Prayer Book (1806) Pennsylvania German published by Michael Billmeyer


In stock

SKU: eby-171213-2895 Categories: , ,


Anon. Gebet-Büchlein, gestellet von einer Christum und sein Wort liebhabenden Seelen; worinnen nebst andern schönen tröstlichen Gebetern, das Leiden Jesu gebetsweise erbaulich betrachtet wird. (Germantown, PA: Michael Billmeyer, 1806)

Translation: Prayer Book, composed of a Christ and His Word of Loving Souls; in which, along with other beautiful comforting prayers, the suffering of Jesus is prayerfully edified. (Google Translate)

18mo. 271 pages plus 4 unnumbered index pages. Hardcover. Binding is mottled calf with 5 horizontal lines in gold on spine. In German, printed in Blackletter Gothic type. (Arndt & Eck 1486, Shaw & Shoemaker 10468, Seidensticker p. 167)

Condition: Super nice condition, binding tight, a couple of dog ears on pages 111/112 and 165/166. Minor foxing, wrinkling of pages as commonly found on books of this period. Number (22 18) stamped in blue on bottom of front paste-down.

Considered one of the important printers of early Pennsylvania, Michael Billmeyer was a son-in-law of Peter Leibert who was a Journeyman printer employed by Christoph Saur – the most prominent German printer in Pennsylvania.  When Saur lost the printing house and all equipment in 1777 due to rumors of his political leanings, Billmeyer and Leibert  acquired the remaining equipment in 1783.

“Michael Billmeyer (1752-1837), a Lutheran, along with his father-in-law, Peter Leibert, a Brethren minister, acquired in 1783 what was usable of the Saur printing equipment, and established a printing business in Germantown. After about three years, Leibert started a new printing business, and Billmeyer became sole proprietor. Billmeyer was a prolific printer of the German New Testament (Das Neue Testament) in the Martin Luther version, beginning with the 1787 first edition (Evans 20236). The Billmeyer New Testament was popular and was reprinted in 1788 (Evans 20969), 1795, 1803, 1807, 1808, 1810, 1819, and 1822. These have traditionally been listed as duodecimo (12mo) format and are about 17 cm in height. They are bound in leather secured with two brass clasps on leather straps attached to the back cover.

“Today the Billmeyer New Testaments, particularly the editions of the early nineteenth century, are easier to find than the Saur and Ephrata Scriptures, and often have intact clasps. Billmeyer also frequently printed Psalters or hymnals. One he printed, Der Psalter des Konigs and Propheten Davids verdeutschet von D. Martin Luther was used widely by Lutheran churches, but also by others.” – International Collectors of Bibles Society website