PBS History Detectives host Elyse Luray (left) talks with Mary Redline, library archives/project manager at the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, about a cloak that’s part of the school’s historical collection.
In a History Detectives segment in July, Luray delved into rare period accounts from Lutheran pastor Peter Muhlenberg’s family, friends and contemporaries to learn whether the cloak was really the one Muhlenberg tore from his shoulders during a fiery sermon in January 1776, revealing a uniform. It’s said that he rallied some 300 parishioners to the patriotic cause with that act. While it was determined the robe was authentic, the dramatic disrobing was deemed a myth.
Peter Muhlenberg’s father was Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, considered a founder of U.S. Lutheranism and of many congregations that still exist today.
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