Our Memoir Collection

An page from the German memoir of Maria Salome Hessler, 1750-1821.

At the heart of the Archives’ family history studies is our large memoir collection. A Moravian memoir, known as a Lebenslauf in German, is an account – often autobiographical in part – of the life of a Gemein, or congregation, member. Important life events are recounted with special attention given to spiritual struggles and progress. Memoirs were encouraged by the founder of the renewed Moravian Church, Count Zinzendorf, as a way to “make the invisible church visible,” and many are preserved in the Archive for inspirational and instructional purposes. Not every memoir is detailed, but many are.

Our collection includes over 14,000 memoirs for individual members of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, from its beginnings in North Carolina to the present day. Several hundred additional memoirs since 2005 are being added, while some 500 18th-century memoirs await translation.

Visitors can access our memoir collection database through our in-house research computers. English language memoirs can be viewed digitally, and for a fee researchers can obtain copies. Copies of English language memoirs can also be ordered through our website, Click here for more information: Remote Ordering of Memoirs

Excel spreadsheet listing memoirs in collection.

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