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bundling, Quakertown, Lehigh County, David Stein, courtship customs, bedrooms


A handwritten letter from Arthur K. Klingaman addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated May 19, 1949. Within, Klingaman details some information he obtained from his father surrounding the placement of bedrooms and the practice of "bundling" within the Pennsylvania Dutch community.


Arthur K. Klingaman


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 423-1


Quakertown, Pennsylvania


11 Fairview Ave.

Quakertown, Pa.

May 19, 1949

Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker

Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center, Inc.

Fackenthal Library

Franklin and Marshall College

Lancaster, Pa

Dear Dr. Shoemaker:

Reading your interesting sidelights on “Bundling” in the May 12 issue of “The Pennsylvania Dutchman” caused me to recall a conversation which I had some time ago with my father, A. B. Klingaman, of near Lynnport in Lehigh Co. There is on our farm there near the southern base of the Blue Mountain, an old house which was built, according to deeds in his possession, in the early 1800s by a David Stein, one of the past owners of the property. According to tradition the house is supposed to be the first of its type to replace the log houses of those days in the section, and, as old John Schaeffer, an aged neighbor who passed away when I was a boy, often remarked, was once considered the finest house in the valley.

Having often wondered about a rather odd room on the first floor of the house, I questioned my father about it and the reason for it’s possibly being included in the plan of the house. He told me that in times prior to the 1850s, and particularly in the section previously mentioned, it was the accepted custom that a special room be built into the first floor plan of the house which was called “es kammerlie”. This room served as the bedroom of the man and wife of the family, while the children slept upstairs. Then, when the daughters reached marriageable age, and a beau came to see one of the daughters, the parents would generously yield this first floor bedroom to the young people, and sleep in an upstairs bedroom, the procedure being quite practical, effective, and in no way frowned upon from a moral standpoint. My father obtained this information from men of the oldest generation of his youth, and explains the change in attitude toward bundling came about by the influx of “outlanders” shortly before the Civil War, particularly the Welsh and Irish of the canal building days and slate quarry openings. Parents then resisted their daughter’s inter-marriage with these “foreigners” and forbad the practice of “bundling”.

Your efforts in the medium of the “Pennsylvania Dutchman” are greatly appreciated. You are filling a long needed void in the culture of our country.

Very truly yours,

Arthur K. Klingaman



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Letter From Arthur K. Klingaman to Alfred L. Shoemaker, May 19, 1949



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