Book Series: Records of the Moravians in North Carolina

Frontispiece and Title Page of Volume 1, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina

From a series description by the State of North Carolina’s Office of Archives and History, publishers of this series.

“Owing to their world-wide connections in the Unitas Fratrum, and the scholarly methods of their leaders, the Moravians brought with them the habit of keeping precise records of all current events. Copies of these were communicated to their Brethren in other parts of the world, and the originals were carefully deposited in their Archives, now in Winston-Salem. In the later colonial years of North Carolina’s history the contemporary accounts were sparse and unconnected; there were many breaks and gaps in the story of the state. The Moravian Records are perhaps the only consecutive historical account which North Carolina possesses for those critical years of her development.

The Moravians were acute and watchful annalists. They recorded not only the doings of their own religious body, but made note of the state of the weather, incidents of travel, prevailing fashions, and features of topography. They mentioned the many distinguished men of the state who visited them, and whose descendants were a valuable element in the early twentieth century. These accounts are given in Moravian Diaries, in Travel Diaries, and in the “Memorabilia,” as they are called, which are the accounts of the successive years from 1753 to the 1920s….Records of the Moravians in North Carolina include translated excerpts from various documents, including the diaries kept by pastors of the various Moravian congregations in Wachovia. They provide a great deal of information not only about the Moravians who lived in Wachovia but also about their neighbors in this area.”

In 1918 Archivist Adelaide Fries agreed to compile and edit the material for eight volumes of Moravian Records to be published by the North Carolina Historical Commission (later known as the State Department – or Office – of Archives and History). The first volume was ready for the printer in 1920 and published in 1922. At the time of her death in 1949, Dr. Fries was compiling material for the eighth volume, completed by her successor Archivist, Dr. Douglas Rights. After a ten-year hiatus, three additional volumes were published over a five-year period. Two additional volumes were added in 2000 and 2006. The first eleven volumes are now out of print, the latter two volumes are available for purchase from UNC Press. All thirteen volumes are available in downloadable and searchable formats for the home researcher at the Internet Archive website. Links to those volumes are below.

Volumes 1-7, edited by Dr. Adelaide Fries
Volume 1 (1752-1771) (1922)
Volume 2 (1752-1775) (1925)
Volume 3 (1776-1779) (1926)
Volume 4 (1780-1783) (1930)
Volume 5 (1784-1792) (1941)
Volume 6 (1793-1808) (1943)
Volume 7 (1809-1822) (1947)
Volume 8 (1823-1837) (1954), edited by Dr. Adelaide Fries and Dr. Douglas Rights
Volume 9 (1838-1847) (1964), edited by Dr. Minnie J. Smith
Volume 10 (1841-1851) (1966), edited by Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton
Volume 11 (1852-1879) (1969), edited by Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton
Volume 12 (1856-1866) (2000), edited by Dr. C. Daniel Crews and Lisa Bailey, available for purchase through UNC Press
Volume 13 (1866-1876) (2006), edited by Dr. C. Daniel Crews and Lisa Bailey, available for purchase through UNC Press

Dr. Adelaide Fries, “Miss Adelaide,” first editor of Records of the Moravians in North Carolina

About series founder Adelaide Fries, from the “This Day in North Carolina History” blog at the state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources website:

“On September 26, 1911, Forsyth County native Adelaide Fries was appointed Archivist of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church.

Born in 1871 and from a long line of churchmen, Fries graduated from Salem College with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Guided to research primary sources from a very young age by her father, Fries learned to read Old German script so that she could translate the diaries in which she was interested. The culmination of that education came in 1899, when Fries accompanied her father to Germany where she examined many of the earliest records of the church.

Fries’s work as archivist of the Salem church began very unofficially when someone suggested that she find a room somewhere to house all the manuscripts that she was collecting. After that, with no official sanction, she began an intense collecting campaign that resulted in the preservation of many valuable papers.

Fries held the official position of archivist for the rest of her life, while pursuing companion interests in genealogy and church history. A popular speaker and author, Fries received honorary doctorates from Wake Forest and UNC.

She died in 1949 and was laid to rest in the Moravian burying ground known as God’s Acre.”

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