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Kunze, Rev. Johann Christoph (1744-1807), sometimes Anglicized and spelled in the literature as John Christopher Kunze. He is among the earliest known numismatists in 18th century America and a contemporary of Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere (q.v.).

A German scholar of Hebrew. Kunze came to America in 1770 from England where he sailed from Halle, Germany. He was a Lutheran pastor at the Friesburg Emanuel Lutheran Church, Philadelphia. In 1773 he founded and established a German secondary school (Seminarium). In 1780 the school became the German language department of the infant Pennsylvania University. Hebrew was added to the curriculum but no students enrolled for either language. Kunze’s language institute disbanded and was superseded by Franklin College in Lancaster.

Kunze’s 1781 edition of the Lutheran Catechism together with that of Henrich Miller’s edition of 1774 laid the foundation for the first edition of the authorized version of the Pennsylvania Ministerium catechism.

He went to NY in 1784 to teach at Columbia College. In 1786 Johann Samuel Schwerdtfeger assisted Kunze and Heinrich Moller in organizing the New York Ministerium, the second Lutheran synod in the United States. As a New York coin collector he donated to the New York Historical Society. Unfortunately, according to Kelby in 1905, his coin collection was stolen from the New York Historical Society.

His coin cabinet contained 900 coins of which 30 are gold, 400 silver, 475 copper and bronze. Among his coins are included ancient Roman, medieval and modern European and various pieces of Early American colonial New England Bay Colony silver coinage of 1652, a St. Patrick farthing, a Rosa Americana, and a Voce Populi.

Kunze had a policy where he put his duplicate coins in a chest allowing anyone to take what they pleased as long as they replaced the coin with one not in his collection.

As a writer he is credited in Dr. Morris’ Bibliotheca Lutherana with eight books of which he was the author or editor, from Hymns and Poems to A History of the Lutheran Church and A New Method of Calculating the Great Eclipse of 1806.

Works :

Kunze, John C., Einige Gedichte und Lieder / von Johann Christoph Kunze, Ev. Luth. Pred. zu Philadelphia, in Nordamerika.(Philadelphia: : Gedrukt [sic] und zu finden bei Christoph und Peter Saur,, 1778).

Kunze, John C., Etwas vom rechten Lebenswege. (Philadelphia: : Gedrukt und zu finden bei Melchior Steiner., 1781)

Kunze, John C., Ein Wort für den Verstand und das Herz vom rechten und gebanten Lebenswege [electronic resource] / von Johann Christoph Kunze, A.M. Ev. Pred. zu Philadelphia, in Nordamerika. (Philadelphia; : Gedrukt bey Melchior Steiner, in der Reestrasse, zwischen der Zweiten und Dritten Strasse., 1781)

Kunze, John C., Lobet den Herrn, der zu Zion wohnet!: Bey dem erstmaligen Wiederbesuche der durch den Feind inwendig verwüstet gewesenen, aber durch den Segen Gottes wieder völlig hergestellten Evangelish-Lutherischen Zions-Kirche, zu Philadelphia, den 22sten September, 1782. / H.H. (Philadelphia: : Gedruckt bei Melchior Steiner, in der rees-Strasse., 1782)

Kunze, John C., Von den Absichten und dem bisherigen Fortgang der privilegirten deutschen Gesellschaft zu Philadelphia in Pennsylvanien. [electronic resource] / In einer vor der Gesellschaft gehaltenen Rede von Johann Christoph Kunze, Professor der orientalischen und der deutschen Sprachen auf der Universität zu Philadelphia und Mitglied der gedachten Gesellschaft. (Philadelphia, : Gedruckt bei Melchior Steiner, in der Rees-Strasse, nahe bei der Dritten Strasse., 1782)

Kunze, John C., Eine Aufforderung an das Volk Gottes in Amerika zum frohen Jauchzen und Danken.: An dem von einem erlauchten Congres wegen erhaltenen Friedens und erlangter Unabhängigkeit auf den 11ten December, 1783, ausgeschriebenen Dankfeste in der Zions-Kirche zu Philadelphia vorgestellt, und auf Verlangen verschiedener Zuhörer dem Druk [sic] übergeben, : nebst dem Anhange einer andern Predigt änlichen Inhalts, und an dem Dank- und Bettage des Jares [sic] 1779 gehalten, / von Johann Christoph Kunze, der Heil. Schrift Doctor, Professor der orient. und der deutschen Sprache auf der Univers. zu Philadelphia und Ev. Luther. Pred. daselbst. (Philadelphia: : Gedrukt [sic] bei Melchior Steiner, in der Rees-Strasse, zwischen der Zweiten- und Dritten-Strasse., 1784).

Kunze, John C., The rudiments of the Shorter catechism of Dr. Martin Luther. [electronic resource] : Appointed for the instruction of children and young people. : Published in English, chiefly for the use of those of the Lutheran congregations in America. : To which is annexed, an abridgment of the principles of the evangelical religion. (Philadelphia: : Printed by M. Steiner, in Race-Street, near Third-Street., 1785)

Luther, Martin, Der Kleiner Catechismus. (Germanton [Germantown, PA.]: Leibert und Billmeyer, 1785)

Kunze, John C., Elisas betränter Nachruf bei der Hinwegname seines Gottesmannes Elias: eine Gedächtnispredigt auf den Abschied des Herrn D. und Senior Heinrich Melchior Mühlenbergs, gehalten zu Neuyork am 19. Sonntage nach Trinitatis, 1787, / von des vollendeten Greises Schwiegersone und ehemaligen Kollegen zu Philadelphia, D. Johann Christoph Kunze. (Philadelphia: : Gedrukt bei Melchior Steiner, in der Rees-Strase, zwischen der Zweiten- und Dritten-Strasse,, 1787).

Kunze, John C., Der hundert und neunzehnte Psalm: ein Examengeschenk an die Neuyorkischen Lutherischen Schulkinder. (Philadelphia: : Gedruckt bey Melchior Steiner, in der Rees-Strasse, zwischen der Zweiten- und Dritten-Strasse,, 1791).

Kunze, John C., A Hymn and prayer-book. For the use of such Lutheran churches as use the English language. / Collected by John C. Kunze; D.D. Senior of the Lutheran clergy in the state of New-York. (New-York: : --Printed and sold by Hurtin and Commardinger, no. 450, Pearl-Street. (With privilege of copy right.), 1795)

Van Buskirk, Lawrence, Six Sermons, [electronic resource] / preached by the late Mr. Lawrence v. Buskirk, B.A. candidate for the holy ministry. ; [Two-line epitaph of the deceased author] (New-York, : Printed and sold, by T. Kirk, 112, Chatham-Street., 1797)

Kunze, John C., “Description Of A Cabinet Of Coins And Medals Ancient And Modern By John C. Kunze, S.S. T.D. And Senior Of The Lutheran Clergy In The State Of New York In A Letter To Dr. (Samuel L.) Mitchill Dated March 19, 1800. NY: T. & J. Swords, 1805, 8vo, 9pp, in The Medical Repository And Review Of American Publications On Medicine, Surgery, And The Auxiliary Branches Of Science, by Samuel L. Mitchill, M.D., and Edward Miller, M.D., NY: T. & J. Swords, 1805, First Hexade, Second Edition, Volume III, No. IV.

Bibliography :

Bartel, Klaus J., “German and the Germans at the Time of the American Revolution,” The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Mar., 1976) : 96-100

Durnbaugh, The Brethren in Colonial America.

Faust, A. B., The German Element in the United States (New York, 1927) 2:207-208

Foster, Benjamin R., “Yale and the Study of Near Eastern Languages in America, 1770-1930,” “A Mithridatic nation: Germany and the Beginnings of American Semitic Scholarship” in J. Marzahn, H. Neumann, ed., Assyriologica et Semitica, Festschrift fu/er Joachim Oelsner, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 252 (2000) : 53-65

Genzmer, George Harvey, “John Christopher Kunze,” Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. V, (New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932) : 512-513

Haussmann, Kunze’s Seminarium, Americana Germanica Monographs No. 27 (Philadelphia, 1917)

Henry Kiddle, and Alexander Jacob Schem, The Cyclopædia of Education: A Dictionary of Information for the use of Teachers, School Officers, Parents and Others. 3rd Edition. (E. Steiger & Co., New York; Sampson Low & Co., London, 1883) : 534

Robert Hendre Kelby, The New York Historical Society, 1804-1904 (New York : The New York Historical Society, 1905)

Lupia, John N., “The Earliest American Description of a St. Patrick Farthing,” C4 Newsletter

Miller, S. B., A Brief Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1803) : 2:67-69

Orosz, Joel J., The Eagle that is Forgotten. (Wolfeboro, 1988);

Smith, Pete, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 279;

Wenner, George U., The Lutherans of New York Their Story and Their Problems. (Petersfield Press : New York, 1918). Contains an illustration of Kunze and his headstone.

Wood, G. B., Early History of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1896) : 88, 89;

Wood, ed., Ralph, The Pennsylvania Germans (1942) : 114

Wolf, Edward C., “Music in Old Zion, Philadelpha, 1750-1850,” The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Oct., 1972) : 622-652