Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
Saturday, April 24, 2021
SESSION 1: PANEL
“Obedient subjects” “mingling in worldly affairs”? Social and Political Entanglements of Moravian Communities in the Transatlantic World
In this panel we will pursue the question of how local Moravian communities cope and participate in larger social and political dynamics. Communities developed their own rules and strategies to cope with local politics. Different levels of hierarchy coexisted and depended on each other.
Moravian authorities reflected on local decision making and tried to implement an ideal of a centralized leadership for a Moravian worldwide community. Nevertheless, local dynamics constantly forced Moravian Diaspora and mission communities to adapt their routines and decision making. We are interested in how local Moravian communities and the transatlantic church hierarchy affect each other.
Without official public support of the church, Moravian missionaries for example adapted an understanding of how to effectively build and use local networks of ship captains. They reflected on the behavior of smugglers and privateers and came up with new ideas to transport letters as well as goods relatively savely in a war-torn colonial space. These sea wars and conflicts in particular forced the missionaries to have a detailed understanding of their colonial setting. For example, a missionary circumvented his capture by an English privateer using corruption and his networks.
The need to constantly find solutions for local colonial problems however, also led to deviant behavior of some Moravian actors. Another missionary reflected on his experiences from the colonies and developed visions on a perfect Moravian community. When he criticized and delegitimized the hierarchy of the Moravian church as a whole. He overstepped a crucial boundary.
“Necessary Presents”: Moravian Missionaries, British Privateers and Local Colonial Rulers in late 18th -Century South America
Jessica Cronshagen (Panel Organizer), Oldenburg University
In 1798, the Moravian Missionary Johann Peter Kluge and his crew sailed the Surinamese coast when he was captured by a British Privateer. He was surprised: Usually, all parties of the Coalition Wars accepted the neutrality of the Moravian Church, notwithstanding the origin of the individual member. Nevertheless, the British privateers captured the ship and prepared for sailing to Demerara, where the group of Moravians like every captured crew would been brought before the British High Court of Admiralty.
The members of the crew associated all different fears with privateering. The European missionary remembers missionaries trapped on British ports for years. The sailors, indigenous people from the Moravian mission Hoop in Suriname, were horrified, as they heard rumors about indigenous enslavement in connection with British privateering.
However, the Moravian Church in Suriname was well prepared dealing with international affairs like privateering. In the following days and weeks, Johann Peter Kluge and the Surinamese Moravian Church successfully prevented a trial in Demerara. They used their established political and economic network in Suriname, Berbice and Demerara, corrupted with “necessary presents” privateers and politicians, and used indigenous networks for communication. Eventually, Johann Peter Kluge and the crew became free.
The aim of the paper is to show how cases like the captured Moravians gave insights in the history of the Moravian missions as well as in the late 18th Century colonial system. I want to analyse how the Moravians dealt with the creation of nationalities and ethnicities, with colonial corruption and international wars.
Avoiding Contraband and Privateers? Moravian networks of trust in the Caribbean colonial setting of the 18th century
Frank Marquardt, Oldenburg University
“I think we’ve gotten all the letters that you’ve sent us so far. The angels have without doubt received orders to watch over our correspondence.”
August Gottlieb von Spangenberg commented 1758 in a letter to his missionary brothers at St. Thomas. He emphasizes this because at that time it was not self-evident that letters and cargo could be shipped safely from the Caribbean to North America. In addition to the natural risks that sailing still posed in the late 18th century, influential maritime powers increasingly equipped captains with privateering licenses to seize ships from supposedly hostile nations and confiscate their cargo. The danger was great that ships from Danish colonial territory were intercepted on their way to New York. Furthermore, exporting Sugar and Rum to British colonies was forbidden by the Danish crown, whereby smuggling flourished. By emphasizing divine protection, Spangenberg’s account fails to recognize the enormous understanding of colonial dynamics that the local missionaries developed to circumvent these dangers.
In this paper I will explore the question how the Moravian Missionaries built up friendships to ship captains and reflected on dynamics of sea trade and smuggle to not only ensure a relatively save communication with Bethlehem authorities but also managed to organize financial transactions. Nevertheless, the communication always remained susceptible to crisis and the missionaries needed to constantly rethink their connections. Although the church tried to lead the mission endeavors from overseas, Moravian authorities relied on the expertise of the local West Indian community. In addition, this analysis allows new perspectives on the missionaries’ tendencies to distance themselves further from Bethlehem in the 1760s and to establish a stronger connection to Herrnhut
“Agitator” and “Trouble Maker”: The Expulsion of Gottlob Fischer from the Moravian Church
Jonas Schwiertz, Oldenburg University
At the beginning of 1801, the former missionary Gottlob Fischer was expelled from the Moravian Church as an “agitator” (Aufwiegler) and “trouble maker” (Rottenmacher). From 1789 to 1798 Fischer had been the head of a mission in Suriname, which he had to leave due to political entanglements. Afterwards he stayed in Bethlehem until the end of 1800.
Since no new employment could be agreed with him, he was transferred to Herrnhut. Frustrated from his experiences in Suriname and Pennsylvania he demanded fundamental reforms. Spreading internal information on the bad condition of these two communities, he quickly gained followers in Herrnhut. Fischer resisted the demands of the Unity Elders´ Conference to stop the spreading of his criticism. Instead, Fischer declared the UEC deposed and accuses them for abuse of power. Finally, the authorities felt obliged to give Fischer legal notice to leave his residence. As he refused to follow this order, he was forcefully removed from Herrnhut. Even after his expulsion, the UEC tried to repress Fischer’s legal possibilities and his propagandistic influence and portrayed him as a selfish enemy of the Moravians.
In this paper I will show, how analyzing the troubles around a deviant person like Fischer offers tremendous insights in Moravian hierarchy dynamics. Fischer’s experiences in Suriname and Pennsylvania played a decisive role in his decision-making – he developed his reform ideas and his doubts about the authorities.
SESSION 2: PRESENTATIONS
Odes to the Schreiber Collegium: a Textual Communion
Grant McAllister, Wake Forest University
Communication was a crucial facet of Moravian communities. It was the means by which a unity of structure (culturally and theological) could be maintained despite the group’s dispersion throughout the world. Like many aspects within Moravian culture—including festivals, music, clothing, and social organization into choirs—communication was more than simply putting language to paper. Writing itself held symbolic importance for the community. Copied and publicly read texts provided not only a sense of shared experience for members spread out across the globe, but they created a means to congregate spiritually. This act of writing, copying, and reading the word participated within the larger symbolic practice of Zinzendorf’s concept of Wundenmalerei.
Perhaps the most important texts that conveyed this symbolic function were the Gemeinnachrichten. Reserved for Gemeintagen and other important congregational events like a Liebesmahl, Gemeinnachrichten were supposed to be read in a group setting in order to encourage and strengthen the entire community in its faith and devotion to a life in Christ. The committee responsible for the production of such texts was the Schreiber Collegium, a group of men and women charged specifically to copying and sending out the church’s writing. The task that fell to them was a daunting task, one not to be taken lightly. Zinzendorf himself required the copyist to write with intent and not simply mechanically. He even encouraged them to make a liturgy of their activity.
In my paper I will analyze three poems dedicated to the Schreiber Collegium. I argue that the copyists indeed heeded Zinzendorf’s admonition and even took his suggestion further. For in these odes each author presents the act of writing, copying and subsequent reading of Gemeinnachrichten as a sacrament, a type of spiritual communion. Within the poems, the authors describe ink as a cipher for Christ’s blood that is scored into paper and distributed to congregations for spiritual consumption. Not unlike the bread and wine of communion, the copyist text contains within itself the promise of Christ. In conclusion, the authors describe how passing events imprint themselves upon the minds and hearts of the scribes and how they in turn inscribe these events, as evidence of Christ’s grace, into paper and documents that are meant to be shared and read by future congregations to come. In this sense, the diaries and Gemeinnachrichten are living, eternal documents that are intended to be useful and pleasing, not only to God, but also to the reader and audience–in this case a type of communicant, consuming the ink of the congregation.
Moravian Footsteps: Single Sister, Missing Persons and Bastardy Bonds
Stephanie McCormick-Goodhart, Independent Scholar
Through the lens of one family (Stohr, Starr, Stair), a saga of 200 years with particular look at the experiences of women. Tracing the path from Herrnhaag, Germany to the Second Sea Congregation 1743, and from Lutheran Alsace-Lorraine 1737 to the frontiers of Pennsylvania and North Carolina. To form his utopian experiment, Zinzendorf personally printed and disseminated pamphlets to teach and encourage a new way forward. This printer Johann Cristoph Stohr was a radical enabler of information – printing was then known as the Black Art – who was protected by Count Zinzendorf on his lands. In the new world, from travel journals and lebenslauf memoirs, a deeply personal understanding of the people emerges from extraordinary triplicate records in three Moravian Archives – Bethlehem PA, Winston Salem NC, and Herrnhut, Germany. Their struggles and faith, illnesses and tenacity, the toll of war and deprivation, youth questioning and returning to the Moravian community, friendships formed within a complex multicultural and multilingual new world, as they joined the Moravians, walking 500 miles on the Wachovia Trail to build new communities in the wilderness. Uniquely 18c Moravian values expecting tolerance also offer security, support and protection in the church choir system, including day-care nurseries, boarding schools, education for girls, the choice for women whether to marry or remain single so as not to die in childbirth, security for widows, single sisters and brothers to tend the elderly and sick, enabling missionaries to teach on the frontier. Challenges imperiled these core values later in 19c NC, by intermarriage with non-Moravians in Bethabara, and the opening up of agriculture and commerce with “itinerant planters” and strangers. The advent of Bastardy Bonds in NC, an early Me-Too movement, where, legally, an unmarried pregnant woman must declare the father of the baby before it is born, so that he may acknowledge paternity and pay child support. If not found, the community must cover the bond. The MABS archival pilgrimage to Zinzendorf’s roots in Herrnhut Germany led by Paul Peucker 2018 enriches the view: images illustrate settings, rare vellum deed purchasing the Wachovia tract NC signed by Lord Granville, paintings of missionaries, and Zinzendorf’s necklace of mussel shell beads peace treaty with Native Americans in early PA.
SESSION 3: LECTURE, FILM AND RECORDINGS
Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives
Sarah Eyerly, Florida State University
Rachel Wheeler, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
This presentation is based on our recent publication, “Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives.” We will discuss the creation of the digital presentation of the project which includes recordings, videos, and technical musical and linguistic analyses. The article focused on one hymn verse, but we have prepared new editions of eight hymns in collaboration with members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, including professional Mohican musician Bill Miller and composer Brent Michael Davids, as well as linguist Chris Harvey, and students at Florida State University. Our presentation will introduce a new hymnal based on these editions and a set of recordings of the Mohican hymns designed for use by church congregations, scholars, descendant communities, or the general public. In conclusion, we will discuss how these musical renderings of the hymn verses have come to represent the multiple ways that our contemporary collaborations have shifted our interpretations and understandings of historic Native-language hymns, including the relevance they may have for contemporary communities including descendant Mohicans and Moravian congregations.
SESSION 4: PRESENTATIONS
My Dear Miss Fries: The Correspondence of Archivist Adelaide Fries, 1911-1949
Nicole Crabbe, Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem
The correspondence of Adelaide Lisetta Fries, first full time Archivist of the Southern Province, is the focus of my research. Appointed in 1911, she brought the archives out of a dusty room and presented it to the world through papers, publications, and presentations. Adelaide created the first catalogued inventory of the archives, translated and published thousands of records, performed hours of research including extensive family research, and moved the Archives into a permanent home. In addition to her work for the Archives, Adelaide served on or was president of many church, local, state, and national literary and historical societies. For decades she coordinated the shipment of Christmas gifts and supplies to the missions in South Africa. With limited technology Adelaide relied heavily on letter writing to assist in research and to perform the duties of her many positions. Our Archives houses an extensive collection of correspondence to and from Adelaide Fries, spanning the years of her life. For this paper I have focused on her tenure as Archivist, 1911 through her death in 1949. The letters I chose offer unique insights into who she was and highlights the many facets of her work. The paper and accompanying slideshow will, I hope, be both entertaining and informative.
Early Nineteenth Century Voices of Cherokee Converts, Second Principal Chief Charles Renatus Hicks and Margaret Scott Vann Crutchfield: Sharing Their Concerns with Moravian Missionaries about the Cherokee Land Base
Rowena McClinton, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Principal Moravian missionaries to Springplace Mission, John and Anna Rosina Gambold, ministered to the Cherokees from 1805 to 1821. The locality of Springplace, a site in present-day northern Georgia, attracted numerous visitors, Cherokees and non Cherokees. Because of Moravian hospitality, humility, simplicity, and tolerance, Cherokees trusted the Moravians and let them live among them the first three decades of the nineteenth century before the 1838-39 forced removal trans-Mississippi West. Cherokee felt comfortable to share their deepest concerns, particularly the on-going dispossession of their ancestral land base. During this time and beyond, encroaching settlers and an aggressive United States government wished to remove Indians to Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. Among the chief Cherokee spokespersons were Moravian converts, Second Principal Chief Charles Renatus Hicks, and his niece, Margaret Scott Vann Crutchfield. Hicks shared with the Gambolds his encounters with U.S. Treaty Commissioners, and Margaret, familiarly known as Peggy, was a Cherokee “Beloved Woman,” who imparted to the Gambolds what she voiced in Cherokee Council meetings: her dismay with intruders on Cherokee land and resources. What prompted such deeply felt conversations? Quite unexpectedly, Moravians and Cherokees viewed land similarly. In the not too distant past, Moravians had embraced communalism, but still practiced non acquisitiveness. Cherokees held land in common and viewed land as having invisible, spiritual forces. Now, in the early nineteenth century, disruptive encounters threatened to render asunder Cherokee domains. This paper unfolds Moravian-Cherokee discussions about the precariousness of the Cherokee land base and their ominous relationships with land-hungry whites and U.S. policy makers.
SESSION 5: PRESENTATIONS
Whatever Happened to Julius Leinbach’s Cornet?
Stewart Carter, Wake Forest University
Julius Leinbach (1834–1930) was a member of the famous 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, comprised entirely of musicians from Salem, all of whom apparently were Moravians. Under the leadership of Colonel Zebulon Vance, the band followed the regiment throughout the war, all the way to Gettysburgh. The diary that Leinbach kept during this conflict is an invaluable source for the band’s history.
In the well-known photograph of the band, taken when they were on leave in Salem in 1862, Leinbach is shown playing an E-flat bass saxhorn, but later he switched to a B-flat cornet. On 5 April 1865 he and his fellow bandsmen were captured by Union soldiers. His diary entry for that day reads, in part, “Our instruments were taken from us and that seemed to be the bitterest experience of all, as I had learned to love my B-flat cornet more than all the rest of my few possessions.” Two of the band’s instruments survived the war: Sam Mickey’s E-flat cornet, which he had somehow concealed from Union soldiers, and the E-flat bass saxhorn that Leinbach had left in Salem in 1862. Until recently, however, Leinbach’s cornet was thought to have disappeared.
In the summer of 2016 a collector from Asheville, North Carolina appeared in the Archie K. Davis Center in Winston-Salem. In his possession was a B-flat cornet with no maker’s name, but with an inscription on its bell that reads, “Taken From A Rebel Band[sman] / Of The 26th North Carolina / Regimental Band / April 5th 1865.” In an effort to assess the likelihood that this instrument once belonged to Julius Leinbach, my paper examines the instrument’s physical characteristics and its possible provenance.
A Moravian Piano Gains a Voice and Speaks About Its Mid-18th Century Origins
John Watson, Independent Scholar
Following a two-week examination and subsequent research into the remarkable eighteenth-century upright piano at Whitefield house in Nazareth, colleagues Tom and Michele Winter and I have been making a functioning replica for the Moravian Historical Society. Such a project of course produces pages of measured drawings and construction notes, but just as interestingly it also provides new insights into the original maker and his world.
As possibly the oldest piano made in North America, the instrument has long attracted great interest and some pioneering scholarship, especially by Laurence Libin, who helped facilitate our project. Yet there remain important questions about the instrument’s origins and curiosity about its sound, its musical qualities, and the role it might have played in its early Pennsylvania Moravian community.
History books credit the Italian harpsichord maker Cristofori with the invention of the piano at the turn of the eighteenth century. Recent scholarship by several historians identify the pantalon as a second contemporaneous and previously neglected starting point that comingled with the first in the development of pianos through the eighteenth century. The Whitefield upright piano is important for representing that less familiar ancestral line in piano history.
Pianos were still extremely rare in Europe in the mid-eighteenth century, yet a constellation of circumstances make it very plausible that this small Moravian community in rural Pennsylvania could have constructed one so early. In fact, given the likely Saxon origins of the maker, much about the design of this instrument would have been predictable had the original instrument survived only in documentary evidence. Our project sheds much new light on the instrument and its maker: What experience did this artisan bring to its construction? What technical and musical influences prompted the instrument’s unfamiliar mechanical and sonic design? Who was the maker? What does the piano sound like?
Brother Bowles and the Builders in the Basement
Riddick Weber, Moravian Theological Seminary
When people think of Moravian organ builders, and epochs of Moravian organ building, David Tannenberg rightly comes to mind first, and their thoughts stop at 1804 upon his death. Scholars know that Tanneberg’s son-in-law, Johann Philip Bachmann, continued to build organs later into the 19th century. However, even most scholars may be unaware of a team of volunteer organ builders led by Brothers A.R. Bowles and V.A. Thrift who built two organs in the fellowship hall of Fries Memorial Moravian Church in the 1970s and early 1980s
Brother Bowles was born a Baptist in South Carolina and retired as a meter reader for Duke Power Company. He did not graduate high school, had no formal education as a craftsman, and never studied music. Yet, as he become more and more involved in the Moravian Church, his participation grew to include in mission projects for Moravian works in Antigua, and mission trips to the island. He enlisted the help of other volunteers who put in tens of thousands of hours to bring these projects to completion. He coordinated the building of pews for Cedar Hall Moravian Church and an organ for Spring Gardens Moravian Church, and he later guided the building of the organ for Fries Memorial.
Through personal interviews and recollections of the current organist at Fries Memorial, family members and pastors of Brothers Bowles and Thrift, newspaper and periodical coverage, and photographic resources, this paper will trace the life of Brother Bowles, his involvement with the Moravian Church and his contributions to Moravian Music and Moravian Material Culture.
SESSION 6: PRESENTATIONS
Sexual Counseling and Pastoral Care: Peter Swertner’s essay about the nocturnal seminal flow (1779). The discussion of sexuality among the young brethren in the 2nd half of the 18th century.
Christoph Beck, Independent Scholar
Zinzendorf’s letter from February 1749 indeed led to an end of the so-called time of sifting but it did not terminate the discussion of sexuality among the brethren. It had been just the theological and liturgical interpretation of sexual intercourse which resulted in a removal of taboos regarding that subject. The long-lasting effect of this view can obviously be proved by the instructions for the Married Choir Helpers in 1785. Traditions were maintained and continued for some decades which had been created on the Herrnhaag before. Against this background an essay is remarkable which was written by Peter Swertner (1743-1818), who served as a physician in the Barby community and as a lecturer at the seminary there. This essay must be considered as an attempt to verbalise a problem of communication and was never ment to be published. But it reflects clearly the way how to counsel the young brethren, staggered by their experience of nocturnal seminal flow. Swertner’s approach is christological: as God had become human in the Saviour, all parts of the body and their natural functions are hallowed. This view is quite opposite to the mere battle against masturbation of that time, mainly influenced by Samuel Auguste Tissot (1728-1797). In contrast to the latter, Swertner focusses on anatomy and sexual counseling, never mentions masturbation and tries to emphasize counseling as a matter of spiritual guidance. This perceptance can be looked upon as exceptional compared with the common handling of that subject in the 2nd half of the 18th century.
Self-Sacrificing Ministry or Fundraiser? Moravian Ministry to South Africa’s Leprosy Institution in the 19th Century
Pieter Boon, University of the Free State, South Africa
Both in past and present societies can become caught in the grip of epidemics. The fear of infectious diseases is something of all times. This paper investigates why the Moravian mission in South Africa acceded to the request of the colonial governor in 1822 to become managers of the only leprosy institution of the country. From 1823 until 1844 the Moravians supervised the institution Hemel en Aarde. In 1845 this leper colony was relocated by the government – striving for more isolation – to Robben Island, an island in Table Bay away from the mainland. From 1845 until 1868 this institution was also supervised by the Moravians. Robben Island became known as the home of lepers and prisoners.
This paper tries to find answers to questions like:
- Why did the governor approach the Moravians with this request?
- What were the Moravians’ motives in maintaining a comprehensive work among the lepers?
- Was this really a self-sacrificing ministry?
- Did fear of infection play any role?
- How did they run this ‘mission station’ among the most despised of society?
- What were the ethical and social consequences of the government’s wish for stricter isolation?
- Why did the lepers refuse to be relocated to Robben Island, unless a Moravian missionary accompany them?
To date little systematic research has been done into the Moravians’ involvement in the care for those infected or affected by leprosy. This research goes back to the primary sources to find answers to the above questions. Whereas secondary booklets from the 19th century especially emphasize the sacrifices brought in this ministry, the primary sources convey a more nuanced picture. This paper endeavors to unearth a remarkable and perhaps quite relevant aspect of Moravian mission in 19th century South African society.
Fanaticism and Funding: Obeah Acts in Jamaican Moravian Missionary Communities, 1834-1850
Stephen McGeary, Florida Atlantic University
The apprenticeship period in Jamaica offered a unique opportunity for Moravian evangelical efforts. As planters began to offer low wages or small plots of undesirable land in exchange for plantation labor, they turned to religious education in order to maintain social control and preserve their wealth. Moravian missionaries capitalized on the demand for their labor, opening numerous congregations, schools, and training facilities across the island. As Moravian missionary outreach expanded across Jamaica, Moravians sought new ways to fund their evangelical efforts. Some missionaries documented accounts of their interactions in an attempt to secure funds from individual donors. Missionary societies published diaries and letters illustrating Moravian missionary efforts in hopes of attaining subscriptions and donations from a broader Christian public. An overview of these documents exhibits a stark increase in mentions of Obeah, a multi-faceted Afro-Caribbean spiritual practice “that could be used,” as Randy Browne suggests, “to heal or to harm” (134). Often depicted as barbaric, malevolent, or an aversion to their theology, instances of Obeah in Jamaican Moravian missionary documents emphasize the financial incentives of Christian conversion. Aside from these calculated descriptions of Obeah acts, Obeah men and women were forced to renounce their abilities and beliefs in front of entire congregations, becoming the epitome of Moravian missionary potential. Through an analysis of Moravian missionary documents coming out of Jamaica during the apprenticeship period, I argue that Moravian missionaries strategically portrayed Obeah as the antithesis to Moravian missionary work and employed this rhetoric to procure the funds needed for the expansion of the mission.
SESSION 7: PRESENTATIONS
What Lutherans (and Other Denominations) Can Learn from the Moravian Lovefeast
Alice Caldwell, University of Bridgeport
In my work as a Lutheran church musician in southern New England, I have come to see the Protestant tradition of hymn singing as on the brink of disappearing. Between the decline of church congregations and the rise of other musical genres in those that remain, the tradition of singing hymns in worship is greatly in need of affirmation where it still exists. The Moravian lovefeast offers a model for singing hymns outside of a Sunday morning worship service, where there can be greater flexibility in the choice of hymns and how they are presented. This includes opportunities for performing hymn-based instrumental compositions to introduce and accompany hymns, or simply for listening during the lovefeast. With a wealth of new hymns as well as hymn-based chamber music and accompaniments available, Lutheran and other singing churches can adapt the lovefeast as a forum for learning and exploring the treasures of their hymnal, old and new. In addition, compositions for keyboard and instruments can be a form of outreach beyond the congregation, offering opportunities for young players to join a church’s music program.
In my presentation I will recount some past experiences of presenting lovefeasts in my own congregation. I will highlight some of the many forms of hymn-based composition currently available from Lutheran sources. Finally, I will accompany a lovefeast program of hymns and instrumental music involving the listening audience and invited collaborators.
The Salem Band at 250
Donna Rothrock, Salem College
In his 1968 dissertation, The Moravian Wind Ensemble: Distinctive Chapter in American History, Harry Hall made the statement that the Salem Band (Winston-Salem, NC) may be considered the oldest continuous mixed wind ensemble in the United States. Needless to say, this statement has stirred up a lot of speculation and discussion since then. Based on Hall’s statement, the current Salem Band espouses its beginning as 1771, the year of Salem’s formal organization. The 16 February 1772 minutes of the Vorsteher Collegium indicate otherwise, however, reporting that the instruments from Bethabara and Bethania would be divided with Salem. This did occur and resulted in Salem obtaining instruments—a consort of SATB trombones–they could call their own. Prior to that division, instrumentalists from the other congregations did travel to and assist in celebrating special events and milestones during Salem’s construction.
The proposed paper will examine the development of the band and how it has changed in its mission through the years. A brief overview of its growth from the earliest days to the present will be given, including its varied and changing responsibilities that eventually led to the formation of three distinct band units. The remainder of the paper will concentrate on the community, or civic, branch of the band, focusing on the role of the band in the community, its membership and growth, repertoire, and changing leadership and mission, emphasizing the changes that have taken place since 1953 when B.J. Pfohl (1866-1960) published his history of the band, titled The Salem Band.
It is hoped an understanding of the first 250 years of the band will help guide the band as it begins its second 250 years of service in 2021…or is it 2022?
SESSION 8: PRESENTATIONS
Digging out the Well: Herrnhut in the Pentecostal Imagination
Jared Burkholder, Grace College
In the last few decades, American Pentecostals have turned their attention to Herrnhut with new interest. At the root of this interest is a fascination with the origins of the Moravian movement and those features of early Herrnhut that seem consistent with Pentecostal spirituality: revival, “24-7 prayer,” experiences of the Holy Spirit, and spontaneous missionary activity. This fascination with the Moravians among American Pentecostals has resulted in pilgrimages to Herrnhut and even a new missionary station established by the American organization, Youth with a Mission. The response by the Moravian church in Herrnhut has been rather cool, and in fact, this is not the first time a Pentecostal presence has been seen in Herrnhut. In the 1960s, Pentecostal influence resulted in a schism among the Herrnhut Moravians.
This paper will explore the history of Pentecostal activity and interest in Herrnhut with focus on the ways American Pentecostals have envisioned the spiritual significance of Herrnhut, its history, and its status as “sacred space.” It will argue that Pentecostal interest in Herrnhut stems not only from a belief in Herrnhut’s supernatural origins, but also from a belief in its spiritual “declension” through the “secularization” of post-war Europe. Promoting a nostalgic narrative in which Herrnhut has lost its divine favor, Pentecostals believe they have come to reestablish the wellspring of Pentecost power.
Bonhoeffer a Bohemian Brethren? Moravian Influence in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Chaz Snider, Calvary Moravian Church
The life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has had a major influence on the theological development of the twentieth century. Many know of his famous works Discipleship, Ethics, and Letters and Papers from Prison. He has been studied by many across the globe. Equal to his written works, Bonhoeffer’s life also has been an example to many on how faith takes action. Whether it is early resistance to Nazism, connection to the plot to assassinate Hitler, or his eventual imprisonment and execution, Bonhoeffer’s life has also served as major influence of Christian thinking since his death. This paper hopes to examine a somewhat unexplored area within Bonhoeffer’s life and works, which is the connection he had to Moravian Brethren and work of their influential leader Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. There are areas within Bonhoeffer’s own works where he reference the Moravian Brethren and Zinzendorf. There are even practices of the Moravian Brethren Bonhoeffer incorporates into his life. This paper also hopes to explore commonality between their respective theologies. Every similarity cannot be explored here but we can begin to ask the question: Do we see any common treads between Bonhoeffer, Moravian Brethren and Count Zinzendorf?
The Readings for Holy Week: History, Practice, and Spiritual Relevance
Jill Vogt, Moravian Church, Herrnhut
For over two hundred and fifty years Moravians have been gathering during Holy Week for a literary walk with Jesus using a Gospel Harmony describing the days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection known originally as “The Story of the Last Days of the Son of Man on Earth, compiled from the Four Gospels”. Yet despite the fact that these readings have been translated into many languages and used faithfully in many provinces throughout the world wide unity, little scholarly attention has been paid to its origins and its unique character as a form of worshipful commemoration. In this paper I intend to examine the history, ongoing practice and spiritual relevance of this tradition. I am particularly interested in Zinzendorf’s interest in Gospel Harmony as it relates to his scriptural hermeneutics, the development of the “Readings for Holy Week” from 1757 until today, and their practical use as an understandable tool for missionary work and spiritual growth, including its translation in different languages and cultures. In my view, the “Readings”, as carried out in the liturgical observance of a Moravian congregation, represent a spiritual discipline that accomplishes a reenactment of the story of Christ, calling forth the believers’ emotional response. In this way, this practice reflects Zinzendorf’s insight into the use of narrative as an effective and understandable method for reaching the hearts and minds of believers.
SESSION 9: PRESENTATIONS
Stammbäume: Allegorical Representations of Moravian Congregations as an Archival Object and Source
Claudia Mai, Unity Archives, Herrnhut
In looking at the upcoming anniversary “300 years of Herrnhut – 1722-2022”, the Unity Archives in Herrnhut is planning a funded restoration of a large-format Stammtafel. This project is taken as an opportunity to take a closer look at a whole number of Stammtafeln that are in the inventory of the Unity Archives as pictorial objects and as sources.
The Stammtafeln in the Unity Archives date from 1749 to 1797 respectively the 19th century. They exist in different formats and techniques. Simple small-format pencil or ink drawings and sketches stand against elaborately colored and detailed objects. Two large-format framed Stammtafeln in watercolor and ink are particularly impressive, and their condition is critical. Individual sheets are signed by the artist or refer to an inventor or have a dedication. The structure is always similar: a grapevine with branches and vines leaves as well as the root and tree trunk as the crucified Christ. On the vine leaves are named Moravian congregations, diaspora places and mission stations as well as people and events, which were obviously of special importance in the history of the Moravian Church. However, also differences can be identified.
The following questions will be explored in the lecture: Which kind of Stammtafeln are available and how can they be systematized? Can the authorship be proven in written sources? What can be said about their history and use? What content is conveyed and how can the Stammtafeln be interpreted? It is known that, in addition to the Unity Archives, there are Stammtafeln in other Moravian archives, too. If possible, these are to be included in the lecture.
The Beginning of the Moravian Church in Western Tanzania
Wilson Nkumba, Teofilo Kisanji University
I intend to write this title in order to provide historical details on how the Moravian church in western Tanzania (MCWT) began. Many people know much about MCWT, but little about her beginning. Thus, one of the objectives of this paper will be to explain how this province started.
Officially it is recognized that the beginning of the MCWT is 1897. But before MCWT began, there was a mission work which was performed by the London Missionary Society (L.M.S). This work was performed for 17 years without any success.
Due to this, L.M.S concluded to close down her mission station. After the decision, the emerged question was whom their going to hand over their properties (buildings, schools and clinics). The resolution was to write a letter to Herrnhut to ask the Moravians to come and take over.
1897 Rudolf Stern was sent from Herrnhut to Tanzania to substitute L.M.S. he is the first Moravian missionary and the answer to the L.M.S’s request.
Generally, when we think about the beginning of MCWT, the picture which is depicted it is like two sides of a coin. The first side is similar to the adopted child, in a sense that, the idea of establishing a mission was not originated by the Moravians, it was adopted.
Secondly, MCWT is a product of ecumenical joint efforts of two missionary societies’ from different historical backgrounds, worked together similarly to the relay team with a baton. Their goal was to fulfill the great commission.
Basically the second goal of this paper will be to describe the challenges that hindered the L.M.S’s success. The third goal will be to explain how did the Moravians succeeded to establish the church, what were so special with their approach in evangelizing?
Digitisation of the Lantern Slides of Moravian Missions
Lorraine Parsons, Moravian Archives, London
The Moravian Church archive of the British Province in London has a collection of over 1,000 glass lantern slides, predominantly produced from images taken by Moravian missionaries around the world in the early twentieth century. Many are photographs from the mission field with montages illustrative of the work and landscapes of Moravian missions in India, Labrador, Australia, Tanzania, Jamaica, Moskito Coast, the Holy Land and British Guiana. Other slides include images of biblical tales, theological education, Moravian history and a few are purchased commercial slides. The unique appeal of this collection is that the slides were produced specifically for a Moravian audience. Their use in the mission field was difficult, and at great expense, fragile glass slides were transported with cumbersome heavy projection equipment. However, produced before the days of television, their use at home as mission propaganda was widely appreciated: they raised awareness of missionary activity, encouraged financial support, proved a useful supplement at Sunday schools, and were an exciting addition to church meetings. They were usually presented by the missionaries when they returned to Britain on furlough not only for the education and enlightenment of the audience but also to raise funds for their mission work. Content and quality vary which reflects the expertise and interests of the missionaries who captured many of the images.
Work has been undertaken on the identification, cataloguing and digitisation of these slides so this paper will illustrate this process, and look at the content of the glass slide collections held in the archives, how they were used and the value of them as a source of historical information.
SESSION 10: PANEL
Medical Knowledge, the Church, and a Chapel: Moravians and Global Connections, 1750-1970
This panel is an effort to trace Moravian global connections over 200 years from the era of colonialism to the time that marked the beginning of post-colonial time. It is also an attempt to rethink — through a series of case studies in Moravian history — how “global” was formed and shaped at critical junctures of its history. In short, how could we understand global beyond nation states? Was global something more than globalization, the rise of global corporations and institutions? The Moravians had from the beginning of their renewed church an aspiration to create connections and networks through their missionary work and settlements. An important component of these connections was, as Heikki Lempa, suggests, their topographic and botanical work in the late eighteenth century. By focusing on Christian Oldendorp’s work in the Caribbean he traces the global transfer of plants and knowledge of plants and remedies that the Moravians were involved with. Felicity Jensz’s paper will trace the global connections of the Moravian Church at another critical turning point, in the aftermath of WWI. It will examine how the global connections which the Moravians had forged, including those within the church, were strained under the weight of harded international political boundaries. Jenna Gibbs’ paper probes the long history of the Moravian Chapel in District Six in Cape Town, its multi-racial legacy and defiance to apartheid up until its forced closure in 1966 when the government declared District Six — historically an ethnically mixed area — to be “whites only.”
Moravian Medical Knowledge in a Global Context: The Case of Christian Oldendorp, 1721-1787
Heikki Lempa (Panel Organizer), Moravian College
Moravian Church in the Aftermath of WWI: Global Connections
Felicity Jensz, University of Münster
Multi-Racial Culture and the Challenge of Apartheid: The Moravian Chapel in District Six, Cape Town, 1800-1966
Jenna Gibbs, Florida International University
SESSION 11: PRESENTATIONS
The Moravian Music Heritage in South Africa
Devandré Boonzaaier, University of Fort Hare
In this paper the author firstly provides a historical narrative of the origin of the Moravian Church in South Africa. The author then proceeds to trace the origins of Moravian Musicking in South African Moravian communities and the South African Moravian music unions. The study uses the qualitative research method and in this paper, several articles and books were consulted and semi structured interviews were conducted to trace the contribution of the Moravian Church in South Africa. The author provides short biographies and the catalogue of the South African Moravian composers and their compositions. This paper aims to highlight how the author has documented the Moravian Music Heritage in his doctoral study. The Moravian Church music heritage was documented through the lens of the music of South African Coloured composers and South African Coloured congregations.
Christian Ignatius LaTrobe in Labrador
Tom Gordon, Memorial University of Newfoundland
On April 22nd 1825 Christian Ignatius Latrobe (1758-1836) penned his annual letter to the three isolated mission stations on the distant coast of Labrador. As Secretary of the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel and long-serving editor of the Periodical Accounts, Latrobe had been the pen and voice of the British Church to Moravian missions across the globe for 35 years. Recently Latrobe had received heartening reports about the adeptness among the Labrador Inuit in the performance of instrumental and choral sacred music. Latrobe, himself a prolific and respected composer, could not but rejoice at this development. His message in 1825 offered enthusiastic assurances: “. . . it is not to be feared that for those in Labrador this beautiful gift of God be abused, as it has been in Europe. . .Therefore, it is our wish, that music be encouraged among them.” Latrobe’s encouragement also took tangible forms. He saw to it that shipments of instruments – including Labrador’s first organ – were increased to the coast, as well as manuscripts to several dozen anthems which soon entered the repertoire of Inuit choirs.
Only a few years later, Labrador missionary Lewis Morhardt, wrote of the Nain musicians “Their predilection for extreme simplicity . . . is remarkable, and their example in this particular is not unworthy the attention of their more civilized Brethren in Europe.” Morhardt’s characterization of the Inuit performance practice resonated at a deeply personal level with Latrobe’s own views on the nature and role of sacred music – a philosophy he articulated in his Letters to My Children and in the prefaces to his numerous publications of sacred music. In this paper I examine not only Latrobe’s rich legacy to Labrador Inuit music, but equally the confirmation that the Inuit musicians offered to Latrobe’s faith in the power of simplicity in sacred music.
The Transmission of the Moravian Labrador Inuit Wind Tradition After 1959
Mark Turner, Memorial University
Sometime around Brother Benjamin Gottlieb Kohlmeister’s 1821 observation of baptised Inuit performing upon French Horns and violins in the Moravian churches of Labrador, the instruction of imported European instruments in this Mission Province became an Inuit-directed practice. It is well-documented that the process of transmission was sustained by a system of apprenticeship and that system itself was underwritten by a vibrant musical ecology that arose from the community-directed interpretation of Moravian musical repertoire. But the precise nature of that apprenticeship proved different for different ensembles. For wind ensembles, in particular, their positional remove from the church makes it difficult to understand how that system of apprenticeship historically operated. However, with the forced relocation of the community of Hebron in 1959 and the scattering of its well-established wind ensemble across the remaining Moravian communities of Labrador, the divergence of apprenticeship practices in both the written and living record becomes apparent. Here, Moravian communities had been shuttered and relocated before Hebron, but the lateness of its relocation and the strength of its musical culture meant the appearance of Hebron’s musicians would have significant effects upon these other musical communities. As part of our on-going work to document and revitalize the transmission of wind ensembles in Northern Labrador, our presentation will focus upon how the transmission of the Moravian Inuit wind tradition changed after 1959.
SESSION 12: PANEL
The Moravians and Eighteenth-Century Politics
Christina Petterson (Panel Organizer), Australian National University
Subjects, Serfs, and Slaves: Semantics and Practices of Dependence
Josef Köstlbauer, University of Bremen
Herrnhut and the emergent Moravian community grew in a society shaped and divided by intersecting forms of hierarchy, dependence, and servitude. This societal environment has often been contrasted with the egalitarian ideals that seemed to permeate Moravian communal and spiritual life as well as Moravian rhetoric. Documents like the “Herrschaftlichen Gebote und Verbote” of 1727 have been cited as evidence, because they freed the inhabitants of Herrnhut from servitude and serfdom. This paper proposes a micro-historical analysis of the continuing acceptance of serfdom by Zinzendorf and his contemporaries. A discussion of the related semantics of Leibeigenschaft, Untertänigkeit, and slavery reveals the multilayered complexity of discourses and practices involved. Equating slavery with serfdom was quite common in eighteenth-century German discourse. This holds true for Moravian sources as well. And yet, there were significant differences between slavery and the various tenurial relations generally designated as Leibeigenschaft in eighteenth century Central Europe– and since serfdom was common in regions like Upper Lusatia, Bohemia, or Moravia, it seems likely that these differences were well known to Moravians. This leads to the argument that the actual meaning of the term and its wider connotations heavily depended on context.
Zinzendorf on Church and State
Paul Peucker, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem
While much is known about Zinzendorf’s theology, much less is known about his political ideas. As local lord offering refuge to foreign refugees, as publicist of religious works, and as a leader of a conventicle in Dresden, Zinzendorf got himself into trouble with the government of Saxony on multiple occasions. At the same time, as councilor on the royal court he held a high office within the Saxon government. During the 1720s Zinzendorf wrote several texts on the role of the government and the relationship between church and state. This paper will examine Zinzendorf’s ideas on freedom of conscience, tolerance, and the role of the government in religious matters.
Bodies of Dissimilarity: Transporting Moravian Notions of Equality to the New World
Benjamin Pietrenka, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
As Moravians spread out into the Atlantic world beginning in the early-18th century, they brought with them notions of equality that often originated in their experiences with the feudal system and serfdom in Europe. Having grown up as a prominent member of the aristocracy in German Saxony, Zinzendorf’s notion of social equality certainly did not extend to all people. And yet, he famously believed that all souls possessed an equal capacity to receive God’s grace regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnic/national origin; a message he communicated to Moravian missionaries. This paper will examine which notions of equality and inequality migrated with the missionaries to the New World and how they changed as a result. Highlighting rhetoric about the body as a central organizing principle, my paper will challenge historical portrayals of Moravians as paragons of tolerance in an early modern world tarnished by prejudice, and argue that missionaries initiated a process of blurring the line between spiritual equality and social inequality almost immediately upon arrival at mission stations in British North America and the Danish and English Caribbeans. As such, this paper will also examine how the category of race operated within and in-between otherwise-positive and inclusive rhetoric as a deprecatory social organizer in Moravian mission communities, despite the honestly egalitarian objectives of missionaries, believers, and converts alike. Racialized conceptions of African culture and African bodies operated as a latent, underlying cultural mechanism that tempered the radical nature of Moravian egalitarianism and validated the purpose and authority of the missionaries. Thus, Moravian notions of equality, inequality, and race changed, not because of anything intrinsic to the character of their theology or beliefs necessarily, but as a result of transcultural interactions among Moravians, Africans, and other Europeans on the margins of the Atlantic world.
SESSION 13: PRESENTATIONS
Beethoven among the Moravians
David Blum, Moravian Music Foundation
As 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), his music held within collections of the Moravian Music Foundation have been given a closer look. The MMF holds as many as five original editions and additional chamber music arrangements of his orchestral works. An overview of Beethoven’s music in Winston-Salem and Bethlehem will be presented as well as a more specific look at Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz.
The Van Vleck Sisters: Dynamic Moravian Musical Women
Jewel Smith, University of Cincinnati
The “Van Vleck sisters” of the nineteenth century are possibly the most remarkable and highly regarded women in Moravian musical history. While Moravians placed unusual emphasis on education for women, most of the musical compositions and leadership skills among the Moravians were inherently masculine. The “Van Vleck sisters” defied this supposition making Van Vleck a legendary appellation in the Moravian community of Salem, North Carolina, and beyond through their work as musicians and teachers. Born into a renowned family of musicians and ministers, Louisa, Lisette, and Amelia Van Vleck displayed prodigious musical ability and continued this illustrious pedigree through music-making, music instruction, and composition.
All three sisters were members of the faculty at Salem Female Academy. Amelia achieved such acclaim for her musical abilities that she was invited to join the faculty at the Academy after graduating in 1851—a position she would hold for over sixty years teaching piano, guitar, and mandolin, as well as a sought-after accompanist. Lisette and her husband, Alexander C. Meinung, made their Salem home a prominent place for music, where many young people received music instruction. Additionally, Lisette and Amelia were composers. Although the Moravians in America offered men and women an equal education, there are few known compositions by Moravian women until at least the mid-nineteenth century. The Van Vleck sisters demonstrated compositional talent, writing for the voice, guitar, and in the smaller forms for piano, such as the polka, galop, waltz, and march. Some of their music was published, and arrangements of some compositions for brass instruments and drum were included in the band books of the Twenty-Sixth North Carolina Regimental Band. An examination of the careers of the Van Vleck sisters will reveal the importance of their work, and the progressive and influential roles they held as women in nineteenth-century America.
SESSION 14: PANEL
Brothers and Sisters: Moravian Identity and Community within Eighteenth-Century Protestantism
The concepts of “Brother” and “Sister” describe, according to Zedler’s eighteenth-century encyclopedia (4, 1534), not only biological siblings but also “everyone connected to us by faith” (so ein Glaube mit uns verbindet). Departing from this idea of religious interconnectedness, the proposed panel explores mechanisms of community building among Moravians in the eighteenth century. It illustrates to which extent concepts of brotherliness and sisterliness were tied to the formation of religious groups, focusing on aspects of religion, naming practices, economy, gender, and race. Adding to a growing interest in the links between lan-guage and the development of group identities (Patrick M. Erben, Hans-Jürgen Schrader a.o.), in the economic activities of religious communities (Thomas Dorfner, Katherine Carté Engel, Peter Vogt) as well as in Protestant missions (Jenna M. Gibbs a.o.), the three papers address questions of group cohesion on multiple levels.
Lennart Gard illuminates how different understandings of the terms “Brother” and “Sister” reflect diverging concepts of religious group formation among Protestants around 1700. Alexander Schunka’s paper links religious community building with the management of commons such as water, dealing in particular with the early years of Moravian Bethlehem. Finally, Michael Leemann discusses the confinements of Christian universalism in regard to en-slaved people in the mission field of the Danish West Indies. Understanding the issue of brotherliness and sisterliness as a new analytical lens, the panel thus seeks to locate the Moravians within broader developments in Protestantism on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Beloved Brother”, “Angelic Sister”: Religious Semantics of ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’ in Early Eighteenth-Century Protestantism
Lennart Gard, Freie Universität Berlin
Just like many other Protestants around 1700, the Moravians referred to their fellow believers as ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. Scholars agree on the fact that historical actors used these expressions to communicate ideas of religious equality. Yet some researchers have highlighted the different points of reference, ranging from Early Christianity to concepts of spiritual rebirth. The proposed paper explores this semantic field in more detail, arguing that different connotations of ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ may reflect diverging concepts of religious community-building. As a case study, the paper seeks to substantiate this thesis with a focus on the correspondence practices of the ‘Angelic Brethren’ and the relationship of this group to Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf.
The term ‘Angelic Brethren’ refers to the followers of the Leiden-based spiritualist Johann Wilhelm Überfeld (1659–1731). Überfeld’s correspondence network covered many Protestant territories in central Europe and included members of Zinzendorf’s conventicle in Dresden. In their letters, the Angelic Brethren developed a multifaceted code of salutation which differentiated between several forms of brotherhood and sisterhood and attributed the status of “Parens” to Überfeld.
After a brief overview of contemporary understandings of ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ among Protestants around 1700, the paper discusses the terminology of the Angelic Brethren more closely. In this context, varying salutations serve as an interpretative key to the group structure (esp. concerning hierarchies, gender norms, and relationships to other groups). Based on previously unstudied letters by Überfeld, the paper finally discusses whether the spiritual-ist and his peers considered Zinzendorf as a brother. The analysis sheds light on mechanisms of religious pluralization around 1700 and contributes to an improved understanding of the relationship between the early Moravians and their Protestant environment.
Brethren’s Commons: Resource Management and Community Building in the Early Years of Moravian Bethlehem
Alexander Schunka (Panel Organizer), Freie Universität Berlin
Since its foundation, issues of water management and water infrastructures figured prominently in Moravian Bethlehem. The decision to build the settlement at the confluence of Lehigh River and Monocacy Creek was linked to the ideal availability of water. Bethlehem’s architect Johann Heinrich (Henry) Antes was a mill builder by training; under his auspices, the first mill was constructed with support from nearby Germantown. From early on, Bethlehem’s economy depended on several mills that provided a certain economic independence while they attracted neighbors from within and outside the Moravian community. At the same time, the river water not only propelled the mills but figured as a frontier between Moravians and outsiders.
While there is considerable research on the history of the commons (following the work of economist Elinor Ostrom), the significance of the commons for the establishment of religious communities in premodern times has often been mentioned only in passing, if at all. This paper addresses water management and water usage in the early years of the Moravians in Pennsylvania. It analyzes the economic as well as socio-cultural dimensions of managing the commons. This includes aspects of sustainable future planning that contemporaries considered important for the survival of a community. The paper attempts to connect water management with the economic principles (e.g. the General Economy) of Moravian Bethlehem in its early decades as well as with gendered practices of water use among Moravian settlers. In this respect the history of water management can, on a more general level, provide important insights into formation processes of religious communities in the Atlantic World.
The Limits of Spiritual Kinship: Race and Religion in the Moravian Mission to the Danish West Indies, 1750–1770
Michael Leemann, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
If until today, a sense of kinship is conveyed in daily interactions among Moravians, this is more than mere rhetoric: The form of address as “brother,” and, respectively, as “sister” refers to central aspects of eighteenth-century Moravian piety. Among the religious communities of their time, the Brüdergemeine seems to have been particularly adherent to familial ideals. Inspired by Philadelphian ideas, the Moravian leader Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf envisioned a global brotherhood of all true believers. Zinzendorf argued that the members of the Moravian Church should be united by their shared faith in Christ, thus letting behind “worldly” bonds to, for example, family, nation, or a specific denomination. Communal experiences in the congregation – such as the life in choirs, the rituals performed all over the world, or the extensive communication activities – were supposed to strengthen the loyalty to the kingdom of God.
The Moravians’ first missionary endeavor to enslaved people in the Danish West Indies can serve as a litmus test of this propagated spiritual kinship. Most notably, scholars Jon F. Sensbach and Katharine Gerbner have drawn a line between temporal inequality and spiritual equality. As they have shown in their studies of the mission’s first decades, Moravians did not only refrain from challenging slavery in the Danish colony but participated in it. Nevertheless, they considered the black neophytes as spiritually equal. The paper turns to this Christian universalism after 1750, when the Moravians were established in the Caribbean plantation society. Considering religious practices such as baptism, teaching, or the use of the lot, it aims to demonstrate the limits of the integration of black Moravians into the Moravian fellowship of brothers and sisters, thus adding to our understanding of the complex interplay between global Christian missions and emerging concepts of race.
SESSION 15: PANEL
New Perspectives on Moravian Material Culture
This panel aims to explore pre-industrial Moravian material culture in American settlements. Together the several papers will discuss different trades, including gun making, instrument making, and architecture; consider technologies and trade practices, including material supply and craft cooperation; and analyze how material culture suggests new interpretations, including the persistence of Native American culture in Moravian missions. These papers will be speculative, more interested in asking questions than in offering definitive answers.
Three Spinets from David Tannenberg’s Workshop
Laurence Libin, Metropolitan Museum of Art (retired)
David Tannenberg (1728-1804), eighteenth-century America’s finest, most influential organ builder, was the central figure of a Pennsylvania German school of keyboard instrument making that has had far-reaching musical consequences. Tannenberg’s organ for Home Moravian Church in Salem, North Carolina, completed in 1800 and restored in 2003, continues to inspire new organs from Pittsford, New York to Herrnhut, Germany.
Tannenberg’s construction of stringed keyboard instruments is less well known, although his written instructions and technical drawing for a clavichord have often been cited. Identification in 2004 of a clavichord Tannenberg made in Bethlehem in 1761 (Moravian Historical Society), his earliest extant instrument and the only one he signed, proved revelatory because it departs in surprising ways from his graphic design and so illuminates previously unsuspected aspects of his youthful creativity.
Now, based on stylistic considerations and distinctive craftsmanship, I have identified three unsigned, hitherto undocumented spinets as late products of Tannenberg’s workshop. One, privately owned, was long displayed unrecognized at the Lebanon County Historical Society; another, which passed from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to the now defunct Philadelphia History Museum, is said, wrongly I believe, to have belonged to the famous ironmaster and glass manufacturer Henry William Stiegel (1729-85). A third example, known only from photographs, was lost in a fire at the Henry Ford Museum. Though conservative in appearance, these instruments display innovative elements including features borrowed from newfangled square pianos.
Tannenberg’s spinets incorporate exotic luxury materials (e.g., ivory, ebony, mahogany) and imported hardware (British hinges, German wire) as well as locally sourced timbers, skins, bristles, adhesives, cloths, and cords. His workshop also relied on outside craftsmen including blacksmiths and turners. Tannenberg’s products thus represent the complexity of contemporary Moravian material culture, out of which grew his pioneering contributions to American music-making.
Within and Without: Strangers in a Communal World
Christopher Malone, Winterthur
The paper seeks to discover the changing attitudes and beliefs held by the public about the Moravians as America changed from colony to nationhood. While scholarship has been done on other communal group’s relationships to visitors, namely the Shakers, the Moravians have been historically studied in terms of their religious convictions, their industries, their music, and their town planning. I aim to expand the canon on these groups by focusing on their relationship with visitors or as they called them, “strangers.” Through close examination of letters, business records, visitors’ logs, and a careful study of the of the Moravian material world, especially the architectural spaces visitors inhabited, my paper will craft a narrative rooted in the idea that Moravian communalism developed along with and because of outsider interactions. My research will question how strangers perceived their Moravian hosts and the various forms of material culture with which these strangers were surrounded during their stay at Moravian villages. Did the objects and ephemera that filled these “public” spaces favor religion and village rules, or was the visitor exempt from proselytization? The interplay between public and private, and between guest and stranger, are crucial components to understanding the Moravian’s relationship to the world around them. Indeed, I argue the outside world had a direct impact on the internal affairs of the village whether the church members or overseers liked it or not.
The Best Mode: Moravian Mission Material Culture
Mark Turdo, Museum of the American Revolution
In 1765 a Lenape passing a Moravian mission town noticed a large number of people in European clothing working in a field. Thinking they were white people, he tried to move quickly away when he discovered they were Indian converts. Later, in 1772, David McClure visited a different convert community and commented that, “The moravians (sic) appear to have adopted the best mode of christianizing (sic) the Indians.” For him, that “mode” included the converts adopting western-style dress, architecture, and agriculture.
In both cases, a superficial look at the Christian Indians living in Moravian missions convinced observers that the converts had become “white.” Eighteenth-century Moravian missionaries certainly supported the idea that they had settled the converts from their wild ways. Later historians, looking exclusively at missionaries’ writing, have repeated this assessment.
But such looks can be deceiving. A deeper reading of the diaries along with financial records, art, and archaeology paint a much different picture of convert life in the mission villages. Based on their material life, it is clear that Moravian missions reflected their inhabitants – outwardly they appeared to have adopted European culture, but upon closer inspection they remained distinctly Native.
Using their material culture, we will explore what the converts gave up, what they kept, and what they adopted while residing in the missions. This discussion will illustrate the ways eighteenth century Moravian mission life was a constant conversation between the hopes of the missionaries and the culture of the converts.
The Puzzle of Signatures
Scott Gordon (Panel Organizer), Lehigh University
In 1774, Christian Oerter, an unknown gunmaker at the small Moravian community at Christiansbrunn, did something unexpected: he began to sign and date the barrels of his longrifles. While this was not unprecedented among longrifle makers, it was highly unusual: perhaps only one other signed and dated rifle (1761) has survived from the years before Oerter began to sign his rifles in 1774. The only explanation for Oerter’s innovation that has been proposed—it followed a shift from communal to individual production at Christiansbrunn—is based on a misunderstanding of Christiansbrunn’s economy and on Oerter’s place in that economy. Moreover, craftsmen working in a communal economy did sometimes sign their products: Henry Antes signed the musical instruments he made in Bethlehem during its communal period (and after it ended). In the spirit of asking questions rather than presenting firm conclusions, this paper will survey signatures (or labels) on a range of Moravian crafts and products in order to propose alternate explanations for Oerter’s surprising innovation.
SESSION 16: PRESENTATIONS
Confronting or Avoiding the Challenges of American Culture Since 1957? An Examination of the Synods of the Northern Province
Craig Atwood, Moravian Theological Seminary
Since Bishop Hamilton published the revised and updated version of his father’s history of the Renewed Moravian Church, there has been little systematic study of the Northern and Southern Provinces. David Schattschneider and others have presented focused studies of particularly themes, such as the Moravian response to the Vietnam War, and C. Daniel Crews provided a chronicle of Southern Province history (With Courage for the Future) but no one has attempted to write a general history of the Northern Province during this period. It will, of course, be impossible to present a detailed history of the past 63 years, but I will examine the records of the Northern Province synods in an effort to discern the main lines of development of the province. I plan to address three major interrelated themes: 1) institutional history of restructuring and declining membership; 2) conflict over changes in the church’s teaching relating to social issues; 3) conflict over worship forms. It is possible than in 20 minutes I will only be able to address one of those themes, most likely conflict over social issues.
The Victorious Lamb: History, Iconography, and Theology of the Moravian Seal
Peter Vogt, Moravian Church, Herrnhut
The image of the victorious Lamb with the inscription “Vicit Agnus Noster – Eum Sequamur” is widely regarded as the unique symbol and emblem of the Moravian Church. It is used as the official seal of Moravian Bishops and was accepted as the official “motto” of the Moravian Church by Unity Synod in 2016. Surprisingly, however, there is very little scholarship on its historical background and theological message.
The proposed paper will explore how the symbol of the Lamb rose to prominence in the history of the Moravian Church, starting in the 17th century in the Ancient Unity and leading to the current variety of Moravian seals in the modern Unity. One area of interest is the Biblical background, especially the prominent role of the Lamb as a Christological symbol in the Book of Revelation, and the subsequent inclusion of the image of the Lamb in Christian iconography. Another area of interest is the development of a specifically Moravian iconography and the diversity of its variations and adaptations across Moravian provinces today.
The discussion will show that the “Moravian Seal” represents an important element of connection between the Ancient Unity and the renewed Moravian Church, although with some significant shifts in theological interpretation. It will be argued, moreover, that it was only over the course of the last hundred years that the image of the Lamb has become the central symbol of Moravian identity. The paper will be augmented with a power-point presentation providing extensive visual documentation.
The Influence of the Brüdergemeindekolonie Sarepta Among the German Protestant Colonies of the Volga
Fabian Zubia-Schultheis, Biblioteca Nacional de Argentina
The purpose of this paper is to present within academia a new focus on the causes of the eighteenth century Volga German emigration. The research conducted so far stated that the German migration occurred as a result of the wars which devastated Germany during the 17th and 18th century. This argument does not take into account that most of the immigrants came from the area currently occupied by the State of Hessen and was not affected by the Seven Years’ War. Also is unlikely that the inhabitants of that area migrated in 1766 due to a war that ended in 1648.
The Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine decided to found the Brüderkolonie Sarepta on the Volga river on 23 August/3 September 1765 in the program of colonization initiated by Czarina Catherine II the previous year in the area. To provide for this community it was necessary to have a German speaking hinterland and thus arose after the founding of Sarepta, some 27 Protestant villages founded between 1766 and 1767 with settlers from the area of Wetterau, in the County of Isenburg-Büdingen, which initially they were religiously assisted by Johannes Janett (1729-1803), who arrived on the Volga from Herrnhut in 1765. Supported at that time by aid from Sarepta, he made trips about the colonies. Then other preachers of the Moravian Brotherhood came from Switzerland and Germany.
This religious assistance by pastors from the Moravian Brotherhood to the Volga German colonies continued until 1867 when Czar Alexander II of Russia, within his plan of Russification, decided to expel the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine from their domains. In 1871 this expulsion was the impetus for the second migration of these Protestant Germans from their villages in the lower Volga area to the Americas where they settled in Argentina, Canada, and the United States.
SESSION 17: PRESENTATIONS
Scandinavian Perspectives on Women’s Musicking within the Moravian Church
Christina Ekström, University of Gothenburg
The paper draws attention to women’s repertoire and use of music in a confessional context during the 18th century. This is done with the example of the Brødremenigheden in Christiansfeld, Denmark. The congregation was founded in 1773 and is a part of the worldwide Lutheran-Evangelical Moravian church. Christiansfeld has been included on UNESCO´s World Heritage List since 2015 for its tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
The aim is to explore the Christiansfeld community as a social arena where music allowed unmarried women to have agency over their place in the social structure. This sociologically oriented musicological study – where agency, musicking, and emotives are central concepts – uses the method of content analysis. Based on sources such as steering documents, diaries and music from the Christiansfeld collection the paper discusses possibilities and limitations for women’s music use.
Preliminary results from the survey reinforce the image that women’s musicianship was a priority compared to men’s and that the unmarried women had a regulated and extensive music life. In doing so, the study complements previous research on the Moravian church which, like Western music history writing and research, has primarily made men’s performances and musical works visible in the past.
A Moravian Music Timeline
Nola Reed Knouse, Moravian Music Foundation
Existing studies of Moravian music focus on a specific composer, genre, work or collection, or practice, while presenting Moravian historical context as background to the topic of the study. This presentation, rather than highlighting particular aspects, surveys 550 years of Moravian musical history, beginning with the hymnals of the ancient Unity and moving through the latter 20th century. Although Moravian missionaries established communities beginning in the second quarter of the 18th century, this timeline focuses on Moravian musicians and music in Europe and America. Intended to provide a broad overview, the study reveals that there are several specific time periods marked by astonishing fruitfulness, when the lives and work of especially accomplished musicians overlap. More questions than answers arise, so that this study may encourage in-depth scholarship related to certain eras and circumstances.