Pictured: Barbara Stofan ’57; Jennifer Morrow, College Archivist (both in front); Marty Clague; Tom Chema, Hiram College President; and Andrew Stofan ’58 (standing).
Hiram’s history is rich and dates back to the middle of the 19th Century, but now thanks to a gift from Andrew Stofan, ’58 and his wife Barbara (Bedell) Stofan, ’57 the college now has a resource that dates back a century earlier to colonial America.
Stofan, who is a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, donated the Kelker family Bible, printed in 1743 in Philadelphia. The leather bound German language Bible tome was passed down to Stofan from his mother Ida (Kelker) Stofan and and has been kept in the Stofans’ home in Colorado. Stofan credits the dry air in Colorado for keeping the Bible in amazingly good condition, given its age.
Mrs. Stofan said the Kelker family was one of many from Germany who migrated to what were then the American colonies in the first half of the 18th century. They settled in Philadelphia, and then moved to Lancaster, Pa. the Bible was printed by Christopher Sauer, a well-known pre-Revolutionary War printer and a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin’s in Philadelphia.
“We are not really sure how they and the Bible came to Ohio,” Mrs. Stofan said. “I will be supplying the college with geneological information to go along with it, so people can see the family history.” Many members of the Stofan family have attended Hiram.
The Bible will be stored in the College archives, and an appraisal will be done to determine its value. Jennifer Morrow, Hiram’s archivist said the Bible will be stored in the temperature and moisture-controlled archives, and may be made available for research and display from time to time.