Following up on key themes in The Word in the Wilderness, this new podcast welcomes you into the world of manuscript production, popular piety, and spiritual culture in early German Pennsylvania and beyond.
The first season of Cloister Talk has concluded. Listen to Season One below, and look for new episodes beginning on Monday, January 4, 2021! The Season Two Teaser Trailer is located below, along with Season Two episode titles and synopses.
Episode 1: The History of Studying Pennsylvania Germans and Their Illuminated Manuscripts
Ein Unpartheyisches Gesang-Buch… (Lancaster, PA: Johann Albrecht, 1804). M2116 M54. Courtesy of The Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE.
This episode introduces listeners to trends in the study of Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts, commonly called "Fraktur."
Episode 2: What is "Fraktur"? Type, Script, and Art
Michael Baurenfeind, Volkommene Wieder-Herstellung, der bischer Fehr in Verfall gekommenen gründlich-u: Zierlichen Schreib-Kunst… (Nuremberg: s.n., 1716), Z43 B35 F. Courtesy of The Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE.
This episode explores the many meanings of the word "Fraktur" in its European and American contexts and considers how best to deploy the term when discussing the manuscript art of the Pennsylvania Germans.
Episode 3: Who Were the Pennsylvania Germans, and Why do They Matter?
Johann Arndt, Sechs Bücher vom Wahren Christenthum… (Philadelphia: Georg W. Mentz und Sohn, 1834). BR120 A74w. Courtesy of The Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE.
Pennsylvania German religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions were extremely complex. This episode offers a quick primer on many of the various German-speaking groups that resided in early Pennsylvania and explores their connection to the devotional manuscript arts.
Episode 4: What is "Manuscript Culture"? Reframing Pennsylvania German Manuscript Studies as a Sub-field of Book History
German children’s picture dictionary (untitled). Germany: s.n., ca. 1836. AG27 G37. Courtesy of The Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE.
The study of Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts has long lacked a coherent theoretical and methodological foundation that situates the enterprise into wider scholarly conversations about religion, language, text, and culture. This episode proposes new approaches to unlocking the meaning of Pennsylvania German manuscripts, grounded in recent advancements in study of the history of texts as material artifacts.
Episode 5: Manuscript Culture Beyond Pennsylvania: Traditions in Asia, the Islamic World, Early Modern Europe, Great Britain, and the Americas
Ioseph de Casanova, Primera Parte del Arte de Escrivir Todas Formas de Letras. Escrito, y Tallado por el Maestro Ioseph de Casanova, Notario Apostolico, y Examinador de los Maestros del dicho Arte en la villa de Madrid, Corte de su Maestad, y natural de la villa de Magallon, Arçobispando de Zaragoça. Madrid: Diego Diaz de la Carrera, 1650, page 54. 11 3/4" H x 8 1/4" W. Z 43 C33 cep 3. Courtesy of the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY.
Think that the Pennsylvania Germans were alone in their embrace of calligraphy and manuscript illumination as part of their spiritual enterprise? Think again. In this episode, learn about other cultures and communities around the world that employed the manuscript arts as culturally-resonant components of their popular piety long after the so-called "Age of Print" was well underway.
Episode 6: "The Root of Wisdom is to Fear the Lord": Wisdom Literature and Pennsylvania German Manuscript Culture
Hoch-Deutsches Reformirtes ABC- und Namen-Büchlein für Kinder welche anfangen zu lernen. Verbesserte Ausgabe. Philadelphia: Conrad Zentler, 1816. PF3114 H68. Courtesy of The Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE.
Old Testament wisdom literature looms large over the Pennsylvania German manuscript arts. Learn about the historical significance of the wisdom literature as part of Pennsylvania German popular piety, and why the wisdom books provided such rich source material for scribes.
Episode 7: "Eines Christen Reise": Origins of The Word in the Wilderness
Joh. Bunian (John Bunyan), Eines Christen Reise nach der seeligen Ewigkeit… (Ephrata, PA: Drucks und Verlags der Brüderschafft, 1754). EL2 .B942p. GE 754. Courtesy The Rosenbach, Philadelphia.
In this final episode of the first season of Cloister Talk, learn about the research and writing process that led to the publication of The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania.
Cloister Talk Season Two Teaser Trailer!
Birth, baptismal, and marriage certificate (Geburts, Tauf, und Trauschein) for Elisabeth Groffin Kraussin [Elisabeth Krauss]. Watercolor and ink on wove paper. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1823. FLP 1213. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department.
Season Two of Cloister Talk: The Pennsylvania German Material Texts Podcast debuts on Monday, January 4, 2021. In this trailer, learn about what questions and topics will be explored in the upcoming season, and about what primary sources you can expect to learn in the new episodes.
Episode 8: The Pirate Bible: An Epic Tale of Looted Germantown Bibles, and What It Reveals About Pennsylvania German Religion in a Vast Atlantic World
Biblia, Das Ist: Die Heilige Schrift Altes und Neues Testaments … Germantown, PA: Christopher Saur, 1743. FLP Call No. Pennsylvania German Collection – Germantown 1743. Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department.
Pennsylvania German religious culture existed within a vast, complex, fluid, and interconnected world of German-Protestant spirituality and text exchange. Perhaps no artifact better exemplifies this heritage than a Pennsylvania-printed Bible held at the Free Library of Philadelphia that was once captured by pirates on its voyage to Europe! Listen to this remarkable story—and learn what it has to teach us about early American religion and history of the book.
Episode 9: Manuscripts in Focus: Penmanship Samples
Carl Friedrich Egelmann, penmanship sample, “Kleines Alphabet,” in Deutsche & Englische Vorschriften für die Jugend (Reading, PA: Carl Friederick Egelmann, 1831), leaf 9. 6” H x 8” W. Rosenbach call no. A 831d. Courtesy of The Rosenbach, Philadelphia. Photograph by the podcaster.
Pennsylvania German manuscript penmanship samples are some of the most engaging, text-rich, and religiously-significant devotional documents created during the Long Era of Manuscripts in early Pennsylvania. This episode offers an in-depth introduction to the manuscript genre.
Episode 10: Manuscripts in Focus: Tune Books
Johann Adam Eyer, songbook, 1790. Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. 2012.0027.015. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle. Courtesy of Winterthur Museum.
Music has always figured prominently in Pennsylvania German religious culture, making it unsurprising that the musical and calligraphic arts intersected in potent ways during the Long Era of Manuscripts. In this episode of Cloister Talk, take a journey into the rich musical heritage of German Protestantism and its expressions in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 11: Manuscripts in Focus: Birth and Baptismal Certificates
Carl Friedrich Egelmann, Geburts und Taufschein (birth and baptismal certificate) of Sara Anna Huber, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and Douglass Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1835-1840. Ink and paper. 11 15/16” H x 9 11/16” W. 1980.0048. Museum purchase. Courtesy of Winterthur Museum.
Religious rituals and the commemoration of life events found rich expression in Pennsylvania German print and manuscript culture, especially on documents known as birth and baptism certificates. This episode of Cloister Talk offers a detailed analysis of the certificate genre and considers how it connects to other Pennsylvania German material texts.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 12: Johann Gottfried Weber and Johannes Bard: Two Characters in the 18th-century Transatlantic World of Manuscripts
Johann Gottfried Weber, image of calligrapher’s hands at work, Allgemeine Anweisung der neuesten Schönschreibkunst des Hochgräflich Lippischen Bottenmeisters und Aktuarius (Duisburg am Rhein: Helwingschen Universitäts Buchhandlung, 1780), pl. 2. (Arca Artium Collection, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.)
Pennsylvania Germans figured prominently in a transatlantic world of copying and exchanging artistic, devotional texts. This episode of Cloister Talk examines intricate and remarkable artifacts of this culture of copying, drawing on resources from the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur, Delaware.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 13: A Lesson in Early Modern Linguistic Theory with Johann Merken, and Its Implications for the Study of Material Texts
The history of material texts naturally intersects with the history of language—and linguistic theory. Drawing on fascinating artifacts held at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, this episode of Cloister Talk offers useful transatlantic intellectual-historical context for the place of German language (spoken, written, and printed) in the early-modern European world.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 14: The Pennsylvania Pilgrim: Fireside Poet John Greenleaf Whittier's Interpretation of the Pennsylvania German, Quaker, and Early Abolitionist Francis Daniel Pastorius
John Greenleaf Whittier, The Pennsylvania Pilgrim, and Other Poems (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1872). From the collection of the podcaster. Photograph by the podcaster.
The famous Quaker Fireside Poet John Greenleaf Whittier had a special passion for Pennsylvania history, which he expressed in his famous poem “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.” Learn about Whittier’s interest in Pennsylvania religious heritage, his interpretation of the famous Pennsylvania settler Francis Daniel Pastorius, and what Whittier’s nineteenth-century poem reveals about collective memory of the United States.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 15: "Errand Into the Wilderness": What Pennsylvania German Illuminated Manuscripts Mean in American History
Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, Pennsylvania in American History (Philadelphia: William J. Campbell, 1910). Courtesy of the German Society of Pennsylvania Library. Photograph by the podcaster.
A key topic addressed in The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania is how a deeper understanding of the spiritual underpinnings of the Pennsylvania German manuscript arts can add nuance to our interpretation of early American religious and cultural life. This episode of Cloister Talk explores that issue in greater depth, using Samuel Pennypacker’s book Pennsylvania in American History and intellectual historian Perry Miller’s famous work Errand Into the Wilderness as case studies for our analysis.
Episode coming soon!
Episode 16: Afternoon Tea with Alexander Lawrence Ames: Answering Your Questions about Writing The Word in the Wilderness, and a Life Spent in Libraries and Museums
Henry T. MacNeill, postcard, “The Tea House at Downingtown,” A917.481 P536 v.11, Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department.
Writing The Word in the Wilderness: Popular Piety and the Manuscript Arts in Early Pennsylvania, and sharing the book’s ideas with audiences from across Pennsylvania and around the world, has truly been a journey undertaken in community. At the conclusion of Season 2 of Cloister Talk: The Pennsylvania German Material Texts Podcast, it’s time to sit back, relax, and reflect on the book, the primary sources that made its analysis possible, and what The Word in the Wilderness and Pennsylvania German illuminated manuscripts have to teach us today. Make a hot cup of tea and settle in for a fascinating discussion! This final instalment of Season 2 features personal reflections on the process of writing the book, and the fascinating world of historical museums and special collections libraries.