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Christopher Sower
(fl. 1893 c. 1900)

Christopher Sower (1693 - 1758) was born in 1693 in Laasphe, a small town near Witgenstein and Marburg, Germany. In 1724 Sower became one of the first German immigrants to settle with his family in Pennsylvania at William Penn's invitation. Though educated as a doctor in Marburg and later in Halle, on coming to America Sower saw a need for German language publications and set himself up as a printer. In 1743 he published the first American quarto edition of the Bible in German. Around 1753 Sower passed the company to his son, Christopher Sower Jr. (1721 - 1758). The younger Sower republished the Sower Bible in 1776 on the eve of the American Revolutionary War. Apparently the Sower warehouse was discovered by the British who found that the heavy cotton rag paper used for the Bible made excellent gun wadding. Christopher Sower nonetheless continued publishing through the Revolutionary War and eventually passed the business to his son, David Sower. The Sower publishing firm eventually passed through several generations of the Sower family before being permanently relocated to Philadelphia in 1844 by Charles Sower. In Philadelphia, Sower partnered with William H. Barnes and renamed the company Sower, Barnes & Co., later as Sower, Barnes, & Potts., and then as Sower, Potts & Co. Finally in 1888, 150 years after Christopher Sower built his first press, the firm returned to its roots and was incorporated as the Christopher Sower Company. (The Publisher's Weekly, No. 1411, Feb 11, 1899, "A Memorial to a Colonial Printer and Bookseller", p 295- 296.) Click here for a list of rare maps from Christopher Sower.

Rare maps by Christopher Sower currently for sale.

Rare maps by Christopher Sower in the Geographicus Antique Map Archive.

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