Nazareth Hall

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Moravian boarding school in Nazareth, Pa., established in 1785.

From the description of Records, 1812-1843. (Bucks County Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 70966306

Nazareth Hall, established by the Moravians in 1759, was the first drawing school in America. The Moravians settled in Pennsylvania in 1740 on land owned by George Whitefield. On July 13, 1743, a school opened on the property in a building known as the Gray Cottage. Over the next few years, the school had various locations. The French and Indian War forced the school to move to Bethlehem, Pa. where it remained until 1759.

The Nazareth Hall property was originally intended for the home of Count von Zinzendorf. The cornerstone for what was to be his Manor House was laid on May 2, 1755 and the structure was completed on November 12, 1756. As business matters prevented Zinzendorf from moving to America, another use for the building was sought. With a strong tradition for educating children, the Moravians decided to move the boys school back to the Nazareth Hall estate. On June 6, 1759, 111 boys and their 19 tutors were welcomed to their new home. At first the school trained only the sons of Moravian clergy, but that policy changed in 1762. Even after enrollment was open and education no longer free, Nazareth Hall encountered financial difficulty. By 1779, only 11 pupils were attending the school. It was forced to close for six years. When the doors reopened on October 3, 1785, instruction was reorganized under the guidance of Rev. Charles G. Reichel, who served as principal for seventeen years. By 1789, 45 boys between the ages of 7 and 12 were receiving instruction in reading, writing, arthimetic, English, German, Latin, French, Greek, history, geography, mathematics, music, and drawing. One of the school's intentions was to prepare the students for a career in commerce. The boys took public exams at the end of the school year. Until 1802, German was spoken on three days and English on three days. On Sundays both languages were spoken.

During the early part of the 19th century much attention was paid to developments in mapping. The students were required to do exercises in geometrical and architectural drawing, copying illustrations from such works as Johann D. Preissler's "De Durch Theorie erfundene Practice." A theological seminary was authorized and on October 3, 1807, it opened with three scholars (Wm. H. Van Vleck, Samuel Reicke, and Peter Wolle), all of whom later became bishops of the church. Nazareth Hall also provided training for many Moravian ministers and teachers. In 1862, the Rev. H. Reichel, introduced military drill as part of the daily routine at the school. Shortly thereafter, Nazareth Hall gained a reputation as a military academy. It maintained that orientation until 1929, when it closed its doors forever.

From the description of Collection, 1793-1828. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 84665829

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Nazareth Hall. Collection, 1793-1828. Winterthur Library
creatorOf Nazareth Hall. Records, 1812-1843. Bucks County Historical Society
referencedIn Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863. Papers of Clement Clarke Moore [manuscript], 1826-1861. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature, 1640-2001 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863. person
associatedWith Moravian Church corporateBody
associatedWith Shirley, Betsy Beinecke. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Amateur artists
Animals in art
Architectural drawing
Art, Amateur
Boarding schools
Bridges in art
Children in art
Children's art
Dwellings in art
Face in art
Facial expressions
Flowers in art
Fruit in art
Landscapes in art
Men in art
Pencil drawing
Physiognomy in art
Ships in art
Trees in art
Women in art

Corporate Body

Active 1793

Active 1828





Ark ID: w6p605qk

SNAC ID: 7139356