Printing & Publishing

Photo from the Baltimore Museum of Industry

Other early German printers: Christopher Sauer, Nicholaus Reitenbauer, Nicholaus Tchudi, Johann Schultz and Schaffer and Maund...(publishers of German books).

Johann Gruber (1768 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 (1771-1859), 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!).

Mr. Gruber is buried at the Zion Reformed United Church of Christ Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Nicholas Hasselbach, Printer (to 1769)

In 1765 (some records say 1764), 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. Shortly aftr his arrival in Baltimore in July of 1765, he purchased a lot at the now, 414 East Baltimore Street, and in 1768 a lot at the corner of Charles and Pratt Streets and in 1769 a lot at the southeast corner of Gay and Lombard Streest and a lot on the south side of Mercer Street.

Hasselbach's first Maryland imprint is 'A Detection of the Proceedings of Messrs. Annan and 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 in 1769. His business was sold in 1773, by his widow to William Goddard. Goddard published the Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser, also known as the Baltimore American.

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 . 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

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.

(Sign at the Baltimore Museum of Industry)

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.

Sign at Museum of Industry

The Hoen Building was repurposed:

The moving trucks left North Baltimore on a foggy December morning. They hauled desks and computers to the old Hoen lithography plant at Biddle and Chester streets in East Baltimore. Workers at the nonprofit Strong City Baltimore were dazzled at their new digs and the transformation of the former industrial loft space that had been closed since 1981.

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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 & Company in St. Louis, but returned in 1877 to Baltimore and entered his father's business. The business,

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.[1] 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’[2]. 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. His father was a school teacher. The family moved shortly after Ottmar's birth to Ensingen on the Enz river. Here, the story goes, that the clock tower with the church bells had stood silent because no one was able to repair them. One day the bells began to ring..."The Schoolmaster's boy has done it".

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 sailed aboard the 'Berlin'. 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. At first he worked on knives and tools in Hahl's shop, and obtained his first patent at the age of 20. 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. Upon his arrival in Baltimore, he joined the Liederkranz Society and the German Turnverein.

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. This machine could cast an entire line of type at a time from molten metal. He named it the Linotype (line o' type) and received his first patent.

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. On July 3, 1886, the Linotype was used to cast type for the New York Daily Tribune.

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. Mergenthaler accepted a royalty of $50 per machine sold, which was far less than he should have received.

Ottmar Mergenthaler married Emma Lachemayer (8-1861 to 5-14-1934) on September 11, 1881. They had four children, Fritz (1883 who died as a result of a terrible automobile accident in Cape May in 1910), Eugene (1885), Herman (1887) and Pauline (1893).

Ottmar died of tuberculosis. at the early age of 44, 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. There is also the Mergenthaler Hall on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University, which was built in 1940 with funds provided by Eugene and Mrs. Ottmar Mergenthaler, son and widow of Ottmar.

He is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Norman T.A. Munder (12-26-1867 to 4-30-1953)

Born at home on Lombard Street, he was the son of German born Charles F. Munder (6-17-1825 to 4-26-1869), a confectioner and pioneer in the manufacturing of candied fruits, and Priscilla Price. He was the brother to Charles, Wilmer and sister, Carrie.

Norman Thompson Aeisler Munder was a devout Christian and a meticulous Master printer and typographer. Eventually the head of his own Baltimore company - Norman T.A. Munder & Co., Norman became well respected nationally and internationally and won numerous awards for his work. He made it a rule that the first work printed off of any of his new machines must be a teaching of Jesus Christ, and he attributes the success of his business to his endeavors to follow the teachings of Jesus. He made his business an avenue of expression of his beliefs, and his work demonstrated the best in art, ideals and his Christian faith.

At age 7, Norman and his brothers bought an old printing press on sale and went into the printing business, first making visiting cards, delivered by a toy wagon pulled by a billy goat.

In 1878, they were able to open their first shop (the Munder Brothers) on Baltimore Street, because their mother took them to buy their first real printing press with modern equipment and it ran faithfully until the 1904 Baltimore Fire. But in using the press, Norman lost two fingertips. He was not discouraged for he was drawn by the love of the work. They printed bill heads, letter paper and envelopes, pamphlets, always updated B&O timetables, even large orders like labels. So overwhelmed were they that the brothers hired four skilled journeymen printers.

Meanwhile, Norman attended School No. 1 on Greene and Fayette; later attending Friends School and Baltimore City College on Howard Street.

Norman began to think in terms of beauty in printing and the new Maryland Casualty Co. gave him orders in which he could exercise his concepts. In 1915, his company won a gold medal in the Panama-Pacific Exposition for the best example of book printing and fine pictures. The business grew and by 1916, they moved to the Candler Bldg. on Water Street, now with 8 employees and 6 treadle presses, each turning out 1,000 impressions an hour. With the development of the gas engine, their foot-operated presses were replaced.

After brother Charles' death, the firm moved to E. Fayette, opposite the Court House. They now had 33 workers and 11 presses. Their specialty was to "do what others could not." Printing commissions came from the Library of Congress, Boston Mus. of Fine Arts, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and other institutions.

In a 1920 Printing exhibition, he won a "gold" award - the highest available. And in the same year, he co-authored the "Report of First Meeting and Dinner, Tendered to the Apprentices by the Typothetae of Washington, D.C." In 1925, he wrote "Advertising of Truth." He also printed for advertising firms such as Alexander Brothers, and was a contributor to "PM" magazine. In October 1937, "PM" gave a birthday party in his honor.

Norman was a pioneer in many features of printing. His achievements added new words to printer's vocabulary, new styles of type to printing equipment, new methods of plate work; new varieties of ink, and new combinations of paper. Norman's printed books and books on printing, broadsides, maps, pamphlets, reproduced etchings, and other ephemera is well documented on-line and in the Pratt. The Maryland Room at the Enoch Pratt Library holds over 10 boxes of his prints.

The "Baltimore Sun" gave him many tributes including a tribute regarding the decision of who should print L.C. Wroth's manuscript "A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland" (a definitive study of the origins of letterpress craftsmanship), in the finest traditions of 200 years? -- the job given to the printing house of Norman T.A. Munder.

After retirement from active business in 1931, the Library of Congress asked him to reproduce the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States using 30-yr. old photos to work with. Though he thought it sacrilege to use photos, he restored the beauty of the original printing and the reproductions are stored at the courthouse in Sandusky, Ohio.

Norman was a beloved uncle of the Riefle family. He married Elizabeth (Bessie) Riefle, and they had two daughters - but Bessie died in delivering the second. Later, Norman married Jerusha Goodloe of Afton, VA, and in 1948, they lived at 2335 Linden Avenue.

Norman was a member of the Bibliophile Society of Boston, the National Arts Club of NY, the Merchants Club of Baltimore, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the American Federation of Arts, the Art Center of NY, the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, the Typothetae of the US, the Baltimore Lodge 210l, and the Grolier Club of NY.

See also the Tercentenary History of Maryland; Enoch Pratt Library; the Baltimore Museum of Art;; "A Man Named Munder" biography by L.J. Hawley, 1929.

Mr. Munder is buried at Green Mount Cemetery.

Biography courtesy of Mary Shafer Bahr

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. He was the youngest son of Johann Peter and Ann (Carstensen). 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 Preuss. 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 120 acre farm. He sold the farm after two 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.

Edward Raine (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 married Rachel (Brundige (1832-1910) and they had three children, Edward (1854-1896); Charles Henry (1856-1857); and Annie Virginia (1857-1939)

Edward Raine and his family are buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Frederich Raine, (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 and printing their last edition on April 28, 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, the Baltimore Correspondent was printed in 1976, making that paper the nation's second-oldest German language newspaper.

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.

Karl Heinrich Schnauffer (7-4-1823 to 9-1854)

Mr. Schnauffer was born in Heinsheim, Wurtemberg, the son of Johann Heinrich and Caroline (Hasemeyer). His father was a dyer. His father died when he was 16 making it necessary for him to leave school at the time. He apprenticed to a merchant and then entered the firm of Tunna in Mannheim in 1842. It is written that Tunna was a direct influence and mentor. He studied at the University of Heidelberg and obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. He acquired fame as a poet. He became the editor of the ‘Evening Journal’ of Mannheim. After joining the cause of a republican form of government, he was evicted and escaped to Switzerland. Here he became the editor of the ‘Volksfreund’ a republican paper published by Frederick Hecker.

He married Elise W. (Moos). This romance began in Germany and when her family moved to Baltimore in 1847 and a letter written to Karl after his seizure by the Swiss government in 1850 was sent to him from Elise, he too, emigrated to Baltimore.

He emigrated to Baltimore in 1851. He is considered one of the 48ers' His inspiring songs of freedom and other poetical work made him many friends in Baltimore. He established and published the ‘Wecker’ a daily, which was published from the 1850's to the 1870's. It is said that this paper was an 'abolishionist' paper, which was risky at this time. He also published in Baltimore, a volume of poetry entitled ‘Todenkräntz’. He also published shortly before his untimely death, his drama ‘Cromwell’. Also, just after his death at the Turner convention in Philadelphia, his lyrics won the first prize in the poet's competition.

He died of typhoid fever. Excerpt from the Baltimore Sunpaper 9/19/1854:

The funeral cortege far exceeded any, that was seen in Baltimore for a long time. The line of mourners formed at Monument Square on Lexington Street and marched to his home on Lombard and Front Streets. The procession was led by mounted marshalls, followed by a military escort under the command of Captain Hedrick, Pioneers of the Rifle Companies, the German Riflemen's Band, Captain Holdefer of the Independent Black Yeagers, the Workingmen's Indigent Beneficial Association, the Concordia Literary Association, the German Freeman Association, a hearse, drawn by four white horses, Capt. Vollandt's full band and three other bands.

The cortege numbered at least three thousand people. At the cemetery, the Baltimore Saegerbund sang Schnauffer's German song, for which he was awarded a valuable silver goblet at the singers' festival of Western States. The military then fired a salute.

The whole affair attested to the popularity and high esteem held for the deceased. He is buried at Baltimore Cemetery.

Note: The 'Wecker' is on microfilm at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

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.

See note above on the 'Wecker'.

Karl Wilhelm 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, at the printing house of Christophe Planter in Antwerp, and became a manager there. 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.

He emigrated to the U.S. in 1848, arriving at Locust Point and settled in Baltimore. 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 Karl 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. His shop was at 19 Mercer St. (near the convention center on today's map).

He invited long-time sweetheart that lived in Hildesheim to ask her to be his wife. Unfortunately, she had died. He then asked her sister, Dorothea Wittkugel to be his wife. She agreed and they were together for more than 40 years.

They had three sons, all of which entered the business eventually:

  • Louis Charles (1852 to July 8, 1922) married Amelia Peters. Their children: Elma and Charles William (see below).

  • Alfred W. (1859 to May 31, 1929) remained unmarried

  • Bernard Adolph (1862 to May 7, 1905) married Marie Hemmeter. Their children: Elsa Katherine and Helena Matilda.

He worked with the ‘Baltimore Herald’, a bi-weekly German paper, and after a short time, with ‘Der Wecker’. 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, Rev. David Einhorn and Dr. Henry Hochheimer. This was made possible because he and several other employees were fluent in both German and Hebrew. He was also associated for a time with Karl Heinrich Schnauffer (see above profile), the German poet, who published a paper in Baltimore prior to the war.

Karl retired from the business in 1890 at the age of 76.

In the early 1900s the firm included Louis C. Schneidereith, son of the founder and Alfred W., C. William and Louis C. sons of Louis C. Sr.

Karl & Dorothea are buried at Baltimore Cemetery

Article from the Baltimore City Paper 8/30/2000

One Hundred Years-The first One Hundred Years of the Printing Firm of Schneidereith & Sons (1946)

C. William Schneidereith 1886-1976

Grandson: C. William Schneidereith

Charles William Schneidereith (10-13-1886 to 9-3-1976)

Born into a family of printers, Bill (actually named for Karl) was born in Baltimore to Louis Charles and Amelia Peters. He was 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. His father, Louis died, the result of a stroke, in July 1922 and did not see the fruits of his labor. Bill became 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 was also instrumental in the naming of the public school, Mergenthaler (named after the inventor of the Linotype, Ottmar Mergenthaler).

He belonged to the German Society of Maryland and the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland.

The Charles Schneidereith Family is buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery.

The Schneidereith family were active members of Zion Church with many being married, baptized, confirmed and buried from the church.

The firm performed 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.

The company was sold in 2005 to Whitmore Printing.

See also Manufacturing.

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.

Frederick Clement Weber (12-23-1882 to)

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.

Photo from the Baltimore Museum of Industry

[1] 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.

[2] This could have been named for the German poet or Tannhäusen, a municipality in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in Ostalbkreis district.