Harrisonburg, Va 22807

Compiled by Orville W. Bame, December, 1988
Revised by Chris Bolgiano, Jan. 1989; March 1990

Revised by Trevor Alvord, March 2011

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Henkel Family Papers Collection

Collection No.: SC# 2065

Creator: Henkel Family Press

Extent: Two Hollinger boxes and one flat box, 2.5 linear feet

Language: English, German

Abstract: The Henkel Collection consists of two Hollinger boxes and one flat box, and spans a period from 1783 to 1916. The bulk of the collection consists of letters, religious documents, and newspapers and advertisements published by the Henkel Press. Also included are some Henkel family history materials and business documents, and miscellaneous secular materials.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk. (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], Henkel Family Papers, SC# 2065, Special Collections, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

Acquisition Information: Placed on deposit at Carrier Library through the November, 1985 contract with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Hist. Soc.

Alternative forms available:

EXCERPTS of this collection have been digitized and are made available here:  (Adobe Flash Player is required to view these items)

Poem about slavery, written by a slave - Unknown Author, undated (English) Full transcript and translation available here.

Report of the Transactions of the Second Evangelical Lutheran Conference held in Zion’s Church, Sulivan County Tennessee, October 22, 1821 (English) [Browse images] Full transcript available here.
Henkel manuscript: Woodstock Virginia, January 26, 1829 (English) [Browse images] Full transcript available here.
Henkel Press Song Book, undated (German) [Browse images] Full audio transcript available here.
Minutes of the Proceedings of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the State of Virginia, 1833 (English) [Browse images] Full transcript available here.
Short Excerpt of the Transactions of the Synod of the Lutheran Ministry, held in the state of North Carolina in the year of our Lord, 1817 (German) [Browse images] Full German transcript available hereFull English transcript available here.


Scope and Content:
The Henkel Collection consists of two Hollinger boxes and one flat box, and spans a period from 1783 to 1916. The bulk of the collection consists of letters, religious documents, and newspapers and advertisements published by the Henkel Press. Also included are some Henkel family history materials and business documents, and miscellaneous secular materials.

The Henkel Press began as a crude printing press in the living room of Paul Henkel's house in New Market, Virginia, in 1806. Eventually, it published more Lutheran material than any other press in the country, and earned fame for its excellent children's books. Although the press began printing in German for the large Shenandoah Valley German community, it also published in English at an early date.

Many of the older letters in the Letters Series are in German while later ones are primarily in English. They demonstrate the dedication of the Henkel family to their faith as well as their activities within the Synod.

The Henkel Press Publications Series (including the Oversize Series) contains a large part of the collection, and includes handwritten drafts for advertisements to be printed, pamphlets, issues of Virginische Volksberichterand Westliche Correspondenz, and a formula for the ink used in printing.

Also in the collection (Secular Documents Series) are several handwritten school books, some with fraktur.

Partial organization by a previous researcher was maintained. Series are:

          I.  Letters.  

          II.  Religious Documents.

          III.  Secular Documents.

          IV.  Family History.

          V.  Henkel Press Publications. 

          VI.  Oversize:  Henkel Press Pubs; Misc.                 

Edmonds, Albert Sydney. "The Henkels, Early Printers in New Market, Virginia," William and Mary Quarterly, 2nd series, v. 18, 1938.
Scheer, George F. "First Printing Press in the Valley of Virginia," Publishers' Weekly. Vol. 150, November 23, 1946.
Finck, Rev. William J. A Chronological Life of Paul Henkel. New Market, 1937. Xerox copy of typescript made by Richard R. Renalds, Timberville, VA., 1986. (SC BX8080.H42.C49 1986).

Henkel Family. Papers. SC# 2065
Carrier Library, James Madison University

Box 1 Series I: Letters. 1806-1892, and und.

Folder 1 1804-1820
Mostly to Paul, Ambrose, and Socrates Henkel in German. Includes 1816 German diary with reference to Pt. Pleasant.

Folder 2 1821-1892
German & English. Numerous letters from N.C.

Folder 3 Undated

Folder 4 Salyards, 1846-1891, & und.
Notes by J. Salyards; 1846 brochure on The New-Market Academy; unsigned poem; 2 copies 1875 Henkel pub. of review of "Idothea;" several items relating to Salyards Memorial Assn.

Series II: Religious Documents. 1783-1897, and und.

Folder 5 Service Literature, undated.
Prayers; organization of service; responsive readings.

Folder 6 Sermons, 1841-1897.
Most are titled and dated. Several in German. Includes Henkel list of subscribers for preaching, 1841-1852.

Folder 7 Music, 1829 and und. See also Oversize.
Fragments of religious songbooks, some with notations.

Folder 8 Religious issues, 1783-1889.
Writings from Bible; writings on religious ideas; treatise to Solomon from David Henkle, Lincolnton, NC, 1826.

Folder 9 Religious issues, und.

Folder 10 Marriage licenses, 1825-1856.
Rockingham County licenses, some with notes that Ambrose or other Henkels performed ceremony.

Folder 11 Miscellaneous church papers, 1813-1892, and und. Includes book of misc. accounts with members of Whitehaven congregation, 1813; mss. on worship services by 4 Valley Lutheran churches, called by Rev. Nischmucker in Woodstock Jan. 1828; minutes of church mtg., 1855; printed proceedings of extra session, Luth. Tennessee Synod, 1864.

Series III: Secular Documents. 1790-1910, and und.

Folder 12 Prose and poetry, 1864 and und.
Includes a poem from a slave's point of view; a speech on American government and reason to vote Democratic; political qualifications of Henkel family.
SC# 2065, Henkel Fam. Papers. Box 1, con't.

Folder 13 Speeches, undated.
Four texts, one addressed to "Fellow Citizens of Shenandoah". Subjects are political & social concerns, incl. intemperance.

Box 2 Series III, con't: Secular Documents. 1790-1910.

Folder 1 Business documents, 1790-1910.
Promises to pay, subscription orders, receipts, post office oath, a ledger book.

Folder 1.5 Spelling book identified as "Solon P.C. Henkel 1832."

Folders 2-5 Schoolbooks. Undated; handwritten in English. No documentation present to clarify the connection with the Henkel family. Folder 2, surveying; 3, navigation, with fractur; (Folder 4, mathematics, was withdrawn by the H-R Hist. Soc. on May 16, 2000); 5, word problems, with fractur. Folder 5 has on approx. page 6: "Tobias McGaughey."

Series IV: Family history, und. See also Oversize.

Folder 6 Writings, newspaper clips, a few pictures on history of Henkel family and Press.

Series V: Henkel Press publications. 1806-1891. See also Oversize.

Folder 7 Misc. printing drafts, 1811-1817.
Handwritten horse advertisements, announcements of tannery shops; German and English.

Folder 8 Pamphlets, 1806-1891. Contains:
St. Martin Luther's kleiner Katechismus. . . 1829 (58 cop.). Verhandlungen, Bericht der Verrichtungen, Auszug, or Report. . . evangelical Luthern Conference (North Carolina). . . 1812; 1814; 1816; 1817 (2 cop.). Verrichtung der Special-Conferenze der Evang. Luth. . . in Virginia. . . 1806; 1807; 1808; 1809; 1815; 1831. Kurze Nachricht, Report, Bericht, or Minutes. . . Evang. Luth. Tennessee Synod. . . 1820, 1821, 1828, 1830, 1833, 1891.

Box 1 Series VI: Oversize - Henkel Press publications, 1809-1868, and und.

Folder 1 Wool carding advertisements, 1809-1816. Handwritten drafts and printed advertisements.

Folder 2 Misc. announcements, 1809-1858, 1879 and und. Includes sales and school notices, incl. one for S. Henkel's New Market Female Seminary; broadside advertising a "living quanacos;" price-setting resolution of Shenandoah Cty. carpenters, 1816; church raffle tickets.

Folder 3 Music, 1868 and und.
Words to songs; includes ballad about St. Clair's defeat by Indians. Some probably not printed by Henkel Press.

Series VI: Oversize - Henkel Press pubs, con't.

Folders 4-7 Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenshrift, 1807-1809. Contains a 7 1/2 foot rolled list of subscribers, and the following issues: Dec. 23, 30, 1807.
Jan. 6, 20, 27; Feb. 3, 17; Mar. 2, 9, 16, 30, 1808.
April 6, 13, 27 (partial copy); May 4, 11, 18, 25, 1808.
June 8, 15, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27, 1808.
Aug. 10 (partial copy), 17, 31; Sept. 7, 1808.
Oct. 5 (1 1/2 copies), 12 (1 1/2 copies), 19 (partial copy), 26, 1808.
Nov. 2, 16 (2 copies), 23, 30; Dec. 7, 14, 1808.
Jan. 4, 11, 18 (partial), 1809.
Feb. 1, 8 (partial), 15, 22 (2 copies), 1809.
Mar. 1, 15, 22; Apr. 12, 19, 26, 1809.
May 10, 24, 31; June 14, 1809.

Folder 8 Westliche Correspondenz, 1806-1822. Contains:
Apr. 12, 1806 (partial copy)
Feb. 6, 1808.
Sept. 19, 1812.
June 28, Aug. 2, 1822.

Folder 9 Misc. publications, 1782-1824, and und. Contains Rooster and Lion Henkel sheets, as well the following non-Henkel publications: 16 July 1782 issue of Philadelphische Correspondenz; unidentified sheet from 16 July 1808 German newspaper; 17 Jan. 1815 issue of Der Volksfreund (Lancaster PA); an 1824 election broadside in German; & 1889 pamphlet Die Vekehrung (Allentown, PA).

Folder 10 Contains a 1786 deed, a 1916 appointment for E.O. Henkel, part of a religious treatise, and 3 misc. advertisements.