Founder of the Lutheran Theological Seminary and nearby Gettysburg College, Samuel Simon Schmucker (1799-1873) guided the school through its early years and the tumultuous Civil War period. Intelligent, energetic, well educated, and deeply pious, Schmucker was the "very life and formative power" of the Seminary for nearly forty years. One contemporary observed that he never knew a man "who needed and took less relaxation from severe mental toil than he."
As a leader of American Lutherans, Schmucker authored more than 40 publications on theology, church history, and philosophy. His progressive religious views and opposition to slavery made him a lightning rod for controversy within his own church. As the most visible Lutheran leader in America, his views were well known throughout the country and within wider Evangelical and Reformed circles internationally. When he retired in 1864, a reporter proclaimed that few men had accomplished "more good for the church and the general welfare of society."