Lieder=buch für Gertrut Rapp, Harmonie, Ia, im Maÿ 1823

Lieder=buch für Gertrut Rapp, Harmonie, Ia, im Maÿ 1823

Item Info

Item No: frkm101000
Title: Lieder=buch für Gertrut Rapp, Harmonie, Ia, im Maÿ 1823
Scripts/Text: Fraktur; German script (There are at least three different discernable hands).
Language: German
Physical Description: 148 leaves
Material: wove paper, ink, watercolor.
Watermark: J PATTERSON & Co (outlined capital letters); fragment: bottom of p. 164,Top portion of PATTERSON; fragment: bottom of p. 173 Top portion of SON Papermill=J Patterson & Co

From:Gertrude Rapp Liederbuch, 29

Du hoher schwarzer Thannenwald
Ihr pfeilgerade Stämme; dein Schatten
in die Thäler fallt, den Wachsthum
dir nicht hemme. Aus dunklen Schatten
hebt empor, die rothgefärbthen Äst
hervor—aus D. L. [?]

Und hohe schlank Eiche Du, Du
Fluß von Silber glanze, Von jenen
grauen Bergen hu, hervorrauscht in
die Schanze, jezt sei das Gras um mich
herum, die Gegend von der Wiesen=
blum :|

Du wundrungs würdig grosse Welt
Wie fein unendlich schön
Nun aller Art Gewächs enthält
ein Wunder der Schaubühne
Aller Arten Erden bürger,
Fliegen laufen wie die Pilger.

Theils kriechen laufen sie umher,
In labyrenthen Graße,
An Farben allerlei Couleur,
Findt jeder Nahrungs Masse


From Gertrude Rapp’s Liederbuch, 29

You tall stand of dark-hued pine trees
You trunks straight as an arrow;
Your shadow reaches into the vales,
its growth left unimpeded.
The red-tinged branches stretch
heavenwards out of the dark shadows—from D.L. [?]

And you tall slim oak
You river glowing as silver from
those grey mountains there,
rushing forth into the unpredictable,
now may the grass surround me,
the place upon the flowering meadow:|

You world worthy to be praised
How endlessly fine and beautiful
So every type of growing thing contains
a miracle from the creator’s display
All kinds of earthly denizens,
the flies en route like pilgrims.

Some crawl, or run about,
in the labyrinth-like grass,
a choice of every color,
each finds its nourishment….

Category: Hymnal
Media Type: Manuscripts
Source: Rare Book Department

Binding: Full dyed leather 


Biographical Note:
Gertrude Rapp (1808-1889) was the granddaughter of George Rapp, founder and leader of the Harmony Society, a group of pietists from Swabia who moved to Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1804. There they created a thriving communal village named Harmony. In 1814 the Harmonists sold their town at a considerable profit, and moved west to Indiana where they again thrived in a communal setting, also known as Harmony. Circa 1824 the members sold this enterprise to Richard Owen, who renamed it New Harmony. George Rapp and his followers returned to Pennsylvania establishing the village of Economy in Beaver County, which also proved to be economically very successful.  

Gertrude was a member of the Harmony Society, and a pioneer in the American silk industry as foreperson of the Silk Mill at Economy, Pennsylvania.  Miss Rapp not only supervised the production of silk goods equal or superior to those imported from Europe but also served as the official hostess of the Society. She was an accomplished pianist and singer– the only female Harmonist who studied an instrument.


Full Title: Lieder=buch für Gertrut Rapp, Harmonie, Ia im Maÿ 1823 


Scope and Content:
The chief recreation of the Harmonists was music. Every member of the Society had some training, and almost every one could play a musical instrument. They celebrated Christmas, Easter and Good Friday, as well as their own Harmonie Fest (Founder’s Festival), Danksagungstag (Day of Thanksgiving), and Liebesmahl (Lovefeast). At each of these celebrations music played a prominent part, and elaborate programs were arranged for them. Also, quite often during times of planting or harvesting, the members would conduct hymn writing contests among themselves. In some instances the winning hymn was printed for use in future celebrations.

The bookplate in her Liederbuch contains her name, location, and date in German, i.e. Songbook for Gertrut Rapp, Harmonie, Ia [Indiana], in May 1823, along with a lovely Fraktur example of a hand-drawn spring floral bouquet of red roses, blue and pink quatre foils done in watercolors. The songbook contains many original composed pieces celebrating, among others, Christmas (Auf den Christtag A.D. 1822, 121), the Harmony Fest (Ode Auf das Harmoniefest A.D. 1822, 111, Aufs Harmoniefest 1823, 123); Easter (Ostern 1856, 128-131. Many songs contain the word “Harmony” in varying contexts. An astounding number praise the beauty of nature, and focus exclusively on the harmonists’ appreciation of the natural beauty surrounding them. For example Seht Gespielen, seht die Flur (See, my Playmates, See the Meadows in Full Bloom..8-10) rejoices in springtime more in the style of a secular song than a hymn. Another Nur Thoren verachten den Bauern stand… (Only Fools Despise Tillers of the Soil, 67-68) seems more a declaration of a secular creed than religious sentiment.

Before the Society began printing its songbooks, the members wrote personal collections of their songs into strongly bound blank books such as Gertrude’s. In 1820 Heinrich Ebner of Allentown, PA printed the first Harmonist songbook entitled “Harmonisches Gesangbuch.Theils von andern Authoren, Theils neu verfasst.” Zum Gebrauch von Singen und Musik für Alte und Junge. Nach Geschmack und Umständen zu wählen gewidmet. Allentown, Lecha County, im Staat Pennsylvanien. Gedruckt bei Heinrich Ebner, 1820 ("Harmonist Songbook, Containing a Partial Selection of Other Authors’ Works and a Selection of Original Compositions." To Be Sung by Old and Young Alike, and To Use According to One’s Own Taste and/or Per the Occasion, Allentown, Lehigh County in the State of Pennsylvania. Printed by Heinrich Ebner, 1820). The Borneman Fraktur collection has a copy of this first edition with a bookplate, now part of the FLP Fraktur Digital collection, FLP B-70, which translated reads: This Songbook belongs to David Lenz, Harmonie [IN], February 2, 1823. Please note that Gertrude started her songbook in May of 1823, and the Fraktur inscription for David Lenz, a member of the Harmony Society, is from February, 1823.

Upon comparison of the registers from both works, there don’t appear to be any shared hymns. However, the Harmony Society printed the second edition themselves at Economy in 1827, and it is here that we find Gertrude’s nature-oriented manuscript pieces in print: Du hoher schwarzer Thannenwald (You Lofty Stand of Dark-hued Pine); Der Greiss des Silberhaares (The Old Man With the Silver Hair); Wie des Lenzen milde Lüfte (How the Mild Breezes of Spring…). Gertrude collected 52 songs, of which circa 25% are included in the second edition of the Harmonist Songbook of 1827. Her choices reflect a happy spirit who sings of God’s presence in all of nature.


J. PATTERSON & Co owned the Pittsburgh Steam Paper Mill located in Pittsburgh’s Northern Liberties, Alleghany county, Pennsylvania. The mill was driven by a twenty-horse-power engine and had three vats. The mill ceased operations by 1826.


Associated Names: Rapp, Gertrude, 1808-1889
Provenance: Brenner, Scott Francis, 1903-
Rapp, Gertrude, 1808-1889


John L. Bole, The Harmony Society, A Chapter in German American History, Masters Thesis for the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Americana Germanica Press, 1904), Reprinted from German American Annals, Vol. II, 147-154.

Thomas L. Gravell and George Miller, American Watermarks 1690-1835 (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2002), Fig. 795, p. 172; PM-160, J. Patterson & Company, 296.

Harmonisches Gesangbuch.Theils von andern Authoren, Theils neu verfasst.” Zum Gebrauch von Singen und Musik für Alte und Junge. Nach Geschmack und Umständen zu wählen gewidmet. (Allentown, Lecha County, im Staat Pennsylvanien. Gedruckt bei Heinrich Ebner, 1820), Register.

Harmonisches Gesangbuch. Theils von andern Authoren, Theils neu verfaßt. Zum Gebrauch für Singen und Musik, für Alte und Junge. Nach Geschmack und Umständen zu wählen gewidmet (Oekonomie, Beaver County, im Staat Pennsylvanien. Gedruckt, im Jahr, 1827), 323-324.

David Lenz: Historic New Harmony, Indiana Online. Retrieved 31 July 2012 from

David Lenz: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System Online: Retrieved 
31 July 2012 from!255186!0

Secondary Place Town/Township: Geographic Coverage State/Province:Pennsylvania
Geographic Coverage City/Town/Township:Economy
Geographic Coverage Note:Ca. 1824 Harmony, IA was sold, and the Harmony Society founded Economy, PA. Vide: dates of manuscript
Geographic Coverage Region/County:Butler

Creation Place Town/Township: Creation Place Note:Per manuscript title page

Creation Year (Single Year or Range Begin): ca. 1856
Image Dimensions Width: 16 cm
ShelfMark: FLP Borneman Ms. 101
Creator Name: Anonymous - Author
Anonymous - Decorator
Rapp, Gertrude, 1808-1889 [?] - Scrivener

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