Zieglschmid, A. J. Friedrich (1903-1950)

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A. J. Friedrich Zieglschmid (1903-50), philologist and editor of Hutterite literature. Born in Plauen, Germany, he came to America in 1922; he became professor of Germanic linguistics at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and at the time of his sudden death was professor at the University of Akron, Ohio. In 1938, during a trip to Europe, he discovered Hutterite manuscripts in Slovakia and Hungary, welcomed by him as documents of early New High German. Some of the texts thus collected (epistles) he published later in the Mennonite Quarterly Review (1941, 42 and 43) in a letter-perfect edition; in 1940 he published also a lengthy essay on the Hutterites under the title, "Die ungarischen Wiedertäufer bei Grimmelshausen" (Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte LIX, 1940). Soon thereafter he decided to visit the present-day Hutterites in South Dakota in search of similar linguistic material. To his joy he "discovered" there the original of the Greater Chronicle (and later also the Smaller Chronicle). Since the Wolkan edition of 1923 was exhausted, the Brethren asked him to undertake a new edition, this time — upon his suggestion — in a letter-perfect form. In 1943 Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder appeared, a volume of 1200 pages, with glossary, bibliography, maps, and ample, valuable footnotes, now an indispensable tool for Anabaptist research, published by the Carl Schurz Foundation in Philadelphia. Four years later, in 1947, the Klein-Geschichtsbuch der Hutterischen Brüder followed, a volume of 800 pages, in modernized German, like­wise with full scholarly apparatus, issued by the same publisher. Up to the year 1802 Zieglschmid could use Johannes Waldner's text, but for the years 1802-1947 he had to find his own way, using an amazing variety of unknown or little-known material of great value, collected in part during many visits at the Bruderhofs of Canada and South Dakota. Next, Zieglschmid set out to produce a new critical edition of Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder (first edition at Scottdale, 1914), a tremendous undertaking covering more than 4,000 typewritten sheets. His sudden lamentable death cut short his endeavors.

Starting as a philologist knowing little of the church-historical significance of his subject, Zieglschmid very soon became so intensely interested in the life and fate of the Brethren that all his later work (after 1940) became truly a work of love and dedication. The Hutterites responded warmly to this service and acknowledged it publicly by a letter printed in the Klein-Geschichtsbuch (773).

Other publications by Zieglschmid include "The Hutterians on the American Continent," German-American Review VIII (1942); and "An Unpublished 'Hausbrief of Grimmelshausen's Hungarian Anabaptists," Germanic Review XV (April 1940).


Friedmann, R. "A. J. F. Zieglschmid, an Obituary." Mennonite Quarterly Review XXIV (1950): 364 f.

Author(s) Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Friedmann, Robert. "Zieglschmid, A. J. Friedrich (1903-1950)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 Oct 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zieglschmid,_A._J._Friedrich_(1903-1950)&oldid=168777.

APA style

Friedmann, Robert. (1959). Zieglschmid, A. J. Friedrich (1903-1950). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 October 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zieglschmid,_A._J._Friedrich_(1903-1950)&oldid=168777.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1026-1027. All rights reserved.

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