The “Brother House” of the Ephrata Cloister – circa 1910

I love the Ephrata Cloister – the preserved buildings, the museum, the grounds, and the sacred history of the place.

“The Cloister” was established in 1732 as a place set apart for the communal life of German-speaking Pietists.

The charismatic founder of the community was Conrad Beissel, a profoundly-devout man with a gift for administration.

Although scrupulously independent of the world, the place was an important center of printing, folk art, and hymn-writing. 

Because many members of the community lived celibate lives, there were separate buildings for the Brothers and the Sisters.

This hand-colored photograph of the Brother House was printed about 1910.

The postcard was never mailed, so we cannot know if it was shared with someone near or far away from Ephrata, PA where the cloister buildings are preserved as a museum.

As a child, I heard the Vorspiel – a dramatic story of the cloister’s history, incorporating the hymns and musical offerings created by the community -performed at the Cloister.

The story and the music had an enormous impact on me.


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