|Title:||Wolle Family Papers|
|Language of Material:||German|
|Location:||Moravian Church Archives|
|Alternate View:||View Moravian Archives Finding Aid|
The Collection contains papers related to personal family matters, business affairs (including Jacobsburg Store, Oxford Furnace, Catherine Furnace, Chapman Quarries, Aerial Navigation, and Bethlehem Iron Company), and the involvement of the Wolle family in the Moravian Church. Most of the papers are in English, with only a few in German script.
Materials are organized largely under names of four persons:
These invaluable materials could be foundational for detailed future research into hitherto unstudied aspects of Bethlehem history.
The Wolle Family of the Bethlehem-Nazareth area descended from one John Frederick Wolle of central Europe through his son Peter (1745-1813), Moravian missionary to the West Indies. Peter's eldest son, named John Frederick Wolle (1785-1860), married Sabina Henry (1792-1859), daughter of William Henry of the Henry Gunworks at Boulton and settled at Tria (now called Belfast), Pa. In 1809 he became the storekeeper at nearby Jacobsburg. In 1821 he moved to manage the Nazareth Store, and then in 1824 became manager of the Bethlehem Store. John Frederick Wolle also engaged with members of the Henry and extended Jordan families in joint entrepreneurial projects such as land transactions and the search for iron ore with eventual establishment of blast furnaces.
John Frederick's brother Peter Wolle (1792-1871) became a Bishop of the Moravian Church. The Rev. Sylvester Wolle (1816-1873), fourth son of John Frederick, served as Provincial Elder in his later years, after service as a teacher, pastor, Presbyter, and Principal of the Ladies' Boarding School at Bethlehem. Augustus Wolle (1821-1878) sixth son of John Frederick, was a merchant and entrepreneur in Bethlehem. He donated land on which the present Lehigh University was founded, was a vital figure in early steps that developed into the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and with older brother Francis Wolle developed a machine to make paper bags.
A strong and continuing sense of community responsibility appears to have been a heritage of the Wolle descendants as over a span of years various members preserved papers and items documenting the long-term effects of the family on commercial, civic, cultural and spiritual life in the Lehigh Valley.
Items were collected and donated primarily by Clarence Augustus Wolle and Aubrey Bevan Wolle, son and grandson, respectively, of Augustus Wolle. A large genealogical chart of seven generations of the Wolle Family clearly identifies relationships among descendants. Pictures and artifacts are moved into appropriate Archival collections, as are materials related more closely to Church records and to the history of the Bethlehem Store. This Collection was organized in 2010 by Pauline Fox.