Saur, Christopher (1693-1758)
Saur (written both Saur and Sauer by the family itself, Sower being the later anglicized form), Christopher (1693-1758), a noted Dunkard (Church of the Brethren) printer and publisher of Germantown, PA, was born in Laasphe, Wittgenstein, Germany, emigrated to Germantown in 1724, and was baptized a member of the Dunkard church in 1728. After a residence near Ephrata in Lancaster County as a farmer, he returned to Germantown and in 1738 began his notable career as the first German printer and publisher in America. His annual almanac, Der Hoch-Deutsch Americanische Calender (1739-77), and his newspaper, Der Hoch-Deutsch Pennsylvanische Geschicht-Schreiber (1739-77), had wide circulation among the Germans of Pennsylvania and Maryland and had great influence among the German sects, including the Mennonites. In these and other publications he spoke out against war and slavery. His son's (Christopher Saur, Jr.) Ein Geistliches Magazien (1764-73), the first religious journal in America, published hymns and other writings of the Mennonite schoolteacher Christopher Dock, the good friend of both the father and the son. It was the father who persuaded Dock to write his famous Schulordnung in 1750, which was published by the son in 1770. The Saur Press published the first European language Bibles in America (German in 1743, 1763, and 1776); copies of the first edition are still found in some Mennonite pulpits in the Franconia Conference.
The Saur Press, carried on by the son until its confiscation by the Revolutionary authorities in 1778, printed the following Mennonite books: Ausbund (1742, 1751, 1767); Henry Funck, Ein Spiegel der Taufe (1744); and J. P. Schabalie, Die Wandlende Seel (1768, 1771). The other colonial Mennonite printer, the Ephrata Cloister Press, handled seven imprints during the same time: Güldene Aepffel (1745); Das Andenken einiger heiligen Märtyrer (1745); Die ernsthafte Christenpflicht (1745, 1770); Der blutige Schau-Platz oder Märtyrer-Spiegel (1748-49); and Christliches Gemüths-Gespräch (1769, 1770).
Alderfer, E. Gordon. "Pioneer Culture o£ the Plain People." Mennonite Life 5 (October 1950): 32.
The First Century of German Printing in America 1728-1830. Philadelphia, 1893.
Flory, John S. Literary Activity of the German Baptist Brethren in the Eighteenth Century. Elgin, 1908.
Genzmer, G. H. "Christopher Sower" and "Christopher Sower, Jr." Dictionary of American Biography 17 (1935).
Hocker, Edward W. The Sower Printing House of Colonial Times. Norristown: Pennsylvania German Society, 1948.
Seidensticker, Oswald. "Die beiden Christoph Saur in Germantown." Bilder aus der Deutsch-Peunsylvanischen Geschichte. New York, 1885.
Steckel, W. R. "Pietists in Colonial Pennsylvania; Christopher Saur, Printer, 1738-1758" (Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford University c. l949).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 434-435. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Saur, Christopher (1693-1758)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S284.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1959). Saur, Christopher (1693-1758). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S284.html.