About Us

The Moravian Archives is the official repository for the records of the Moravian Church in America – Northern Province. The Northern Province covers the Moravian churches in the United States (excluding congregations located in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia) and Canada.

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General Info

The Bethlehem Moravian Archives also holds records from the Moravian Church in Alaska, Labrador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Eastern West-Indies. For records from the Moravian Church in the Southern Province (North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia) contact the Moravian Archives in Winston-Salem, NC, www.moravianarchives.org. Information on other Moravian collections can be found on the Moravian archives portal.

Mission Statement

The Moravian Archives collects and preserves records and historical materials of Moravians in North America and makes them available to the public.

It is the official repository of the records of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province.

The Archives fulfills its mission through archival processing, research services, education, publications, and public programming.

Directive (from Book of Order Moravian Church Northern Province)

¶605. (a) The Provincial Archives were consolidated by order of the Synod of 1861 with those of the Moravian Congregation of Bethlehem, were incorporated on November 6, 1975, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, as the Moravian Archives, and are permanently housed in the Archives Building at 41 West Locust Street, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018.

(b) The Moravian Archives is the repository for the records of the congregations, boards, and institutions of the Moravian Church-Northern Province. The Moravian Archives acquires, preserves, and makes accessible the records of the Moravian Church, Northern Province. In addition, it collects and maintains a library of books relating to the history of the Moravian Church in the United States of America and elsewhere; and it collects and maintains other historical collections, such as collections of paintings, drawings and prints, objects, and photographs.

(c) Records of the church are defined as all documents, minutes, journals, diaries, registers, reports, pamphlets, letters, papers, manuscripts, maps, photographs, books, audiovisuals, sound recordings, electronic data records, artifacts, or any other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, created, received, or gathered by the church, its ministers, employees, congregations, boards, and institutions in pursuance of church business.

(d) Congregations, boards, and institutions of the Moravian Church-Northern Province shall transfer their non-current records to the Moravian Archives. The Moravian Archives may arrange and organize, describe, digitize, reproduce, deaccession, publish, and make these records accessible to the public, unless a restriction on the use of the records has been imposed at the time of transfer.

(e) Records of the church transferred to the Moravian Archives and younger than 50 years from the date of their creation are closed and can only be accessed with written permission given by the entity that created the record or, in case the entity is no longer in existence, by the President of the Provincial Elders’ Conference.

(f) The care and management of the Archives is committed to an incorporated Board of Directors of whom the majority shall be members of the Moravian Church. The endowment funds, the annual budget, the employment of the Archivist and other staff, the development of archival policies, the care and maintenance of the Archives Building, and all other responsibilities for the Archives are committed to the Board of Directors.

approved by Northern Province Synod, 2023

Articles of Incorporation & Bylaws

The Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of the Moravian Archives date from 1975. The Bylaws have been revised in 1983, 1997, and 2023.

Bylaws 2023

Hours & Directions

The Moravian Archives is located on the campus of Moravian University, across the street from the Moravian Theological Seminary.

There is parking reserved for visitors of the Moravian Archives in the lot behind the Archives building (north side of lot P). Please ask our staff for a parking pass upon your arrival. We are also glad to send you a parking pass by email ahead of time.

The Moravian Archives

Hours

  • Research appointments are scheduled 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

Appointments are required for doing research in the reading room. No appointments are required to visit our exhibit or to browse our giftshop.

The Moravian Archives will be closed for visitors on holidays or during special programs. Please check our calendar for more details.

For more information on scheduling your visit, see plan your visit.

The Moravian Archives follows Moravian University regarding inclement weather closings. Notice of closings will be posted on this website, our social media accounts, and on Moravian weather phone line at 610.625.7995.

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Internships

The Moravian Archives Bethlehem (MAB) offers many internship opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. In previous years internships included but were not limited to

  • Archival Processing
  • Exhibit Curation
  • Digitization
  • Visitor Services

The Moravian Archives does not currently have any internship opportunities available at this time.

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Volunteering

The Moravian Archives offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for students, retirees, and anyone else interested in history and the community.

Currently, we have the following volunteer positions available:

  • Moravian Roots – Data entry from old manuscripts
    Ability to read old handwriting (English or German); computer skills (database); once/week (or more if possible)
  • Moravian Roots – quality control
    ​Computer skills (database); editing skills; once/week (or more if possible). Learn more about Moravian Roots.
  • Transcriptions of German texts
    Ability to read old German handwriting; computer skills (Word); once/week (or more if possible)

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact assistant archivist Thomas McCullough at tom@moravianchurcharchives.org.

The Moravian Archives greatly appreciates all of its volunteers. Volunteers are honored at our annual “Volunteer Party.”

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Board & Staff

Board of Directors

President: Diane Windham Shaw
Vice-President: Thomas Bross
Treasurer: Michael A. Long
Secretary: Dr. Scott Paul Gordon

  • Gerry Downes
  • Kim Demyan
  • Dr. Katherine Faull
  • Alice Mosebach
  • David S. Parker
  • Ricky Santee, Esq.
  • Brad Senick
  • Marian Shatto
  • Donald A. Squair

Emeriti:

  • Rose E. Nehring
  • Halfred C. Smith
Paul M. Peucker

Paul M. Peucker

director and archivist | paul@moravianchurcharchives.org

Paul Peucker studied history at the Rijksuniversiteit at Utrecht (1988) and received his Ph.D. from the same university in 1991. The topic of his dissertation is the first Moravian settlement outside Herrnhut: Heerendijk in the Netherlands.

He holds a degree in archivistics from the Rijksarchiefschool in The Hague. Paul was archivist at the Unity Archives in Herrnhut, Germany, from 1996-2004. In March 2004 he became the archivist of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Paul is the founding editor of the Journal of Moravian History and has published on various topics. His book, A Time of Sifting: Mystical Marriage and the Crisis of Moravian Piety in the Eighteenth Century was published in 2015 (Penn State University Press).

His newest book Herrnhut: The Formation of a Moravian Community, 1722-1732 (Penn State Press 2022) is also available as a German translation: Herrnhut, 1722-1732: Entstehung und Entwicklung einer philadelphischen Gemeinschaft (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021). He is currently working on an edited volume on Spangenberg and a annotated textcritical edition of Zinzendorf’s diaries from the 1720s.

Selected Publications

books:

  • Herrnhut: The Formation of a Moravian Community, 1722-1732 (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2022)
  • Herrnhut, 1722-1732: Entstehung und Entwicklung einer philadelphischen Gemeinschaft, Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Pietismus 67 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021)
  • A Time of Sifting: Mystical Marriage and the Crisis of Moravian Piety in the Eighteenth Century (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2015)
  • Herrnhuter Wörterbuch. Kleines Lexikon von brüderischen Begriffen (Herrnhut: Unitätsarchiv, 2000).
  • ‘s Heerendijk. Herrnhutters in Ijsselstein 1736-1770 (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1991) [PhD diss. Utrecht 1991]

edited volumes:

  • Heikki Lempa and Paul Peucker, eds. Self, Community, World: Moravian Education in a Transatlantic World, (Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2010).
  • Martin Brecht and Paul Peucker, eds. Neue Aspekte der Zinzendorf-Forschung, Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Pietismus 47 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006).
  • Groot, Aart de, and P. M. Peucker, eds. De Zeister Broedergemeente, 1746-1996: bijdragen tot de geschiedenis van de herrnhutters in Nederland. Zutphen: Walburg, 1996.

articles:

  • “The 1727 Statutes of Herrnhut,” Journal of Moravian History 20, no. 1 (2020): 73–113.
  • (with Thomas McCullough) “Religious Collections as Primary Sources for Caribbean History: A Case Stude of the Moravian Church Archives in Bethlehem, PA,” in Decolonizing the Caribbean Record: An Archives Reader, ed. Jeannette A. Bastian, John A. Aarons, and Stanley Griffin 2018), 767–83.
  • “A Family of Love: Another Look at Bethlehem’s General Economy,” Journal of Moravian History 18.2 (2018): 123–44.
  •  “The Textual History of the 1742 Bethlehem Diary,” Journal of Moravian History 18.1 (2018): 102–12.
  • “Archivieren, Redigieren, Kassieren: Die Herrnhuter Archive im 18. Jahrhundert,” in Exzerpt, Plagiat, Archiv: Untersuchungen zur neuzeitlichen Schriftkultur, ed. Elisabeth Décultot, and Helmut Zedelmaier (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2017), 64–86.
  • “Schreiben Als Liturgie: Schreiben und Archivbildung in der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine,” In “Schrift Soll Leserlich Seyn”: Der Pietismus Und Die Medien. Beiträge Zum Iv. Internationalen Kongress Für Pietsmusforschung 2013, edited by Christian Soboth and Pia Schmid, 431–43. Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2016.
  • “Pietism and the Archives,” in The Brill Companion to German Pietism, ed. Douglas H. Shantz (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 393-420.
  • “Archivieren, Redigieren, Kassieren: Die Herrnhuter Archive im 18. Jahrhundert,” in Exzerpt, Plagiat, Archiv: Untersuchungen zur neuzeitlichen Schriftkultur, ed. Elisabeth Décultot, and Helmut Zedelmaier (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2017), 64–86.
  • “Selection and Destruction in Moravian Archives Between 1760 and 1810,” Journal of Moravian History 12 (2012): 170-215. (earlier version in German: “In Staub und Asche: Bewertung und Kassation im Unitätsarchiv 1760–1810,” in Alles ist euer, ihr aber seid Christi. Festschrift für Dietrich Meyer, ed. Rudolf Mohr. Schriftenreihe des Vereins für Rheinische Kirchengeschichte, 147. (Köln: Rheinland Verlag, 2000), 127–158).
  • “Wives of the Lamb: Moravian Brothers and Gender around 1750,” in Masculinity, Senses, Spirit, ed. Katherine Faull (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2011), 39-54.
  • “In the Blue Cabinet: Moravians, Marriage, and Sex,” Journal of Moravian History, no. 10 (2011): 7-37.
  • “Herrnhuter Archive als Aufbewahrungsort Pietistischer Erfahrungen,” in ‘Aus Gottes Wort und eigener Erfahrung gezeiget’: Erfahrung – Glauben, Erkennen und Gestalten im Pietismus. Beiträge zum III. Internationalen Kongress für Pietismusforschung 2009, ed. Christian Soboth and Udo Sträter, Hallesche Forschungen 33 (Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2012), 695-705.
  • “Communication through Art: The Role of Art in Moravian Communities,” in Self, Community, World: Moravian Education in a Transatlantic World, ed. Heikki Lempa and Paul Peucker (Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2010), 248-267.
  • “Pink, White, and Blue: Function and Meaning of the Colored Choir Ribbons with the Moravians,” in Pietism and Community in Europe and North America, 1650-1850, ed. Jonathan Strom, Brill’s Series in Church History 45 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 179-197.
  • “The Ideal of Primitive Christianity as a Source of Moravian Liturgical Practice,” Journal of Moravian History, no. 6 (2009): 7-29.
  • “Zinzendorf’s Plan for a ‘Complete History of the True Church of Christ’,” Journal of Moravian History, no. 7 (2009): 59-82.
  • “The Songs of the Sifting: Understanding the Role of Bridal Mysticism in Moravian Piety During the Late 1740s,” Journal of Moravian History, no. 3 (2007): 51-87.
  • “Inspired by Flames of Love: Homosexuality, Mysticism, and Moravian Brothers around 1750,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 15 (2006): 30-64.
  • “Aus allen Nationen. Nichteuropäer in den deutschen Brüdergemeinen des 18. Jahrhunderts,” Unitas Fratrum. Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Gegenwartsfragen der Brüdergemeine 59/60 (2007): 1-35.
  • “Kreuzbilder und Wundenmalerei. Form und Funktion der Malerei in der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine um 1750,” Unitas Fratrum. Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Gegenwartsfragen der Brüdergemeine, 55/56 (2005): 125-174.
  • “Was las der Graf von Zinzendorf? Eine unbekannte Bücherliste aus dem Jahre 1758,” Unitas Fratrum 38 (1995): 31–49.
  • “Das Diarium von Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf, geschrieben während seiner Reise durch die Niederlande 1736,” Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis 74 (1994): 72–122.

Thomas J. McCullough

Thomas J. McCullough

assistant archivist | tom@moravianchurcharchives.org

Thomas provides research and references services for the Moravian Archives. He completed his undergraduate studies in history, anthropology, and European studies at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in May 2011. He received a master’s degree in applied history from the same university in May 2013, focusing his graduate field work in archival studies. In December 2019, he received a master’s degree in library and information science, with an archives concentration, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Thomas previously worked at the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum, the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center, and the Cumberland County (PA) Archives. In August 2013 he became assistant archivist at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Thomas teaches German script to adult classes, and to local middle/high school German language classes. He is the editor of The Archival Spirit, a newsletter published three times per year by the Archivists of Religious Collections Section of the Society of American Archivists, and also serves as editorial assistant of the Journal of Moravian History.

Publications

  • “Moravians and the Celebration of American Figures and Holidays, 1776–1826,” in Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822, edited by Ulrike Wiethaus and Grant McAllister, 215–250 (Leiden: Brill, 2023).
  • “Overview of Publications on the Moravian Church in English, 2016–20,” Journal of Moravian History 22, no. 1 (Spring 2022): 82–115.
  • “Benigna von Zinzendorf’s Reports about Her American Travels, 1741–1742,” Journal of Moravian History 20, no. 2 (Fall 2020): 149–89.
  • “Religious Collections as Primary Sources for Caribbean History: A Case Study of the Moravian Church Archives in Bethlehem, PA,” written with Paul Peucker, in A Caribbean Archives Reader, eds. Jeannette A. Bastian, Stanley H. Griffin, and John A. Aarons (2018).
  • “Overview of Publications on the Moravian Church in English, 2011–2015,” Journal of Moravian History 16, no. 2 (2016): 139–68.
  • “The Most Memorable Circumstances: Instructions for the Collection of Personal Data from Church Members, circa 1752,” Journal of Moravian History 15, no. 2 (2015): 158–75.

Kaitlin A. Trainor

Kaitlin A. Trainor

processing archivist | kaitlin@moravianchurcharchives.org

Kaitlin completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science at Susquehanna University in 2013. She received her master’s degree in Library & Information Sciences from Rutgers University in December of 2017. Previously, Kaitlin worked at the Bethlehem Area Public Library and the Bangor Public Library.

In January of 2018, Kaitlin became processing archivist at the Moravian Archives. Her main responsibility is to process collections from the late 19th and 20th centuries. She is the main contact person for our congregations and Church agencies and facilitates the maintenance and transfer of congregational materials to the archives.  She also oversees the library collection.

Kelly Givens

Kelly Givens

office manager | kelly@moravianchurcharchives.org

Kelly is the office manager. She works at the front desk and is the first point of contact for anyone visiting or calling the Moravian Archives. Kelly oversees our gift shop, schedules volunteers, processes payments, and coordinates the many events taking place at the Moravian Archives.

Jonathan Ennis

Jonathan Ennis

digital archivist | digital@moravianchurcharchives.org

Jonathan received his undergraduate degree from Moravian University in 2008 and his master’s in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in 2011. He began working at the Moravian Archives in May of 2018.
He is responsible for the Archives’ digitization projects, including scanning and maintenance of the resulting materials. Jonathan also manages the processing and storage of born digital materials and handles digitization requests from researchers.

Emma Horning

Emma Horning

office and archives assistant | adminassist@moravianchurcharchives.org

Emma received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography from Kutztown University in 2009. She received her master’s degree in Library and Information Science (with an archives concentration) from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2022. She began volunteering at the Moravian Archives in 2018 and has worked at the Archives since 2020.

At the Archives, Emma processes 19th- and 20th-century photographic collections, working to create access to photographic albums, prints, and negatives. She is also responsible for circulation of archival materials. In addition, Emma manages the Archives’ social media and donations, and works with Kelly in the Moravian History Store.

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Grants Received

During the past years, the Moravian Archives has received grants for the following projects.

Bethlehem Conference on Moravian History & Music

Bethlehem Area Moravians Ministries Board. 2023. $2,000.

Uncommon Bonds: Labrador Inuit & Moravian Missionaries

  • Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), 2020, Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, $168,349

HVAC Replacement 2020

  • Larger Life Foundation, 2020, $5,000
  • Society for Promoting the Gospel, 2020, $2,000

Digitizing Moravian Records

  • R. K. Laros Foundation, 2018, $20,000

Records from the Caribbean

  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 2018, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Grant, $196,000
  • Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), 2018, Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, $67,049
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 2015, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations Grant, $37,982

Reading Room Renovation Project

  • R. K. Laros Foundation, 2015, $10,000

The Moravian Archives Storage Renovation Project

  • Keystone National Bank & Trust, 2013, $7,500
  • Society for Propagating the Gospel of the Moravian Church, 2013, $1,000
  • Larger Life Foundation of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province, 2013, $5,000
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), 2012, Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections, $148,085

Preservation Needs Assessment Program

  • Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), 2010, valued at $5,775

The Moravian Community in the New World: The First Hundred Years

  • Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), 2009, Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives, $90,000, in partnership with Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

“Connecting to Collections Bookshelf”

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), 2009, valued at $800

Roof replacement 2007/2008

  • Provincial Elders’ Conference, Moravian Church, Northern Province, 2008, $37,142
  • Bethlehem Area Moravians, 2008, $37,142
  • United Brethren’s Church, Staten Island, New York, 2007, $10,000

Records Online Project

  • Anonymous foundation, 2007, $14,615

Moravian Education

  • Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania, Library Services and Technology Grant to process the records of the Moravian Female Seminary, 2006-2007, in partnership with Reeves Library (Moravian College) and Bethlehem Area Public Library

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Annual Reports

Annual Reports to Bethlehem Area Moravians

Report 2022

 

Previous Annual Reports to the Bethlehem Area Moravians

Reports to the Synod of the Moravian Church in North America, Northern Province

2023 report to Synod

Previous Reports to the Synod of the Moravian Church in North America, Northern Province

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Newsletter

The official Newsletter of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem. Voices from the Vault is published twice a year and is sent to all the Friends of the Archives. Want to receive news and updates from us? Join our mailing list today!

You will find the latest issue here.

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Research Grants

The Vernon Nelson Fund provides grants to researchers as a contribution toward their expenses relating to their research at the Moravian Archives.

Funding may be given for research projects using material held by the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem. Grants cannot be given for attending the annual German Script Course. Grant amounts are usually $1000 or less.

Rev. Vernon H. Nelson (1933-2010) was archivist of the Moravian Church, Northern Province from 1961 until 2004.

deadline: February 28, 2025

Selection Criteria

  1. Funding may be given for scholarly research projects using records held by the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem.
  2. Projects will be assessed on the general significance of the proposed research, the scholarly value, the relevance to Moravian studies, and the likelihood of timely completion of the proposed research.
  3. Grants are renewable.
  4. Applicants need to be 18 years or older.
  5. Grants may be used for travel to Bethlehem, PA (incl. transportation and lodging, not for meals), reproductions, translations, and publications. (Please note that it is allowed to photograph records in the reading room at no charge)

Application process

  1. Deadline for grant applications is the last day of February.
  2. Applications need to be submitted through the form below.
  3. Applicants need to provide personal information (name, address, email address, telephone), information on the research project (title, narrative, timeline), a budget, and upload a CV and a letter of reference.
  4. Applicants will be informed in March or April.

Requirements

  1. Grant winners are required to mention the grant in resulting publications.
  2. Grant winners need to send a complimentary copy of resulting publication to the Moravian Archives.
  3. If the grant was for translation, a copy of the translation is to be sent to the Moravian Archives.
  4. Grants need to be spent within a year after they were awarded.
  5. Grant winners need to submit a report about the completion of the project, including a statement of how the funding was used, before the last of April of the following year.
  6. Names of grant winners and their projects will be published on the website.

Grant Application

Research Grant Application

Use this form to apply for a grant from the Rev. Vernon H. Nelson Memorial Fund. Please note that the form may be completed in several sessions before it is submitted. After successfully submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email (please also check your junkmail folder). An incomplete submission or a submission containing other file formats than the ones listed here, will result in a failed application. Please check if you received a confirmation email. Not receiving an email confirmation email may be an indication your application was not successfully uploaded. Please try again, or, contact us at info@moravianchurcharchives.org.

  • Title of the project for which funding is requested
  • Give a description of your research project, its relevance, and the kind of records you are planning to use
  • Please provide a detailed budget, including the amount requested
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 20 MB, Max. files: 2.
      Choose a file from your computer to upload.
    • Drop files here or
      Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 20 MB, Max. files: 4.
        Choose a file from your computer to upload. One letter of reference is required, but you may upload up to three letters if desired.
      • If awarded, I agree to mention the grant in any resulting publications, to send a complimentary copy of any resulting publication to the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA, and - if applicable - to send a copy of a translation funded by the grant to the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. I agree to spend the grant within a year after it is awarded and to submit a report about the completion of the project, including a statement of how the funding was used, by the last day of April of the following year. If awarded, my name + project title will be listed in publications of the Moravian Archives, including the website.

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      Use Policy

      Rights and Re-Use Policy

      The Moravian Archives, Bethlehem (MAB), supports teaching, research and learning in its mission to preserve and provide access to the records of the Moravian Church in North America, Northern Province. To that end, the MAB makes freely available its collection of archival records and publications of local, national, and international origin and interest. These resources include archival and printed materials, digital surrogates, online catalogs, and descriptive metadata. These resources are made available for educational and research purposes.

      By requesting access to archival records and publications made available at the MAB, the user agrees to abide by the Rules of the Archives. In support of the dissemination of scholarship, the MAB welcomes requests to reproduce materials held by the Library; however, in fulfillment of the user agreement, the user agrees to submit a permission-to-publish application to the MAB in order to notify MAB staff about of his or her intent to publish any material, in any format, from the collections of the MAB.

      It is the responsibility of the requester to secure permission from the copyright holder. If the MAB is identified as the copyright holder, the MAB will give a non-exclusive right to publication upon review of the submitted permission-to-publish application. Further republication will require reapplication to the MAB. Users are encouraged to consult US Copyright Law. Regardless of whether the MAB is the copyright holder, all published materials from its collections should contain the following credit: Used with permission of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem.

      Note: Users may need to obtain other permissions for their intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy or moral rights may limit how materials may be used.


      Note: a special rights, ethics and re-use statement was drafted and effectuated for the CLIR-funded project (2019) titled Uncommon Bonds. For more information, please consult Rights, Ethics and Re-use Statement. Uncommon Bonds: Labrador Inuit and Moravian Missionaries.

      How to Submit Church Records

      The Moravian Archives is the official repository for the historical records of the boards, agencies, and congregations of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province.

      The numbers between brackets refer to the Book of Order of the Northern Province, latest edition.

      The following records are to be transferred to the Archives when they are no longer in current use (¶605, ¶1034.a), preferably at regular intervals (10 or 20 years). By transferring the records to the Archives the records will be open to public access, except for sensitive records that remain restricted for 50 years after their creation (¶605.e). These records are marked here with an *; they can only be used by written permission of the pastor or chairman of the board concerned. (If a congregation closes, permission to see restricted records needs to be requested from the Provincial Elders’ Conference).

      Materials should be organized in folders and placed in strong boxes (15 ½ x 12 ½ x 10 ½”). The height of the boxes is not to exceed 10 ½ inches. The folders should be labeled (e.g., “elders minutes, 1950-1955”). Please prepare a list of the content of the boxes. Sending us an electronic version of the list (e.g., by email) makes it easier for us to integrate the information into our records management system.

      • Church Register (register of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials) (¶1031.a)
      • Minutes
        • *Board of Elders
        • *Board of Trustees
        • *Joint Board
        • Church Council
          • materials given at church council (reports, etc.)
          • minutes and records of other committees, such as Christian Education, Stewardship, etc.
      • Financial Records
        • annual budget (if not included in Church Council materials)
        • annual financial statement (if not included in Church Council materials)
      • Documentation
        • directories of members (“Catalog” or Membership lists) (¶1031.b)
        • *congregation diary (¶1031.c)
        • memoirs
        • register of church services
        • histories of the congregation; histories of organizations within the congregation
        • special brochures concerning any facet of church life
        • programs and printed materials used for anniversaries, dedications, etc.
        • photographs (please identify people, occasion, and year on back if possible)
        • building plans for church-owned buildings
        • Newsletters
        • Cemetery records such as; committee minutes, cemetery maps, deeds for plots, and financial documents

      Do not hesitate to contact the archivist about any questions you may have!

      Why Does the Archives Require Specific Boxes?

      The shelf openings in our vault are 11 inches high. Larger boxes will not fit. Sometimes congregations are creative and pack their records in boxes that came with television sets or garden hoses. In order to prevent unnecessary unpacking and repacking, we prefer you use the standard size bankers boxes.

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      Donating Records

      What to Donate
      The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA, collects records and historical materials of Moravians in North America. We collect any publication relating to the Moravian Church worldwide. You can find more details in our collecting policy.

      In addition to the official records of the church, we collect personal papers created by individuals and families, as long as there is a connection to the Moravian Church. Types of materials that we collect may include: letters, diaries, account books, deeds, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, photographs, drawings, pamphlets, invitations, articles of incorporation, professional files, financial and membership records, legal documents, and others.

      If you are unsure, staff members are happy to work with you to identify which materials are appropriate to donate. In some cases, we may wish to see the material before it is physically transferred.

      Transferring Materials
      Please contact us before shipping any material, so that we can discuss the donation process with you and help you identify which materials to donate. You can then ship the records or papers to us or make an appointment to deliver them in person. In exceptional cases, staff members may be able to pick up the materials.

      Deed of Gift
      To transfer ownership of the archival materials to the Moravian Archives, we will ask you to sign a deed of gift. The deed of gift includes a brief description of the material donated and can be customized to address the individual donor’s needs. We generally do not accept materials on deposit or on loan.

      Care of the Collections
      Our collections are kept in environmentally controlled, secure, closed storage areas. Staff members retrieve them for research use in a supervised reading room. When the building is closed, it is protected by an electronic security system.

      As resources and time permit, we will arrange collections and describe them in our (online) finding aid or online book catalog. To preserve them physically, collection materials are transferred to acid-free folders and boxes. If the donated items need specialized treatment from professionally trained preservation technicians, we might ask you to contribute financially. If an item is in such a condition that the Moravian Archives cannot appropriately care for it, it may not be accepted.

      Arranging, describing, and preserving collections is expensive and often depends on grants or private contributions. We would be happy to discuss with you the cost of processing your papers or records, and we encourage you to consider a monetary gift so that we can complete this work in a timely manner.

      Access to Collections
      Generally, we will provide full public access to our collections, within the framework of our policies and procedures. Regulations of the Moravian Church limit access to church records that are less than 50 years old. In addition, a collection may sometimes be unavailable to researchers until processing is completed. Some donors of personal papers require restrictions. This is something we can discuss with you.

      Monetary Appraisals for Tax Deductions
      You may be able to take a tax deduction for the donation of personal papers, books, or artifacts to the Moravian Archives. Staff members of the Moravian Archives cannot provide monetary appraisals of your gifts. We encourage you to contact a professional appraiser and to discuss possible tax implications with your accountant and attorney.