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Michael Billmeyer family papers


Held at: Germantown Historical Society [Contact Us]5501 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19144

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Germantown Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"In 1777 the British destroyed the Germantown (Pennsylvania) printing establishment of the Brethren (Dunkard) printer, Christopher Saur, Jr. Six years later Peter Leibert, a Brethren minister, and Michael Billmeyer, his Lutheran son-in-law, bought what was usable of the Saur equipment, and set up shop in Germantown [Leibert und Billmeyer], being more or less the successors of the younger Saur. This partnership continued for about three years, after which Billmeyer continued alone, and Leibert started a new printing business. In 1785 the Billmeyer press issued a reprint of the Ausbund, and a polemic from a onetime Franconia Mennonite bishop, Ein Aufsatz oder Verteidigung [by] Christian Funk. In 1790 it reprinted Roosen's Christliches Gemütsgespräch. In 1803 Billmeyer printed the new Franconia Conference hymnbook, Die kleine geistliche Harfe der Kinder Zions, and reprinted it in 1820. In 1805 he issued the fourth edition of Die Wandelnde Seele by J. P. Schabalie. He was thus in effect for a generation the printer for the Franconia Mennonites."

The Michael Billmeyer house is part of Colonial Germantown Historic District, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.


Quoted text from: Wenger, John C. "Billmeyer, Michael (1752-1837)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, web edition. 1955. Accessed March 14, 2012.

This collection is comprised of materials relating to Michael Billmeyer (1752-1837), his book shop, and family. From Michael Billmeyer's lifetime, this collection includes four ledgers (1815-1822), bills and receipts (1800-1840), correspondence (circa 1803-1810), and a German-language manuscript (1793). There is an epistle from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1719, which predates Michael Billmeyer. From his descendants, this collection includes: two letterbooks, circa 1893; photographs and images of Billmeyer's house, circa 1890-1940; and records of the estate sale of Wilhelmina G. Billmeyer, 1912. There are also a German Catechism, a recipe book, and other assorted items in the collection.

Germantown Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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