KELPIUS COMMUNITY TIMELINE
1667: Johan Kelp was born in Denndorf, a German-speaking region in Translyvania.
1681 (February 28): King Charles II granted a land charter in America to William Penn, in repayment of a debt owed to Penn’s father.
1683 (April): Francis Daniel Pastorius purchased 15,000 acres from William Penn, formed the Frankfurt Land Company, and founded a settlement called Germanopolis, and eventually Germantown.
1685: George Kelp died, Johan was sent to University at Altdorf, sponsored by family friends.
1685: Johan Jacob Zimmerman removed from his ministry and excommunicated for heresy.
1686: Frankfort Land Company was formed, with Francis Daniel Pastorius as agent.
1689: Kelp obtained a Masters degree and Latinized his name to Johannes Kelpius.
1690-1691: Rev. August Hermann Franke formed a Pietist chapter in Erfurth, Thuringia.
1691: Johanna Eleonora von Merlau Petersen published Glaubens-Gespräche mit Gott.
1691: Johann Jacob Zimmerman organized a Chapter of Perfection
1691 (September 27): Civic authorities issued an edict ordering Franke to leave Erfurth.
1692 (July 15): William Penn purchased the Province of Pennsylvania from the Lenape people.
1693 (August): Johan Jacob Zimmermann died, appointing Kelpius as his successor. The community made contact with Jane Leade’s Philadelphian Society.
1694 (February): Kelpius and his community departed from London on the Sarah Maria. The Sarah Maria arrived at Philadelphia Harbor on June 23.
1700 (August): Former member Daniel Falckner assumed leadership and control of the Frankfurt Land Company.
1702: Kelpius renounced the position or legal responsibility for any further land transactions, declared himself legally dead.
1704: Christopher Witt and Conrad Matthai joined the brotherhood.
1708: The year in which Kelpius is presumed to have died.
1720: Johann Conrad Beissel migrated from Germany, intending to join Kelpius
1732: Beissel established the Ephrata Cloister.
1745: Daniel Geissler died.
1748 (August 26): Conrad Matthai died.
1765 (January 30): Christopher Witt died.
Johannes Kelpius, and the small community of German Radical Pietists he led, are important to American religious studies in two respects. Their late seventeenth-century settlement just northeast of what is now Philadelphia, represents one of the earliest American examples of utopian and communal societies. Their presence, along with similar small religious societies in early colonial America, also attests to the complexity and historical plurality of the American religious experience.
Aside from passing mentions in various discussions of historical utopian religious communities or examples of esotericism, however, this community has received minimal scholarly attention. To date, the most comprehensive study is The German Pietists of Provincial Pennsylvania, published in 1895 by Pennsylvania historian Julius Sachse. While the fact that Sachse often fails to cite his own sources and insists, with minimal evidence, that the Kelpius community were occultists and theosophists, nearly all scholarly treatments of this community necessarily draw from his work. Unless otherwise specified, most of the information relayed in this article is also drawn from Sachse.
Baptismal records indicate that Kelpius was born Johan Kelp to Georg Kelp, a Lutheran pastor in Denndorf, and his wife Katharina, in 1667. Katharine died in 1670, leading Johan and two older brothers, Martin and Georg, in the care of their father. Shortly after the father’s death in 1685, three family friends offered to fund the scholarly Johan’s education. First attending Altdorf, Johan took his Master’s degree in natural theology from University of Tubingen in 1689, at the age of twenty-two. Following the fashion among the educated at the time, on receiving the degree, the young man latinized his name to Johannes Kelpius. [Image at right]
His religious education was shaped and influenced by several important theologians of the time, in a time of increasingly widespread rebellion against established Lutheran orthodoxy. One was Philipp Jakob Spener, whose publication in 1675 of the Pia Desideria was instrumental in launching German Pietism, and inspiring religious sects such as the Moravians. The Lutheran clergyman and scholar August Hermann Franke, an associate of Spener, formed a Pietist chapter in 1690 or 1691 in Erfurth, Thuringia.
Johanna Eleonora von Merlau Petersen, another member of Spener’s circle, published Glaubens-Gespräche mit Gott. Her theological work, advocating for a direct relationship with God and expressing belief in the imminent apocalypse, contributed a strongly mystical as well as a millennial strain to Pietism. Her views, along with the theosophical writings of Jacob Boehme, influenced Johan Jacob Zimmerman, another radical Lutheran theologian. A mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer as well, Zimmerman’s scientific observations of two comets a few years before led him to believe that the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth predicted in Revelation would occur around 1693. His refusal to renounce his beliefs or desist from preaching them led to his excommunication for heresy in 1685.
Zimmerman and Kelpius, who traveled in the same intellectual circles, eventually met in Nuremberg. As part of a general crackdown on Pietism and associated heresies, Zimmerman and his family were exiled in 1686, eventually settling in Hamburg. On January 27, 1691, a commission appointed by the “reigning authority to inquire about the Pietists” (Sachse 1895:52) issued “an edict for the suppression of the Chapter, including censure and a fine for Francke. Later that same year, both Francke and Spener were expelled from their respective cities. These events, along with fears of further persecution and a strong belief that the world was to end shortly, led Zimmerman to form a small community of believers called the Chapter of Perfection. His plan was to lead them to the New World, to escape from what they regarded as the corruption of Europe, and to prepare for the end of the world, which according to his astrological calculations was to occur in December 1693.
Fortunately for the besieged Pietists, sympathetic Quakers had already established settlements in the American provinces. In 1681 or 1682, William Penn had acquired Proprietorship of the province of Pennsylvania from King Charles II. His goal was to create a settlement for his fellow Quakers, who had also been persecuted. To this end, he wrote letters and sent tracts to various other oppressed religious communities, including Mennonites and Pietists. In April 1683, German Quaker Francis Daniel Pastorius purchased 15,000 acres from William Penn for settlement on behalf of a group of associates called the Frankfurt Land Company. Located just northwest of Philadelphia, the settlement, originally called Germanopolis, came to be known as Germantown. It was here that Zimmerman planned to bring his followers.
In August 1693, shortly before the Chapter was to set sail, Zimmermann died, appointing Kelpius as his successor shortly before his death. According to Sachse, the party consisted of around forty people, in keeping with Zimmerman’s numerological precepts, but no evidence supports this count, and the number was likely to have been smaller. Although Sachse claims also that the party was solely male, Lucy Carroll maintains that “at the very least there was the widow Zimmerman and her daughter, and perhaps Christiane Warmer” (Carroll 2004:22). Other sources maintain that the widow, Maria Margaretha Zimmerman, brought her four children along as well. The Chapter traveled first to London, where they made contact with another Behminist community, Jane Leade’s Philadelphian Society. On February 1694, Kelpius and members of Zimmerman’s Chapter departed from London, on a ship called the Sarah Maria.
After a dangerous crossing, endeavored in winter and the midst of The Nine Years’ War, the party arrived at Philadelphia Harbor and made their way to what became their settlement on Wissahickon Creek, near an area called Germantown. [Image at right] The arrival date on June 23, St John’s Eve, was considered providential, and the community lit a traditional bonfire to celebrate.
Although they established a comfortable settlement, with buildings serving public as well as private needs, a medicinal garden, and apparently an astronomical observatory, and integrated well into the larger German immigrant community, the movement itself was short-lived. A few members defected, founding more mainstream Lutheran congregations of their own. Several others married, relocating to Germantown where the infrastructure was more conducive to family life.
Kelpius, along with several others, continued to maintain both the ideals and practices of the diminishing community, pursuing their studies and maintaining correspondence with other religious leaders in Europe and the American Colonies. Kelpius, who was said to be physically frail, ultimately suffered under the rigors of hermitic life in the harsh climate of Eastern Pennsylvania. In the winter of 1705, he fell so drastically ill he could not be properly cared for in the remote settlement. His companions brought him to the home of Christian Warmer, one of the members of the original brotherhood who like several others had married and established his family in Germantown. Although he recovered enough to return to his monastery in the summer of 1706, he continued to suffer from increasingly debilitating respiratory issues. The exact date of his death is not recorded. Tom Carroll, President of the Kelpius Society, suggests it could have occurred as early as 1707, and suggests that if so, Kelpius would have been forty when he died (Correspondence March 6, 2003). Local historian Joe Tyson maintains the death occurred sometime between January 1 and March 1 of 1908, and also mentions that according to legend, surviving members buried Kelpius in the community garden (Tyson 2006:Part 3).
Little remained of the original settlement after Kelpius died. Longstanding members Christopher Witt and Daniel Geissler had built a home together and taken up professions in Germantown around 1702, where they remained until their deaths. Johann Seelig moved to Germantown sometime in the 1720s. Conrad Matthai and a few others remained on the original settlement. Matthai died in 1748, and Christopher Witt, the last remaining community member, died in 1765.
Around 1719, another wave of religious non-conformists migrated from Europe to settle in the region. Some of these, mainly Mennonites and Schwarzenau Brethren, settled on the site of the former brotherhood, a few even taking up hermitic life. The most noteworthy of these was Johann Conrad Beissel, who emigrated from Germany in 1720, hoping to join Kelpius and his community of monks. Upon finding that Kelpius had died, Beissel remained a short while with the Wissahickon community, eventually moving about sixty-five miles east, to found the Ephrata Cloister. This community, consisting of both men and women living a celibate and vegetarian lifestyle, was much more successful, with offshoots surviving in the area well into the 1970s. The original Chapter of Perfection, however, either died or assimilated into the larger German community, and presumably more mainstream Lutheran practice. Nothing remains of the original structures.
Kelpius and his community emerged from the larger movement of German Pietism, with theological principles shaped both by excellent university educations and a strong antipathy to what they viewed as the authoritarianism and political overreach of government-sanctioned denominational Lutheranism. German Pietism originated as an intellectual movement, led by university-trained, socially prominent Lutheran clergy and members of the nobility, many of whom authored and circulated highly influential theological texts. Originating as a reform movement within German Lutheranism, Pietism emphasized individual revelation over church orthodoxy, direct involvement of the laity in spiritual government, endeavoring adherents to lead a devotional life within Christian precepts, and outreach to outsiders and non-believers. This small community emerged from the same seventeenth-century European Protestant religious and political upheavals that gave rise to several non-conforming and freethinking sects, such as Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, the Brethren, and Wesleyans, and laid the foundations as well for American evangelical Protestantism. The fact that many of these communities were among the earliest European immigrants to the American colonies offers a crucial counter-narrative to the typical equation of early American religiosity with Calvinism. As Arthur Versluis argues, the Kelpius community “represents a strikingly different form of Protestantism, one with a developed wilderness theology,…that was certainly not inclined to embrace worldly success as a sign of spirituality,” and “at the very least” their presence of such communities in early American colonial history “reveal the range of religious perspectives in early America” (Versluis 1999:111).
While their main chronicler, Julian Sachse, insisted on describing the Wissahickon community, interchangeably as Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Cabalists, and alchemists, there is no evidence that this Lutheran-derived sect regarded themselves as occultists, as the term is typically understood. Nothing about their known beliefs suggest that they regarded themselves as bearers of a secret tradition, practitioners of hidden arts, or in communication with any entities other than God. Elizabeth W. Fisher convincingly argues, however, that the Pietistic circles from which the Kelpius community emerged did study the Cabala, because they believed that ancient Jewish teachings supported Christian beliefs, and hoped that the incorporation of Jewish mysticism into their own theology would hasten the conversion of the Jews, which they regarded as a necessary precondition of the apocalypse (Fisher 1985:311).
The community may well have incorporated various practices such as alchemy and astrology into their practice. Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Radical Pietism, and many other esoterically-inclined sects share as common influence the writings of Jacob Boehme. Gerard Croese, seventeenth-century Dutch Reformed minister and one of the earliest historians of the Society of Friends, distinguishes three strains within German Pietism: those who wished to lead a truly sincere Christian life, those were politically motivated against what they viewed as the corruptions of the established Lutheran church, and “the third sort of them was that which may be called Behmists or Teutonists.” Croese firmly assigns Zimmerman and his followers to this third category (Croese 1696:257). Moreover, such studies as alchemy and astrology were a fairly typical component of a sound university-level theological education, and as religious historians such as Jon Butler, Arthur Versluis, and Catherine Albanese have long established, seventeenth-century Europeans brought a strongly magical worldview to their New World settlements.
Mystically-inclined faiths generally hold as a precept that human beings can achieve direct communication with God. Certain practices such as celibacy, withdrawal from the ordinary world, drawing religious inspiration from focused study of the natural world and regular fervent prayer, are endeavored in order to achieve divine perfection on earth. For Christian mystics, the end goal is typically preparation for the millennium and Christ’s thousand-year reign. Boehme’s Neoplatonically-informed writings influenced and shaped several other anti-sectarian and anti-denominational Christian movements that found their way to the American colonies: among them the Society of Friends, Jane Leade’s Philadelphians (to which more recent faith communities such as the Israelite House of David can also be traced), and the Harmony society.
While Zimmerman had originally called the followers he gathered for his New World settlement The Chapter of Perfection, the Wissahickon community did not refer to themselves this way. Their millennial focus and the apparently frequent tendency of Kelpius to quote from Revelation 12, led some outsiders to refer to them as “The Woman in the Wilderness (Sachse 1895:80).” In order to avoid divisive sectarianism and to live in obscurity, however, the community remained deliberately nameless. They regarded their solitude in the wilderness of the Wissahickon valley as a means of attaining a state of holiness, in preparation for the coming apocalypse and promised redemption.
In keeping with a numerological precept that forty was the number of perfection, upon settlement they built a log house forty feet square, aligned with the cardinal points of the compass (Sachse 1895:71). The building included sleeping quarters for the monks and according to local legend, an astronomical observatory on the roof used for nightly observation of celestial phenomena. While no traces of astronomical equipment remain, the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia stores in its collection an ornate brass sundial, created by Christoph Schissler in 1578, thought to have been brought from Germany by the Kelpius community, and donated to the APS by Christopher Witt. Known as the Horologium or Dial of Ahaz, when filled with water the bowl of the sundial casts the shadow of the gnomon back a few degrees, in illustration of “the miracle described in the Bible (Isaiah 38:8) in which time was reversed and the shadow on a sundial moved backwards” (deJong 2021). [Image at right] Scientific methodology of the time typically combined astronomy, astrology, and theology to better understand the nature and structure of the universe.
According to Sachse, they also maintained an herb garden, from which they compounded various medicines and remedies according to Hermetic principles. While the existence of such a garden during Kelpius’ time has not been documented, such is plausible. New World colonists commonly maintained kitchen or medicinal gardens, and such principles guided the formulation of nearly all medicines at the time. Christopher Witt, physician and last surviving member, may well have planted such a garden for the community. The botanical garden he later created and maintained when he moved to Germantown has been well-documented. Some debate exists whether Witt’s or botanist John Bartram’s Philadelphia garden was the first in America or more famous. According to Kelpius historian Dorothy Pinkett, both Bartram and Witt exchanged botanical samples with the renowned British Peter Collinson, who famously facilitated the trade of botanical seeds and samples between England and North America (Pinkett 2010:17).
The apparent fact that they may have worn dark robes typical of scholars of the era may be the reason that locals referred to them as “The Monks of the Wissahickon” or “The Monks of the Ridge.” Local tradition also holds that Kelpius, preferring a solitary, contemplative existence, created a cell for himself inside a small cave down the hillside. Such a cave exists just down a forested trail from the former settlement site, in what is now Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. [Image at right] Rosicrucians in 1961 placed a marker just outside it, honoring Kelpius as “the first Rosicrucian AMORC colony in America.” [Image at right] Local historians, however, continue to debate whether this was the actual site of Kelpius’ cell, a nineteenth-century springhouse, a chicken coop, or belonging to Conrad Matthai rather than Kelpius (Tyson 2016:Part 2). According to Tom Carroll, most Kelpius historians agree that a small house called Lauriston Cottage, located near a larger building now called the Hermitage, was the true site of Kelpius’s private cell, a belief further supported by the apparent fact that “Kelpius referred to his personal dwelling or cave as ‘Laurea’” (Correspondence).
Although they originally aimed to live apart from the vices of the world, the highly educated brotherhood found quickly integrated into the larger German-speaking immigrant community. They held regular public religious services in their main building, as well as musical performances. The building also served as one of the region’s first public schools, offering liberal arts instruction to local children free of charge, and boarding for those who needed it.
In the spirit of ecumenical exchange and avowed non-sectarianism, they also maintained active, friendly alliances and intellectual and theological exchanges, through correspondence and mutual visits, with other religious communities, including the Quakers, Seventh-Day Baptists, and Swedish Lutherans. The fact that in 1703, representatives from Rhode Island visited Kelpius to request assistance in mediating a doctrinal dispute between two different Sabbatarian congregations attests to their prominence and esteemed reputation in the early colonies. They also maintained friendly coexistence with the local Lenape people, whom they apparently regarded, as did many other religious communities of the time, as one of the lost tribes of Israel.
Although they observed a Saturday Sabbath, they did not administer the Eucharist or conduct baptisms. Although they had no issue with either practice, they did object to what they had observed, within the mainstream denominations, as inappropriate administration of the sacraments. Religious services were held every morning. In keeping with the Chapter’s belief that all religions offered a path to God, services were open to anybody, and visitors were welcome. They typically began with a prayer and a hymn, followed by a reading from Scripture, which was then analyzed and discussed by whomever wished to engage. Regular public services were also held in nearby Germantown. According to Sachse, Kelpius desired to unite all the various German sects in Pennsylvania “into one universal Christian church” (Sachse 1895:80). Tom Carroll suggests, however, that the true aim was to unite all Christians together (Correspondence).
One interesting folk custom the brotherhood maintained, according to Sachse, was the use of small cards printed with brief Bible quotes for moral instruction. Called “sprüche,” or “sayings,” They were kept in a box called a “jewelry-case” (“schatzkästlein”). If ever a congregant at a service said something inappropriate, such as cursing or blaspheming, one of the Brotherhood would reach into the schatzkästlein for a sprüch, and hand it to the offending party, who was then instructed to read the card and place it upon his or her tongue. Chapter members were also held to the same requirement to make use of this early form of “swear jar” as penance for their own transgressions (Sachse 1895:100-01). While Sachse implies that this custom originated with the monks and continued among Germans in Pennsylvania for many years, it may well have already been in widespread practice.
The community observed certain other longstanding German folk traditions as well, such as a bonfire (“Sonnenwend-feur” on St. John’s Eve, which fell on the eves of June 24 and December 25 to mark the coming of summer and winter. This custom, along with the various other esoteric practices and beliefs the community observed, Catharine Albanese described as “an esoteric version of Christianity…combined with a stylized religion of nature” (Sachse 1895:79).
Kelpius may also have engaged in religious outreach, in the form of a small devotional pamphlet, entitled “A Method of Prayer,” published and intended for circulation among the locals. Kirby Jon Richards, who published a new bilingual edition in 2006, retracted his work from publication after discovery that “at least 25 percent of the content is anthologized word-for-word from German translations” of the writings of the French Catholic mystic Madame Guyon, and the rest very likely appropriated from other sources, with little if any of the content actually authored by Kelpius (Richards 2020:142).
Little information is available regarding the internal dynamics of the Wissahickon community. From available accounts, Kelpius was the nominal leader primarily because Zimmerman, who had organized the Chapter of Perfection and planned the migration to America, appointed him as his spiritual successor shortly before his death. While such an appointment suggests that Kelpius was specifically chosen for his exemplary faith, and possibly for the fervency of his belief, most accounts suggest that he largely preferred to be alone with his prayers and meditations, or in communication with like-minded individuals. Other researchers suggest, however, that he was far more involved with the secular affairs of the larger Germantown community than is typically supposed. He may have done legal work for some individuals, and may have been more involved in various real estate transactions conducted by the Frankfort Land Company. That in August 1700, when former community member Daniel Falckner assumed control of the Frankfurt Land Company, he made Kelpius and brotherhood member Johann Jawert co-attorneys is documented, as is the fact that in 1702 Kelpius renounced the position or legal responsibility for any further land transactions, reverting all authority to Falckner and Jawert “according to the letter of Attorney who attributes to one or two as much power as to three in case of a natural or civil death” (Sachse 1895:171). In any case, outside of the typical requirements of communal living, members of the brotherhood seem to have conducted both their faith and their affairs as their conscience dictated, and Kelpius’s leadership appears to have been organizational rather than in any way messianic.
After the death of Kelpius, the remaining brotherhood of some sixteen members elected Johannes Seelig as leader. After Seelig, one of the original members of Zimmerman’s Chapter of Perfection, refused the position, they elected Conrad Matthai, a Swiss mystic who had joined the brotherhood in 1704. Matthai presumably remained in this position, such as it was, until his death in 1748.
Like many such visionary faith communities, the society did not survive long past the death of its spiritual leader. The already small community experienced membership attrition almost upon arrival. Lucy Carroll argues that the main reason was a “real lack of unity of belief among the members” (2004:23). Some prominent members became ordained as leaders in other churches. In 1703, Justus Falkner was ordained in the Swedish Lutheran Church at Wicacoa, and departed that same day to establish a ministry in New York. His brother Daniel Falkner married, became more actively involved in Germantown political and economic affairs, and eventually organized and became pastor of his own orthodox Lutheran congregation.
While these defections seem not to have created significant tension within the community, certain individuals were particularly prone to creating controversy and conflict. Chief among these was Heinrich Bernard Koster. Some sources suggest that Koster may have been angry that Zimmerman overlooked him to choose Kelpius as his successor instead. For reasons that are unclear, Koster took it upon himself to excommunicate Daniel Falkner aboard the Sarah Maria during the voyage to America. Koster, of a more fiery and evangelical temperament than Kelpius, began shortly after arrival to preach on his own in Germantown and Philadelphia. More controversially, he involved himself in a growing schism among the local Quaker population by aligning with the followers of George Keith. Keith, who believed that Quakers had strayed too far from mainstream Christian tenets and objected to the fact that Quakers tolerated slavery, formed a faction he called the Christian Quakers. When Keith returned to England, Koster attempted to take over his congregation, further increasing tensions among the Quakers, until he finally returned to Germany.
A further factor in the rapid attrition of the already small membership was that although the community professed celibacy and Kelpius presumably remained so, several members married while in America. Ludwig Christian Beidermann married Zimmermann’s daughter Maria Margaretha shortly upon arrival, with several other members following suit within a year or so of settlement.
This fascinating community presents significant challenges for scholars. Although quite a few scholars of religion and Philadelphia history have mentioned Kelpius and The Woman in the Wilderness in passing, aside from a few letters to friends and other religious leaders, a personal diary, various hymns, and a scattering of official records and historical mentions, very few primary source materials are available. The most comprehensive secondary source is The German Pietists of Provincial Pennsylvania, published in 1895 by Pennsylvania historian Julian Sachse, who often fails to provide evidence for many of his claims, particularly his key claim that Kelpius and his community were theosophists and/or Rosicrucians.
Contemporary scholars have made some progress in gathering more reliable information. Kirby Don Richards’ recent publication on Kelpius (2020) includes substantial biographical research, a solid survey of more reliable sources, and literary interpretations of some of Kelpius’ poetry. Catherine Michael (2012) has compiled a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and a small community of Kelpius enthusiasts and local historians hold semi-regular events and meetings in Philadelphia. All agree that more work needs to be done, particularly with primary source documents that remain untranslated from the German.
In any case, the existence of this community, along with the many other mystically-inclined seventeenth- century and eighteenth-century religious sects that emigrated from Western Europe in pursuit of a new Eden in the new world, attests to the richness and complexity of American religious life. More important, their existence adds to a growing body of evidence that some of the more esoteric streams of American religiosity, far from being marginal as is typically assumed, are not only not particularly unusual, but ultimately fit easily within the mainstream.
Image #1: The only known portrait of Kelpius, from a painting by Dr. Christopher Witt, 1705.
Image #2: Autumn Afternoon, The Wissahickon, Thomas Moran, 1864.
Image #3: The compass part of the Dial of Ahaz, photo credit Rich Wagner.
Image #4: Site known as “Kelpius’ Cave.”
Image #5: Marker placed by the Rosicrucians adjacent to “Kelpius Cave” in 1961 honoring Kelpius Community “the first Rosicrucian AMORC colony in America.”
Albanese, Catherine. 2007. A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of Metaphysical Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Butler, Jon. 1990. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Carroll, Lucy. 2004. The Gathering in the Glen: Examining the 1694 Kelpius Settlement. L. E. Carroll.
Carroll, Tom. 2023. Private Correspondence, March 6.
Croese, Gerard. 1696. The General History of the Quakers: Containing the Lives, Tenents, Sufferings, Tryals, Speeches, and Letters of All the Most Eminent Quakers, Volume 2. London: John Dunton.
deJong, Tracey. 2021. “Seeking Perfection in the Wissahickon Wilderness.” American Philosophical Society, May 25. Accessed from https://www.amphilsoc.org/blog/seeking-perfection-wissahickon-wilderness on 24 April 2023.
Fisher, Elizabeth W. July 1985. “’Prophesies and Revelations’: German Cabbalists in Early Pennsylvania.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 109:299-333.
Michael, Catherine. 2012. Magister Kelpius: A list of sources as of January. Unpublished.
Pinkett, Dorothy. 2010. Dr Christopher Witt in America and the Mystery of Robert Clymer, Mulatto Slave. Philadelphia: The Kelpius Society.
Richards, Kirby Don. 2020. “From Transylvania to Pennsylvania: Johannes Kelpius.” Yearbook of German-American Studies 55:133-61.
Sachse, Julius F. 1895. The German Pietists of Provincial Pennsylvania. New York: P.C. Stockhausen.
Tyson, Joseph. 2016. “The Monks of the Wissahickon: Parts I-IV.” Schuykill Valley Journal Online. Accessed from http://www.svjlit.com/the-monks-of-the-wissahickon-a-series/2016/1/4/monks-of-the-wissahickon-part-1 2016 on 15 February 2023.
Versluis, Arthur. 1999. Wisdom’s Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition. Albany: State University of New York Press.
27 April 2023