ALBUM AMICORUM - John Peter MUHLENBERG (1746-1807)
Dem Andenken guter Freunde [manuscript title]
Philadelphia, London, Halifax and Virginia: 1771-1784. Oblong 8vo. Manuscript throughout, approximately 38 entries in German, Latin, French or English, most signed and dated, includes numerous unaccomplished blanks.Lacks front endpaper, lacking corner of manuscript title without significant loss of text. With a couple later, unrelated entries in the rear.
Contemporary red morocco, covers bordered with a gilt roll tool, upper cover with a central stamp in gilt with Muhlenberg's name, marbled endpapers
Rare 18th century American album amicorum.
The son of a noted German Lutheran pastor who came to Pennsylvania in 1742, John Peter Muhlenberg was born in Montgomery County and attended the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1760s, he travelled to Europe to continue his studies at the University of Halle. After an apprenticeship to a merchant at Lubeck, and service in the Royal American Regiment of Foot, he returned to Pennsylvania and began assisting his father in ministering to the Swedish and German Lutheran congregations near Philadelphia.
In 1771, he travelled to London to receive ordination as an Anglican Clergyman, which would allow him to became a Lutheran clergyman in Virginia, where he had accepted a position at a church in Woodstock, Virginia. In Virginia, Muhlenberg would became an ardent patriot and supporter of Patrick Henry. He would serve as chair of the Committee of Safety in Virginia's House of Burgesses (1775) and as a member of Virginia's provincial convention in 1776. Commissioned in the Continental Army, Muhlenberg would rise to the rank of Major-General, seeing action at Charleston, Brandywine, Stony Point and Yorktown. Following the war, Muhlenberg would return to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and would be elected representative to Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council, subsequently serving as that body's Vice-President.
The present album amicorum was kept by Muhlenberg during his time assisting his father's ministry in the Philadelphia area in 1771, his travels to London, his return to America via Halifax, and his time in Virginia just prior to the Revolution. Some 35 friends and relatives have signed his book, adding sentiments and quotes from scripture or other sources in German, Latin, English or French. A couple entries following the war are added.
While commonplace in Europe and Great Britain, eighteenth century American album amicorums are very rare and were not considered fashionable on this side of the Atlantic until the 19th century. This album a lovely object, in an American red morocco binding.