Moravian Steel Engravings

Moravian Seminary Steel Engraving
Moravian Seminary Steel Engraving

 This old document along with nine images depicting life in 1800s Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was found among my Great Grandmother’s possessions when she passed away. It’s unknown exactly when she acquired them, but they must have been important because she is thought to have gone out of her way to hold on to them for a long time. They have been passed down two generations after her to my Grandma who traced the family lineage back hundreds of years to Europe. These documents were able to lead my Grandma to discover the heritage of a large branch of the family that would have been lost to history had she not found them. The Moravians are a branch of Pennsylvania-Dutch immigrants to the US. They were actually from Germany and when telling the English-speaking immigrant documenters what nationality they were, they stated that they were “Deutsch” (the German word for German) which resulted in a misinterpretation that caused them to be written down as Dutch on paper. My Grandma and I are both very into history and I’ve spent lots of time sitting with her and listening to her talk about the family history as well as her adventures documenting it. The documents themselves were steel engravings, a rare and expensive art form. The ones in our family possession are reprints from 1942 that were still made using the original steel plates from the 1850s. Even the 1942 wave of steel-pressed documents depicting life in Old-Bethlehem and at a campus run by the Moravian Church in Old-Bethlehem are very rare and very valuable.

Place(s): Old-Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Germany
Year: 1630

– Corban Rogers

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more