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Cover for the book The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger

The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger

1772–1781 Edited by Hermann Wellenreuther and Carola Wessel, Translated by Julie T. Weber
“David Zeisberger’s diaries are a rich source for Native American and Moravian history. The 1772–1781 diaries remain largely untapped by American scholars because they have not been available in English translation. Publication of this modern scholarly edition, therefore, will have a major impact on the field of early American history.”
“This edition of David Zeisberger's diaries and journals contains a cornucopia of ethnographic and historical information about the Delawares and neighboring tribes in the upper Ohio Valley during the Revolutionary era. The editors have done an excellent job of identifying and expanding our knowledge of many of the important figures from this period. This volume will be welcomed by any scholar interested in the early history of Ohio or western Pennsylvania—a most valuable addition to the collections of published primary materials on these subjects.”
“The scholarly apparatus of the book is unsurprisingly thorough and meticulous. The register of persons is something every book of Pennsylvania history should have. The entire volume is beautifully produced, from the map endpapers to the informative footnotes. Every library worth its Pennsylvania salt ought to own this book.”
“Wellenreuther and Wessel’s work has made available a valuable resource for a wide range of scholars.”

David Zeisberger (1721–1808) was the head of a group of Moravian missionaries that settled in the Upper Ohio Valley in 1772 to minister to the Delaware Nation. For the next ten years, Zeisberger lived among the Delaware, becoming a trusted adviser and involving himself not only in religious activities but also in political and social affairs. During this time he kept diaries in which he recorded the full range of his activities. Published in English for the first time, The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger offers an unparalleled insider’s view of Indian society during times of both war and peace.

Zeisberger’s diaries, today housed at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, present a detailed picture of the effect of the American Revolution on one Indian nation—not only on political issues but also in terms of its economy, culture, and demographic structure. A later portion of the diaries, covering the post–Revolutionary War years, was translated and published in the nineteenth century, but the 1772–81 diaries have never been published in English translation. This translation is based on the full scholarly edition of the diaries, which Wellenreuther and Wessel published in Germany in 1995. Publication of this volume will forever change the way we see the impact of the American Revolution on Indian life and on the Ohio country.

Carola Wessel was a scholar at the University Library in Göttingen and a part-time librarian at the University Library in Bielefeld at the time of her death in 2004.

Hermann Wellenreuther is Professor of Modern History at the Georg-August-University in Göttingen and the author of books on early modern German, English, and North American history. He co-edited, with Hartmut Lehmann and Renate Wilson, In Search of Peace and Prosperity: New German Settlements in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America (Penn State, 2000).




List of Abbreviations


1. The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger, 1771–1781


Register of Persons

Index of Place and River Names and Other Geographical Terms



Maps of Ohio Region

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