Martin Luther, Hero of the Reformation by Ellen Velvin

This short book on Martin Luther was written with young people in mind and is part of the “Splendid Lives ” Series, published by the Sunday School Union. It contains 16 black and white, pen and ink illustrations.

The copy provided by Book Aid for digitisation bears a Sunday School Award Plate dating from 1904, for “Good Behaviour and Regular Attendance”. This title is in the public domain.

Ellen Velvin [1826-1918], Martin Luther. The Hero of the Reformation. London: The Sunday School Union, 1897. bk. pp.144. [Click to visit the download page]


  1. Birth and Parentage
  2. Boyhood
  3. Education
  4. At Erfurt University
  5. Monastic Life
  6. Priesthood
  7. First Visit to Rome
  8. Friends and Foes
  9. The Reformation
  10. Reformation – Continued
  11. The Wartburg
  12. Return to Wittenburg
  13. Marriage
  14. Private and Public Work
  15. Closing Years
  16. Death

Chapter 1: Birth and Parentage

Of the many “Splendid Lives” which have, from time to time, benefited and enlightened the world, accomplishing great tasks, combating great evils, and dissipating the gloom of ignorance and superstition, that of Martin Luther, the great Reformer, is second to none.

Martin Luther was born on the eve of the festival day of St. Martin of Tours-hence his name-on 10th November 1483, at Eisleben, in the Duchy of Mansfeld, in Thuringia. His surname, Luther (Lyder, Ltider, Ludher, or, as some say, Lothar or Lothair), is supposed to be derived from Lauter, which means “clear” or “pure.” This was the generally accepted meaning of the word, but another interpretation is that Lutherus and Lotharius are synonymous, Lotharius (“King of Men”) being a name given to royal, imperial, and illustrious personages.

Hans Luther, his father, who was a miner or slate-cutter by trade, and belonged to a family of free peasants at Möhra…

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