Beeghly Library

LitClass 3

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Ephrata Printing Press

Ephrata Printing Press Comes Alive News Article

The historic Ephrata Press comes to the college due to the great generosity of the Frank R. King Family Trust of New Enterprise, Pa. This old press was thought to have been set up by the German Seventh Day Baptists - a group strongly related to Juniata's Brethren founders - in Ephrata, Pa, in 1728. The press was apparently made in Germany and operates with the principle of the screw, patterned after wine presses prevalent in European countries. The press could very well have printed historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence, as well as Continental Currency, and the Martyr's Mirror which is a Mennonite publication.

The press was moved from Ephrata to Snow Hill in the early part of the 19th century. At Snow Hill a mission had been established which was very similar in many respects to the Ephrata Cloister, by members of the Seventh Day Baptists. It is interesting to note that Juniata College now holds the documents and books of the Snow Hill Nunnery, courtesy again of the King Family Trust, and through the specific efforts of Mr. Crist King. Abraham Cassel, the esteemed Pennsylvania German bibiophile who's collection resides in large part at Juniata, corresponded with Obed Snowberger, a prominent member of Snow Hill Nunnery in the late 1800's. Those letters are contained in the Snow Hill collection and allow one to see the relevancy of the collection and the press to Juniata College's holding and to a common anabaptist background. The press was not used as much at Snow Hill, eventually in the late 1800's the press was purchased by Christian L. King and then passed on to Mr. Frank R. King. It was from his family that the press came to the college. Still a working press, and located in the library's second floor Treasure Room, the college hopes to bring the old press to life every so often and allow it to "get back to work."