Background of The Exile Herald

(April 29, 1921 to January 1954)

The first formal meeting of the Society was held in the Assembly Hall of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, on April 29, 1921, and a 16-page “Report of the Initial Meeting of the Descendants of the Schwenkfeldian Exiles” was issued including the Officers, Board of Governors, and Committees.

Commencing in February 1924, The Exile Herald, containing scholarly papers presented at their meetings, was “published quarterly” on either a 6” x 8½” postcard or as a 6½” x 9¼” booklet and mailed out to their membership.  Three exceptions were:  Special Issue, Spring 1942, and Vol. 20, March 1950 (printed on letter-sized paper) and Membership Issue, January 1954 (as a 4½” x 7½” booklet).

In 1926, a special publication, From Silesia to Pennsburg, 1726-1926:  The Exile Migration in Pictures was issued as Volume 3, Number 3.  This booklet contains narrative and photographic scenes from a pageant presented by the members of The Society of the Descendants of the Schwenkfeldian Exiles, at Pennsburg, PA, on June 5, 1926, depicting the Story of the Migration of the Schwenkfeldian Exiles.  The narrative was written by Dr. Samuel K. Brecht.

Beginning with Volume 8, No. 2, May 1931, the letterhead no longer says “published quarterly” and they apparently went to three publications a year.  This continued until Volume 10, Number 3, October 1933.

1934 was the Bicentennial Year of the major migration of the Schwenkfelders arriving in Philadelphia.  The Exile Herald, Vol. 11, No. 1, March 1934, describes special upcoming “Plans for Our Great Celebration” including a pageant at Salford in August; three days of celebration beginning September 22 in Philadelphia, September 23 at Palm, and September 24 at Towamencin with the celebration of Gedächnistag (Day of Remembrance); erection of memorial stones in each of six cemeteries with the names of the emigrants buried there, smaller stones with the Emigrant number [E #] placed on individual graves.  Also planned were a pilgrimage to Schwenkfelder homelands and placement of a tablet near the spot where the St. Andrew landed in Philadelphia.

The Schwenkfelder Bicentennial Services were held September 22, 23, and 24, 1934, with a booklet containing the programs for all services.

Thereafter we have record of only one volume per year through March 1946 with the exception of the years 1939, 1943, and 1944 for which we have no copies.  A copy of The Exile Herald, Special Issue, Spring 1942, is typed on letter-sized paper.

We know that because of war-time gas rationing, spring meetings (usually held in the country) were eliminated from 1942 to 1945 and eventually with the war and interruption in meetings, interest in the Society waned.  It was decided to use the monies for the Harpersdorf Refugee Relief Project.  In February 1949, there was discussion of disbanding the organization.  A Spring 1949 meeting was held at Salford, but then no meetings were held for the next two years.

A typewritten letter-sized copy of The Exile Herald, Vol. 20, March 1950, states “This publication has come to life, after a period of quietude . . .”  Unfortunately, the last evidence we have of The Exile Herald is in January 1954 as a “Membership Issue.”

If anyone knows of any other Exile Herald publications or has copies of any Exile Heralds missing from our list, please notify us so that we can make arrangements to make copies. Thank you.

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