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Special Collections: Shenandoah Printing

Books from the Henkel Press in New Market, VA

German Printing in the Valley

German Immigrants comprised a large portion of the population in the Shenandoah Valley during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These immigrants were influential in establishing religious practices, architectural trends, and social customs throughout the area. In the realm of business the German Americans in the Valley were known for printing. One family in particular, the Henkel family, owned a printing business and the Henkel press produced much of the Valley's printed material during its years of operation. 

Many books and documents connected to printing in the Shenandoah Valley are available among Special Collections holdings. The majority of the sources cover German printing in the Valley or printing in German in general in Early America.

Shenandoah Printers in German

Cappon, Lester J. New Market, Virginia imprints, 1806-1876 A checklist. Charlottesville, Va.: Alderman Library, 1942.

    ―Examines German religious texts in conjunction with printing in the Shenandoah Valley. Contains a historical sketch of the Henkel family.

Dolmetsch, Christopher. The German Press of the Shenandoah Valley. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1984.

    ―This is an in-depth look at the business of printing done by German Americans in the Shenandoah Valley.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society collection, 1740-1950, SC 0117

    ―A manuscript collection comprised of a very wide variety of legal, governmental, business, school, and church records, as well as personal papers, all primarily from the Central Shenandoah Valley (Rockingham, Shenandoah, Augusta, and Page Counties). 

Henkel Family papers, 1783-1916, SC 0099

―A manuscript collection comprised 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.

Henkel Family papers, 1801-2008, SC 0253

    ―A manuscript collection that documents the Henkel family of Shenandoah and Rockingham counties in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The collection, chiefly documenting the Siram and Margaret Koiner Henkel line of the family, is comprised primarily of correspondence written to Siram P. Henkel and includes letters from his sons Lewis and Luther during their service in the American Civil War. The collection also includes personal and financial papers of various Henkel family members.

Rawson, David. News in the Valley : a study of newspaper circulation through the New Market Post Office, 1804-1884.

    ―An unpublished study that served as the basis for a conference presentation. It examines the history of newspaper circulation along the Great Wagon Road in the Shenandoah Valley. There is a specific focus on the area around New Market, Virginia. Its relevance to this guide stems from the fact that the postmaster of New Market, whom the study focuses on, was Solomon Henkel, who published and distributed Lutheran literature and school books in German. 

Roller, John Edwin, William Joseph Robertson, and James Breckinridge. Americana from three Virginia Libraries, 1923.

---Books on Early German Printing in America collected by the late General John E. Roller of Harrisonburg, Va. And Americana from the Libraries of the late Judge William J. Robertson of Charlottesville, Va. And General James Breckinridge of Botetourt Co., Va. Comprising Autographs and Manuscripts of Historical Interest and Importance….to be sold by auction Monday, Tuesday Evenings, October twenty-ninth, thirtieth at eight-fifteen. New York: The Anderson Galleries.

Wust, Klaus. The English and German Printing Office: Bilingual printers in Maryland and Virginia. Charlottesville, Va.: 1966.

    ―Reprinted from the Thirty-Second report of the Society for the history of the Germans in Maryland-1966 with a focus on the history of bilingual printers in Maryland and Virginia.

Other Printers