Printing & Publishing
Nicholas Hasselbach, printer
In 1765, a German printer named Nicolas Hasselbach moved to Baltimore, and Baltimore- Town had its first press. Hasselbach had learned paper-making and printing from Christopher Saur. Mr. Hasselbach was the first and only practical printer in Baltimore before 1773. He had learned paper making as well and had a complete outfit of printing materials for printing both in the English and German languages.
Hasselbach's first Maryland imprint is A Detection of the Proceedings of Messrs. Annan and Henderson..at Oxford [PA] Meeting-House, April 18..1764 (Baltimore-Town: Printed by N. Hasselbach, 1765). The preface to this work is dated February 12, 1765 and survives only through a unique copy found in the Garrett Library at John Hopkins University.
The only other known Hasselbach Baltimore imprint to survive is Poor Robin's: Being an Almanack and Ephemeris..for the Year of our Lord 1766 (Baltimore-Town: Printed and Sold by Nicolas Hasselbach, 1765). The unique copy of this almanac is shown here. Lawrence Wroth, the famous Maryland bibliographer, attributed several broadsides located at the Maryland Historical Society and the Maryland State Archives to Hasselbach, but none bear his imprint.
To facilitate future plans for his business he went abroad and was lost at sea.
John Godfrey Hanzsche (2-5 1787 to 8-27-1874) – Printer and Bookseller
John Godfrey Hanzsche was born in Germany, very likely in Dippoldiswalde, Saxony, or possibly Hannover. He immigrated to America by 1829 when he is listed in the Baltimore city directory. His brother Johann T. Hanzsche was already a printer in Baltimore. They worked together under the business name “Hanzsche Bros.” Some of their work is able to be seen online at the Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at http://dspace.nitle.org/handle/10090/1238 . The business was revived by descendants under the name Hanzsche & Co. after 1847.
John married in Baltimore, Maryland, 11 January 1838 to Henrietta Shay Hall. They had five children. He started the process to become a naturalized citizen in 1839. In 1840, he sold his part of Hanzsche Bros. to Johann, however he remained in Baltimore until at least April 1843. During 1845 to 1849, John is listed in the Morgan Index of Ohio People, Businesses and Institutions as living in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. There he continued to print almanacs, both in German and English. He also ran newspaper ads for his bookselling. The family is listed in the 1850 U.S. Census as residents of Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio. They soon reappeared in Cincinnati. They moved between Newport, Campbell County, KY, Cincinnati (where a son died in 1864), and the Catlettsburg area of eastern Kentucky from 1860-1870. John moved back to Cincinnati and died in 1874. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery there.
Information courtesy of James Savage
Johann Gruber (1767 to 12-29-1857)
The very first issue of what has become known as The Hagers-Town Town & Country Almanack came off John Gruber's press in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1797. It was originally entitled "Neuer Hagerstauner Calender Stadt und Land" and was produced on the original hand press in the Gruber home and place of business, located on South Potomac Street, on the corner of an alley near the Public Square in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Early editions were printed entirely in German and for many years, were only available in German. In 1822, due to popular demand, an English edition was also printed and this bilingual publication continued for almost one hundred years until 1918, when the German edition of The Almanack was discontinued.
The founder lived in the small, modest one story house that also housed his printing shop. A small garden completed the scene and along with his loving wife, Catherine, daughter of Captain Henry Alles, a prominent officer in the First United States Continental Army, lived and worked there for the rest of his life. The original Gruber’s house was later torn down in 1873 to make way for a more modern building.
Gruber brought four daughters into the world and each would prove, over the years, to be instrumental in maintaining the mission, look, and appeal of the founder’s original publication.
For a number of years, the English edition carried the name ‘American Farmer's Almanack’ and was published under the name of Gruber and May, Daniel May being a printer and bookbinder by trade and also Gruber's son-in-law through his marriage to Rebecca, the second Gruber daughter
After being directly involved for over sixty years with the compilation, editing, and publication of The Almanack, Mr. Gruber passed away at his home on December 29, 1857 in his ninetieth year. For the following seven years, his widow, Catherine assumed the role of editor and publisher, carrying on the publication’s traditions set forth by her husband. She was, in fact, was the very first women to edit and publish an almanac in the United States (The Old Farmer’s Almanac named a woman as editor but The Hagers-town Town & Country Almanack can claim having had a woman as editor over a century prior to that!).
Ernest Hoen (7-26-1828 to 6-16-1893)-Lithographer/Printer
Ernest Hoen, son of Martin of Ritzhausen, was born at Westerwald in Hoehn, Germany. He arrived in the U.S. when he was seven years old. He attended Zion’s church school. In 1840, when only twelve, he entered employment with Edward Weber and learned the lithographic business, which Mr. Weber (a maternal cousin of his father’s) had learned in Germany. Ernest mastered the art of Lithography. He had a mind for business and his brother August for research. Together, the qualities brought them and the firm to a high standard.
August was admitted as a partner in the firm Edward Weber and Company. When Mr. Weber died in 1848, Ernest and August succeeded to the business under the firm name A. Hoen & Company.
Mr. Hoen was always admired and respected by his employees. He was a director in the German-American Fire Insurance Company and served as President for a number of years. He was a director in the Savings Bank of Baltimore and a director in the Hopkins Place Savings Bank. He was a member of the Maryland Historical Society, the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland and the treasurer of the Maryland Horticultural Society, he himself being an avid horticulturalist.
Ernest Hoen is buried at Green Mount Cemetery.
Frank Nixdorff Hoen (10-31-1858 to)-Lithographer/Printer
The firm of A. Hoen & Company is the oldest lithographic establishment in the United States. Frank Nixdorff Hoen, son of Ernest Hoen, was born in Baltimore County. His father Ernest was born in Germany, as was his grandfather John Martin, who was a farmer in Hoehn, Germany. Frank received his early education in public and private schools of Baltimore city. He loved baseball and played with James F. Heyward of the city’s baseball club. In 1874 he went to work for Graff, Bennett &The business was founded by Edward Weber and August Hoen under the name of Edward Weber & Company. In 1839 the firm printed the first show cards in colors produced in the U.S. and in 1842 they lithographed the maps and illustrations for Fremont’s Reports. Advancements and improvements in the art originated with Hoen & Company.
The firm erected the Hoen Building on Lexington, Holliday and North Sts., which were destroyed by fire. They rebuilt at Chester, Chase and Biddle Sts. At their peak, they employed more than two hundred and fifty people. They extended their operation and build another plant in Richmond, VA., where approximately one hundred and fifty persons were employed.
Mr. Hoen was a director of the Savings Bank of Baltimore and the Maryland Institute and in 1901 was a director of the German Bank.
He served as the World’s Fair Commissioner at Chicago, Charleston, Buffalo and St. Louis. He chaired the public improvement committee of the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association. He was chairman of the Architectural Commission and a member of the Court House Committee.
Edward F. Leyh (6-6-1840 to 7-2-1901)
Mr. Leyh was born at Meimers, Thuringia, Germany. He attended the Seminaries of Homberg and Schlüchtern to become school teacher. He left Germany and arrived in Baltimore in 1861. He became a teacher at the German-Lutheran parish school on South Bond Street and later at the private school of Schäfer in East Baltimore. Around 1864, he became a reporter on the daily paper, ‘The Baltimore Wecker’ and in 1867 accepted the position of editor of ‘The Maryland Staatszeitung’. In 1871, Col. P. Raine (see profile) of the ‘Correspondent’ purchased the ‘Staatszeitung’ and offered Leyh the position of assistant editor. He stayed there until his death with the exception of a two year term in 1881 as assistant editor of the ‘Westliche Post’, an influential paper published in St. Louis, Missouri. He came back to Baltimore to become the chief editor of the ‘Correspondent’. His information on political, historical, and scientific subjects is thorough and accurate. He corresponded with several of the leading papers of Berlin, including Die Gartenlaube.
He was instrumental in the first ‘German American’ Day in Baltimore. He was active in the Baltimore City Public Schools and the Maryland Institute. He was a member of the Deutsches Literarisches Bureau.
He was an accomplished writer, his first literary work being a two part series, the first his childhood and life in Thürigen, the second part being about his life in Baltimore. The work was titled, ‘Der Tannhäuser’. He was known primarily for his interpretations and translations, one of which was the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. He translated many English poems into German. He translated ‘The Golddigger of Arizona’ (Joaquin Miller) and ‘Childs’ Harold’ (Byron). He translated into German the work of Joaquin Miller’s poems. The translation was published in Berlin and was greatly received and admired.
Ottmar Mergenthaler, (5-11-1854 to 10-28-1899)
Inventor of the Linotypemachine.
Ottmar Mergenthaler, son John and Rosina (Ackerman) was born in Hohenacker, Würtemburg, Germany. He was a mechanical genius that apprenticed for a watchmaker while in Germany. He attended night school and Sunday school to gain knowledge in mechanical drawing. He completed his apprenticeship in 1872. Also in 1872 he left for the U.S. and landed in Baltimore. He came to the U.S. to work in Washington for August Hahl, who made electrical instruments. He forwarded Mr. Mergenthaler the cash for his passage with the promise of work upon his arrival. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1878. He excelled here and became foreman within two years. The firm made many instruments for the new weather bureau. In 1873, Mr. Hahl moved his shop to Baltimore. The partnership ended in 1883 and Mr. Merganthaler moved to a small shop on St. Paul Street. Here he pursued his great invention.
Ottmar Mergenthaler was a German inventor, who has been called a second Gutenberg because of his invention of a machine that could easily and quickly set movable type. This machine revolutionized the art of printing. Before Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype in 1884, no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages. He invented the linotype machine in 1886, a machine that allowed an operator to automatically set metal type, which revolutionized the printing industry.
He secured financial backing and formed a company to place the invention on the market. In 1885, a syndicate of newspaper men bought a controlling interest in the company for $300,000. This was one of the largest sums ever paid for an invention, which had not yet produced one dollar of profit. Mergenthaler left that company due to some internal conflicts and began his own firm under the name of Ottmar Mergenthaler & Co. It was located at Clagett and Allen Sts. in Locust Point.
He died of tuberculosis at his home at Lanvale Street and Park Avenue in Baltimore in 1899. He was a member of Zion Church and the German Society of Maryland. A Baltimore City High School was named in his honor. He is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Frederick Polmyer (3-16-1848 to 8-16-1891)
Mr. Polmyer was the business manager of the "German Correspondent," was born in Baltimore city; he was educated at "Knapp’s Institute" and at an early age entered the business of his uncle, F. Raine (see profile), in which he was engaged for over twenty years in the capacity of business manager.
John F. Pruess (2-14-1864 to 4-17-1952)
Mr. Pruess was born at Bredstedt, Schleswig-Holstein. As a child he lived and worked with his father on his farm and learned the printing trade and worked for a newspaper founded by his brother, Peter. He left and arrived in the U.S. in 1882. He lived for several years in Walnut, Iowa and in Decatur County, KS., where he owned a farm. He sold the farm after a few years and wanted to return to printing. He found work with a newspaper in Johnstown, PA. In 1891, he and August Trappe (see profile) founded the Cumberland Freie Presse. It was, at that time, the only German newspaper between Baltimore and Wheeling, WV. August Trappe resigned and returned to Baltimore and John carried on the paper alone until 1901. At that time, he sold the paper and moved to Baltimore. The paper carried on until 1917. In Baltimore, Mr. Pruess began to work with the Deutsche Correspondent, first as a police reporter and then as a political reporter. He succeeded Richard Ortmann as editor upon Mr. Ortmann’s death. He held that position until the last of the original paper was published in 1918.
3-2-1834 to 4-23-1911)-Publisher
Edward Raine was born in Minden, Prussia. His grandfather, John Philip Wundermann was a publisher and musical composer.
Mr. Raine came to the U.S. during his youth and to join his brother, Colonel Frederick Raine (see profile), founder of the German Correspondent, in the work of publishing that paper. He traveled west and worked for several papers in Ohio. He returned to Baltimore at the request of his brother in the early 1870s. He became general manager of the German Correspondent. When Frederick Raine died, Edward Raine became the sole proprietor and publisher.
Edward was also a well-known notary public.
The paper grew to the point where in 1898 he began publishing the Sunday Correspondent, making that the third publication…a daily, weekly and Sunday.
Edward Raine is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
5-13-1823 to 2-26-1893)-Publisher
Frederick Raine, a German from a family in Westphalia, Germany, landed in Baltimore (1840) after working as an apprentice in a newspaper office in Münster. His father’s ancestors were English. His mother’s German. His father came to the U.S. prior to his son and revived his former business of publisher here, publishing, Die Geschäftige Martha (a religious paper) and the Der Demokratische Whig. He received an education in his native town and his first instruction in journalism from his Uncle Frederick Wundermann. He was apprenticed to the publishing and printing house at the age of fourteen. He acquired knowledge of the newspaper business while working as assistant editor of the Westphälische Zeitung, using his leisure to study ancient and modern languages. The apprenticeship ended in 1840, when Raine joined his father in Baltimore.
In 1841 he established and began printing ‘Der Deutsche Correspondent’, a weekly German-language newspaper that grew from the initial eight subscribers to a daily circulation (circulation of about 15,000 during the 1880s and 1890s). It was the first German newspaper to make foreign and domestic news its focal point. The publication included in full German language important official documents, municipal, State or national. It lasted longer than any of the other German newspapers in Maryland, being suspended by his niece Annie in 1918. (Dieter Cunz-The Maryland Germans: A History, published in 1948) Two other publications in the German language continued but with great difficulty after WWII. The last version closed in 1978
It is said that he was so passionate and committed to the German-American community, he was instrumental in having the German language being introduced as a subject in the city schools.
Governor Oden Bowie made Raine an honorary colonel because of his public service. He also served on the City Council and U.S. consul in Berlin from 1885-1889. In 1868, he was elected to the City Council from the Ninth Ward, and was made chairman of the committee on the arrival of the pioneer vessels of the German line of steamers between Baltimore and Bremen. He was a director of the Western Maryland Railroad.
Mayor Latrobe, in 1877, appointed Raine to the commission of five to inquire into the public school system of Baltimore and especially the particulars dealing with the introduction of the German language into the course of instruction of the public schools. The paper is being digitized by the Maryland Historical Society (2010).
His father passed away in 1879. Both brothers, William and Edward worked on the Correspondent with Col. Raine.
William Schnauffer (7-20-1835 to 11-10-1889)
Wilhelm Schnauffer was the editor of the Baltimore Wecker. He was born in Wurtemberg and came to Baltimore when he was twenty years old. His older brother Karl Heinrich was already in Baltimore and proceeded to found the Baltimore Wecker. After the death of his brother, Wilhelm and his brother’s widow continued publication of the paper. He later married his brother’s widow and founded a shipping agency.
Carl William Schneidereith (7-10-1814 to 6-1-1906)
Mr. Schneidereith was born in Elbing, Prussia. he apprenticed in his home town as a printer. He journeyed to Leipzig, which was then known as one of the foremost publishing and printing centers in Germany. He was offered a position in Verviers, Belgium, and became a manager of a large establishment there.
He emigrated to the U.S. in 1849 and settled in Baltimore. He worked with the ‘Baltimore Herald’, a bi-weekly German paper, and after a short time, with ‘Der Wecker’. In 1849 he went on his own and established one of the most popular German and English book and job printing house in the city of Baltimore. In the beginning of 1860, he began printing a weekly paper, ‘Die Glocke am Sonntag’, which was subsequently changed to ‘Der Leuchtthurm’. Among the best specimen of the printer’s art were the prayerbooks by Dr. Benjamin Szold and Dr. Henry Hochheimer.
In 1848, Prussian-born Carl William Schneidereith decided to emigrate to the United States. But in a sense, the decision to leave Germany was made for him. Born in the town of Elbring, Schneidereith was a journeyman printer by trade and a political liberal by inclination. The middle of the 19th century was a turbulent time in Germany, which was then a loose confederation of states ruled by a monarchy bend on maintaining its authority. Schneidereith was a member of a political group calling for a constitutional government and greater freedoms for rank-and-file Germans. Things eventually came to a boil for the iconoclastic tradesman.
Article from theBaltimore City Paper, 8/30/2000
Baltimore was then the third-largest city in the country and one of two principal ports served by the North German Lloyd shipping line, which delivered thousands of German immigrants to its Locust Point terminal. What Carl Schneidereith lacked in material possessions he made up for in his considerable printing skills, which had been honed in Leipzig, the printing center of Europe. In 1849, he acquired a circa-1820s hand press and went into business for himself as C.W. Schneidereith, Book and Job Printer. His shop was at 19 Mercer St. (near the convention center on today's map).
Today the 50-employee firm continues to perform a wide variety of printing jobs, including producing high-quality books of the sort put out by museums and art galleries. Of the dozens of printers appearing in the 1853 city directory, "Schneidereith" is the only name still listed in the 2000 Yellow Pages. Charles Schneidereith has a succinct explanation for this accomplishment.
"I chalk it up," he says, "to German stubbornness."
Article from the Baltimore City Paper, 8/30/2000
Charles William Schneidereith (10-13-1886 to 9-3-1976)
Born into a family of printers, Bill was born in Baltimore and educated at Knapp’s Academy and the Baltimore City public schools. He graduated from Baltimore City College in the class of 1905. He learned to set type at an early age. He entered the printing business when it was evolving from hand set type to mechanical type setting; and from carved wood cuts for illustrations to electrotypes. He was a strong supporter of the new techniques. In 1921, C.W. Schneidereith and Sons purchased a new building next to the print shop. Bill and his father designed the new and modern plant. It was completed in 1922 and at the age of 36, Bill became the executive officer. He was a leader in both the state and national Printing Industries of America. He developed training programs and educational programs for the industry. He also took a leading role in developing curriculum for the Baltimore City public schools.
He succeeded his father as a member of the Board of Directors of the German Children’s Home in 1920 and continued to serve on this board throughout his life. He was actively involved in a building fund drive for the German Children’s Home at the time of his death. He was active and served as president of the Rotary Club of Baltimore. He was one of the seven founders of the Baltimore Bibliophiles in 1954. He and his son planned a totally new printing plant, which opened in Southwest Baltimore in 1971.
He belonged to the German Society of Maryland and the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland.
August Frederick Trappe (9-6-1857 to 11-26-1935)
Mr. Trappe was born in Stockhausen, Thuringia. He left home at the age of fourteen to learn printing and typesetting at the Leipzig University Press. After his apprenticeship, he traveled as a journeyman. In Schleswig-Holstein, he and J. Peter Pruess (whom would become his future brother-in-law) formed the Brahmstädter Nachrichten. He became editor of several other German newspapers, but wasn’t content. In 1882, he and his brothers-in-law, Peter and John landed in Baltimore. They were headed west, but didn’t make it any further than Cumberland, when they ran out of funds. Later in 1882, he was joined by his wife and two children. They came to Baltimore in 1883. He secured work as a typesetter for the Baltimore Wecker; then to the Baltimore Correspondent, as a typesetter and later as a reporter.
Trappe and John Pruess started a weekly German paper in Cumberland, the ‘Freie Presse’, which continued until after the first World War. He returned to the Correspondent and for many years covered the Baltimore City Council and the Legislature in Annapolis. Pruess continued the Cumberland paper alone.
Trappe also acted for over forty years as the Maryalnd correspondent of the New Yorker Staatszeitung.
In 1905 with John Gfeller and Max Weissenborn, formed the German Publishing Company where he was editor and chief collaborator in the issuing of a 320 page publication entitled ‘Das Neue Baltimore’, which contains a wealth of information about German Americans from 1729 to 1905.
Mr. Trappe also served as secretary to the Bureau of Immigration from 1906 to 1912.
Mr. Weber was born in Baltimore to Joseph and Christiana (Hesse). He was education in the public schools and the YMCA. He entered the printing business and became foreman of the J.W. Bond & Co., in 1901. He was one of the organizers of Peters Publishing Printing Company in 1904. He was the President and a Director of the Urban & Suburban Permanent Building Assn.; organized the American Exchange & Savings Bank; organized the Business Men’s Association of Northwest Baltimore; Vice President of Lord Calvert Theaters Co.,; Delegate to the City Wide Congress; Member of the German Union, the City Club of Baltimore, the Knights of Columbus, KOTM and I.O.O.F. His office was at 701 Calvert Street.
Louis Theodore Weis (1857 to 1-12-1924)
Mr. Weis was born in Germany and attended elementary school there until the age of 10.
His father emigrated to America and was joined by the rest of the family. The father died as the family traveled to the U.S. so Louis at the age of 10 was forced to work to support the family. He entered the printing trade and although still young, became assistant foreman of the press room of the old Baltimore American. Later he became manager of the Chesapeake Label Company. He worked hard and gained a broad knowledge of English and the politics of the U.S. He was a member of the Young Men's Republican
Club and the German-American Lincoln Club, and served for many years as president of this active political organization.
In 1891 he organized the American Label Manufacturing Company, which company was later acquired by the United States Printing and Lithograph Company, one of the largest printing industries in the country at that time. He became one of the leaders of the Republican party in the State of Maryland.
In 1896 he was appointed one of the Liquor License Commissioners, and was reappointed in 1898. He had formed a close friendship with George L. Wellington, United States Senator, and this relationship existed throughout his life. In 1901 President Roosevelt appointed him United States Commissioner of Immigration at the port of Baltimore, reappointed him in 1905 for a second four-year term, and in 1909 President Taft reappointed him for a third four-year term. During all of these years he still kept the active management and the direction of the constantly growing label printing business, and in 1911 was made General Manager and Vice-President of the United States Printing and Lithograph Company. These increased duties compelled him to resign as Immigration Commissioner.
Louis T. Weis was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, of the Turnverein Vorwörts, and the Merchants and Manufacturers Association.
 John Charles Fremont’s 1842, 1843–’44 Report and map of his exploratory expeditions to the American West guided thousands of overland immigrants to the Oregon and California regions from the years 1845 to 1849. In 1849 Joseph Ware wrote the Emigrants’ Guide to California, which was largely drawn from Fremont’s Report, and was to guide the forty-niners through the California gold rush years. Fremont’s Report was more than a travelers’ guide—it was a U.S. government publication that achieved the expansionist objectives of a nation, and provided scientific and economic information concerning the potential of the trans-Mississippi West for pioneer settlement.
 This could have been named for the German poet or Tannhäusen, a municipality in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in Ostalbkreis district.