Samuel Mosheim Schmucker

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For other people with the same name, see Samuel Schmucker (disambiguation).

Samuel Mosheim Schmucker or Smucker[1] (January 12, 1823 – May 12, 1863) was an American historical writer and popular biographer.


Born at New Market, Virginia, the son of respected Lutheran pastor Samuel Simon Schmucker,[2] Samuel Schmucker graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, in 1839 and Washington College in Pennsylvania in 1840 and became a Lutheran pastor in the Pennsylvania Ministerium. Schmucker held pastorates at Lewistown (1842–45) and Germantown, Pennsylvania (1845–48).

Schmucker left the ministry in 1848, studied law, and practiced in Philadelphia (1850–53). After two years in New York, he returned to Philadelphia and devoted his remaining years to writing, mostly popular biographies. According to the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Schmucker's works "exhibit diligence in compiling rather than deep research."[3]

A fierce critic of the Higher Critic David Friedrich Strauss and his fellow "Modern Infidels," Schmucker unwittingly anticipated the Shakespearean authorship question with a mocking demonstration that "historic doubts regarding Christ" were "equally applicable to Shakespeare." Although he never doubted that Shakespeare had written Shakespeare, the 25-year-old Schumucker "carefully mapped out almost all the arguments subsequently used to question Shakespeare's authorship."[4]

Schmucker died in Philadelphia on May 12, 1863.[5]



  1. ^ Smucker changed the spelling of his family name.
  2. ^ John Walter Wayland (1969). A History of Shenandoah County. Strasburg, Virginia: Shenandoah Publishing House. p. 563. 
  3. ^ National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 5: 101 (1891).
  4. ^ James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 76.
  5. ^
  6. ^