Sower, Christopher

Sower or Sauer, Christopher both: sō´ər, sou´– [key], 1693–1758, American printer, b. Germany. In 1724, Sower came to America where he worked first as a tailor and then as a farmer. He learned clockmaking and herbal medicine, and in 1738 he founded a printing shop in Germantown, Pa., using types imported from Germany. A book he printed in 1738 was the first German book printed in America. In the same year he established the first German periodical in America, at first a quarterly, later a monthly. In 1743 he printed a German Bible, the second Bible printed in America (the first was the Bible translated into the Indian Language in 1663 by John Eliot). His son Christopher Sower, 1721–84, established in Germantown the first type foundry in America in 1772. He printed the second Sower German Bible in 1763, the third in 1776. He was a bishop of the Baptist Dunker sect and attacked slavery from the pulpit and the family newspaper. Accused of treason, Sower suffered imprisonment, abuse, and confiscation of his property as a result of clearly stating his pacifist principles during the Revolution.

See F. Reichmann, Christopher Sower, Sr., 1694–1758: An Annotated Bibliography (1943).

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