The records of the First German Baptist Church or Deutsche Baptisten-Kirche of Cincinnati have been fully processed and a finding aid is now available on the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository. The collection holds various records for the church between 1880 and 1991 including church meeting minutes, financial records, and Sunday school attendance sheets. The material in the collection prior to the 1930s is primarily in German.
The records of the First German Baptist Church illustrate a small, but significant religious movement among Cincinnati Germans in the late nineteenth century. The First German Baptist Church was founded in Cincinnati in 1857, with the assistance of the Ninth Street Baptist Church, whose congregation saw the need for a Baptist missionary movement among German immigrants. The Ninth Street Baptist Church hired Philip W. Bickel, who had been trained at the Rochester Baptist Seminary in New York, to work as a missionary among Cincinnati’s German Community. When enough converts were obtained to justify the founding of a church, Bickel became the first pastor. The church reported 42 members in its first year. Several years passed before construction on a church building began at the corner of Walnut and Corwine Streets in Over-the-Rhine, but the building was finally completed in 1872. Due to the church’s location, it was commonly referred to as the Walnut Street Baptist Church.
The records of the First German Baptist Church are part of the Archives and Rare Books Library’s German-Americana collection and complement other Cincinnati German religious records including those of the Third German Protestant Church. For further information on these records or other similar German religious records, please consult the finding aid or visit the Archives and Rare Books Library.