Devotions, Printed for Children at the Halle Orphanage and Possibly Printed by Orphans

Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690–1744).
Le trésor des enfans de Dieu, contenant un recueil de trois cents passages de l'Écriture Sainte, sur des matiéres d'instruction, d'édification & de consolation; auxquels on a joint des applications en vers & en prose.
Halle: Aux dépens de la Maison des Orphelins, 1737. (BRB0911)

The first and apparently only edition of a French version of Carl Heinrich von Bogatzky’s extremely popular Güldenes Schatz-Kästlein der Kinder Gottes (“Little Golden Treasure Chest of God's Children”) was originally published in Breslau in 1718. This 1737 French edition was printed at the Pietist press of the orphanage in Halle. The translator and editor, David Étienne Choffin (1703–1773), explains his working methods in the preface and notes that his work is not a direct translation as much as an imitation and adaptation. For example, he uses many of the same biblical citations found in the original, but substitutes some verses with different poems or his own prose passages. Except for the preface, the entire volume is printed on the rectos of each leaf only. Each of these 300 pages includes a biblical quotation followed by a poem or prose passage. In the preface, Choffin also provides a list of his sources.

Choffin, like Bogatzky, taught at the orphanage in Halle, an institution founded in the 1690s by the Pietist leader August Hermann Francke (1663–1727). By the time of Francke’s death, the orphanage housed over 2,100 children and the facilities included a pharmacy, printing press, extensive library, and a Wunderkammer. Numerous works by Franke and many other Pietist works were printed on the orphanage’s press, probably produced in part by the children.

Devotional Literature
Devotions Printed for Children