957)]

Daniel Pastorius Bruner (1852-1901)

Bruner had gained possession of the manuscript because, unlike Francis Daniel Pastorius (1863-1926), he resided in Germantown. However, after Bruner died in 1901, the manuscript reverted back to Francis Daniel, “who placed it on exhibition at the Library of the University of Pennsylvania,” according to Learned. Francis Daniel was the brother of Horace Evans Pastorius (1876-1955), and Horace Evans was the father of Josephine Lillian Pastorius, the last member of the Pastorius family to own the Bible. Francis Daniel and Horace Evans were also brothers of Charles Sharpless Pastorius (1866-1950), who owned the Beehive after Francis Daniel’s death and gave it to the Penn Libraries in 1949. According to Bruner, the manuscript had long sat in a bank vault at the Germantown Trust Company, placed there originally by Washington Pastorius (1818-1880), and presumably kept there by Bruner after he gained possession of it. It continued to sit there for years after Bruner’s death, since Francis Daniel was living at the time in Colorado and Charles Sharpless in California, both more than ten miles from Germantown.

Upon reading correspondence in our acquisition files between Charles Sharpless Pastorius and his nephew S. Foster Damon (son of Sallie Wolff Pastorius Damon), I discovered that a later Washington Pastorius (1892-1957) owned all the contents of the bank vault except the Beehive manuscript. In a letter dated 9 December 1949 to Charles Sharpless Pastorius, John Alden, the Curator of Rare Books, wrote that S. Foster Damon had transmitted the Beehive manuscript and also left with him “other material from the vault which I understand is the property of your son [actually nephew] Washington. I shall send him a description of it in a few days [not located in the files]. The material consists of another of Pastorius’s ms. works, an early 18th century deed witnessed by Pastorius, AND [my emphasis] an early 18th century English Bible with manuscript family records.” Was this the very Bible we have just acquired?

In a letter dated 18 January 1950 to C. Sharpless, Alden wrote: “Your nephew Washington Pastorius has, as you may know, deposited with us the other two Pastorius manuscripts from the bank vault.” This letter makes it sound as though the Bible, the third item found in the vault, was not deposited but rather returned to Washington. However, there is no correspondence in the file to confirm this. We do have the Pastorius manuscript known as The Young Country Clerk’s Collection, the earliest practical legal treatise written in British North America, which Washington Pastorius gave to the Library in 1949, making it highly likely that this was the Pastorius manuscript mentioned in the earlier letter. I have not located a deed witnessed by Pastorius in the Penn Libraries’ collections, so perhaps this did not ultimately come to Penn. It may well have been sent on to Colorado, where Washington lived, along with the Bible.

Given this information, it now seems highly likely that the Pastorius Bible we acquired is the same one that sat for years in the bank vault and even spent a short time here at the University awaiting its fate. Washington Pastorius (1892-1957) most likely passed it on to his nephew Horace Evans Pastorius, Jr. (1904-1972), since Horace, like Washington, lived in Colorado. Horace would have then left it to his sister, Lillian Pastorius Reynolds (1907-1991), who bequeathed it to Glenda Marks.

The Future of the Pastorius Bible

We are happy that the Bible has now returned to Philadelphia from its western travels. It will be available to scholars for the first time, adding a new piece to our picture of a remarkable figure in the early history of this country. The Bible joins the Beehive (UPenn Ms. Codex 726), the Young Country Clerk’s Collection, (UPenn Ms. Codex 89) and two manuscripts by Pastorius’s father, Melchior Adam Pastorius (UPenn Ms. Codex 1150 and 1151). Given the condition of the Bible, major conservation work is being planned, and will likely commence when construction on the new conservation lab in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts is completed, some time in 2016. Until then, use of the Pastorius Bible will be restricted.

For more information about Francis Daniel Pastorius:

Alfred L. Brophy, “‘Ingenium est Fateri per quos profeceris’: Francis Daniel Pastorius’ Young Country Clerk’s Collection and Anglo-American Legal Literature, 1682-1716” (This article appeared in revised form in the 3 University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 637- 742 (1996)):

Anthony Grafton, “The Republic of Letters in the American Colonies: Francis Daniel Pastorius Makes a Notebook” (Presidential address delivered at the 126th annual meeting of the American Historical Association, held in Chicago in 2012):

Brooke Palmieri, “ ‘What the Bees Have Taken Pains For’: Francis Daniel Pastorius, The Beehive, and Commonplacing in Colonial Pennsylvania” (B.A. thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 2009)

A short explanation of the book formats know as quarto, octavo, and quarto bound as an octavo:

A quarto (4°) is what you get when you fold a printed sheet of paper twice, first in one direction and then in the other, resulting in four leaves, or eight pages of text, while an octavo (8°) is what you get when you fold a sheet of paper is three times, resulting in eight leaves, or sixteen pages. The more folds, the smaller the book will be generally. The folded sheet of paper is referred to as a gathering. Sometime more than one folded sheet of paper is including in a gathering, in order to reduce the amount of sewing needed to bind the book. When a quarto is bound as an octavo, the two sheets are folded and then one is placed inside the other before sewing through the center.