A Guide to the

SC 0099

Compiled by Orville W. Bame, December, 1988
Revised by Chris Bolgiano, Jan. 1989; March 1990;
Trevor Alvord, March 2011

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Henkel Family Papers, 1783-1916

Collection No.: SC 0099

Creator: Henkel Family

Extent: Two Hollinger boxes and one flat box, 2.44 cubic feet

Language: English, German

Abstract: The Henkel Collection consists of two Hollinger boxes and one oversize 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 of New Market, Virginia. Also included are some Henkel family history materials and business documents, and miscellaneous secular materials.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

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], [box #, folder #], Henkel Family Papers, SC 0099, Special Collections, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Placed on deposit at Carrier Library through the November 1985 contract with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society.

Alternate Formats: EXCERPTS of this collection have been digitized and are made available here: 

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.

Processing Information: A schoolbook on mathematics was withdrawn by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society on May 16, 2000. In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 2065.


Bio/Historical Note:
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.

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.

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. The collection is arranged in six series:

          1.  Correspondence, 1806-1892

          2  Religious Documents, 1783-1897

          3.  Secular Documents, 1790-1910

          4.  Family History

          5.  Henkel Press Publications, 1806-1891

          6  Oversize, 1809-1916              

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. Photocopy of original typescript made by Richard R. Renalds, Timberville, VA., 1986.


Series I: Correspondence, 1806-1892 Box:Folder
Correspondence, 1804-1820 1:1
Mostly to Paul, Ambrose, and Socrates Henkel in German. Includes 1816 German diary with reference to Pt. Pleasant  
Correspondence, 1821-1892 1:2
German & English. Numerous letters from North Carolina  
Correspondence, undated 1:3
Correspondence - Salyards, 1846-1891, undated 1:4
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 Association  
Series 2: Religious Documents, 1783-1897  
Service literature, undated 1:5
Prayers, organization of service, responsive readings  
Sermons, 1841-1897 1:6
Most are titled and dated. Several in German. Includes Henkel list of subscribers for preaching, 1841-1852  
Music, 1829, undated 1:7
Fragments of religious songbooks, some with notations.  
Religious issues, 1783-1889 1:8
Writings from Bible; writings on religious ideas; treatise to Solomon from David Henkle, Lincolnton, NC, 1826  
Religious issues, undated 1:9
Marriage licenses, 1825-1856 1:10
Rockingham County licenses, some with notes that Ambrose or other Henkels performed ceremony  
Miscellaneous church papers, 1813-1892, undated 1:11
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 meeting, 1855; printed proceedings of extra session, Luth. Tennessee Synod, 1864  
Series 3: Secular Documents, 1790-1910  
Prose and poetry, 1864, undated 1:12
Speeches, undated 1:13
Four texts, one addressed to "Fellow Citizens of Shenandoah." Subjects are political & social concerns, include intemperance  
Business documents, 1790-1910 2:1
Promises to pay, subscription orders, receipts, post office oath, a ledger book  
Spelling book identified as "Solon P.C. Henkel 1832," 1832 2:2
Schoolbook - surveying, undated 2:3
Schoolbook - navigation, undated 2:4
Schoolbook - word problems, with fraktur, Tobias McGaughey, undated 2:5
Series 4: Family History  
Family history, undated 2:6
Series 5: Henkel Press publications, 1806-1891  
Henkel Press - Miscellaneous printing drafts, 1811-1817 2:7
Handwritten horse advertisements, announcements of tannery shops; German and English  
Henkel Press - Publications, Pamphlets, 1806-1891 2:8
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  
Series 6: Oversize, 1809-1916  
Rolled list of subscribers OV 1
Wool carding advertisements, 1809-1816 OV 1:1
Handwritten drafts and printed advertisements  
Miscellaneous announcements, 1809-1858, 1879, undated OV 1:2
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  
Music, 1868, undated OV 1:3
Words to songs; includes ballad about St. Clair's defeat by Indians. Some probably not printed by Henkel Press  
Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenshrift, 1807-1808 OV 1:4
December 23, 30, 1807; January 6, 20, 27; February 3, 17; March 2, 9, 16, 30, 1808  
Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenshrift, 1808 OV 1:5
April 6, 13, 27 (partial copy); May 4, 11, 18, 25; June 8, 15, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 10 (partial copy), 17, 31, 1808  
Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenshrift, 1808 OV 1:6
September 7; October 5 (1 1/2 copies), 12 (1 1/2 copies), 19 (partial copy), 26; November 2, 16 (2 copies), 23, 30; December 7, 14, 1808  
Virginische Volksberichter und Neumarketer Wochenshrift, 1809 OV 1:7
January 4, 11, 18 (partial); February 1, 8 (partial), 15, 22 (2 copies); March 1, 15, 22; April 12, 19, 26; May 10, 24, 31; June 14, 1809  
Westliche Correspondenz, 1806-1822 OV 1:8
April 12, 1806 (partial copy); February 6, 1808; September 19, 1812; June 28, August 2, 1822  
Miscellaneous publications, 1782-1824, undated OV 1:9
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)  
Miscellaneous, 1904-1916, undated OV 1:10
Grocery list, 1843 OV 1:11