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George Frederic Bahnson Portrait

Archivist Daniel Crews Welcomes George Frederic Bahnson to the Moravian ArchivesHere’s adventure with Friends of the Archives

What makes a Friend of the Archives? Hey, we’ll take anyone who doesn’t say, “What are they wasting time for, hanging onto that old stuff.”

Beyond that, Friends of the Archives come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and means of showing their support.

The Archie K. Davis Center, home of the Moravian Archives, was noticeably brightened last February with a splendid gift from Evangeline Bahnson Smith. She needed to find a home for her portrait of George Frederic Bahnson. He belongs in Salem, she declared. He certainly does.

Br. Bahnson was one of the most dynamic leaders the Moravian Church has had. He was a bishop of the Moravian Church. But beyond that, he was president of the Southern Provincial Elders Conference and minister of Home Church during the most trying times the Southern Province has faced — the Civil War and Reconstruction.

George Frederic is now back in Salem, where he — or his portrait — presides in the conference room of the Davis Center. We thank Vangie Smith for this truly handsome addition to the collections of the Archives.

Bequests and annuities are other ways to be a Friend of the Archives.

Among her many accomplishments in a long and productive life, Elizabeth Pfohl Campbell was founder of public television, WNET, in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Campbell assisted the Moravian Archives in 1993 by sponsoring our first major publication in 25 years, Memorabilia of Salem Congregation, 1931-1961, by her father, Bishop J. Kenneth Pfohl. In her passing away last January at the age of 102, Mrs. Campbell remembered her Moravian heritage by leaving a bequest to the Archives. We are grateful for the life and legacy of Elizabeth Pfohl Campbell.

For many long years Jean Simpson labored as a volunteer of the Archives, trying to bring into order our vast assortments of newspaper clippings. She went about her work quietly and thoroughly, and produced two large boxes of carefully indexed clippings. Unknown to us, she also arranged an annuity with the Moravian Ministries Foundation, which with her passing became a gift to the Archives. We are humbly grateful for the devotion of Jean Simpson to the Archives.

Another Friend of the Archives came by way of the kitchen, figuratively and literally. For more than a year Emily Sarah Lineback scoured the Archives for cooking recipes of the past. Among other things, it involved translating and taste-testing. The fruit of her labor is a beautiful slim volume entitled Preserving the Past: Salem Moravians’ Receipts & Rituals. In gratitude, Ms. Lineback arranged for her publisher, Carolina Avenue Press of Boonville, to donate a portion of the proceeds from the cookbook’s sale to the Archives.

So our Friends of the Archives do come in all sizes, ages, and means. They — YOU — make possible that something extra at the Archives, whether it is translations, or beautifying the walls, or saving ancient and unique maps and documents from further deterioration. If you aren’t a Friend of the Archives, come join us in this wonderful adventure in history. Donations may be made to Moravian Archives, 457 S. Church Street, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101.

Now to answer the rare curmudgeon who deigns to wonder, “What are they wasting time for, hanging onto that old stuff.” We do learn from our past; that’s crucial. For another thing, for the pure fun of our Moravian Church’s history, and a prime example can be found on page 1. History might seem dead and gone. But you can also find it staring you right in the face in the here and now. Besides, what you do tomorrow is the future’s history. Use it well, and let’s make history together.