This book offers the first English translation of journals written by four leading figures in the Moravian Church who spent time in the British colony of Georgia between 1735 and 1737. Authored by August Gottlieb Spangenberg, David Nitschmann, Johann Töltschig, and Johann Andreas Dober, these documents are a vital source of historical and cultural information. Offering new insights into the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, the journals address a range of fascinating topics, including missionary travel to the Americas, life in colonial Georgia, and Moravian theology and practices. Originally written in an archaic script and housed in a remote German archive, the journals have not been widely available to readers until the publication of this book. Presenting a valuable resource for scholars and general audiences alike, John Thomas Scott and Achim Kopp have translated the diaries into a readable version of English that also remains faithful to the original German. In addition to featuring explanatory annotations of the journal entries, the book also includes a list of the Moravians who travelled to the Georgia colony, profiles of the settlers and of each of the journal authors, and a timeline of the Georgia Moravian settlement. Supported by this contextual apparatus, The Journals of the Moravian Mission to Georgia offers an important new perspective on a key historical moment in the founding of the modern West.
Achim Kopp is professor of foreign languages and literatures and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Mercer University.
John Thomas Scott is professor of history and chair of the History Department at Mercer University.
Georgia Moravian Timeline
List of Settlers
Profiles of the Moravian Journal Authors
Profiles of the Moravian Settlers
Chapter 1—Journal of August Gottlieb Spangenberg, December 28, 1734 - January 26, 1735 and January 12 - March 16, 1736 (with reminiscences back to the summer of 1735)
Chapter 2—Journal of David Nitschmann (Bishop), August 8, 1735 - February 17, 1736
Chapter 3—Journal of Johann Töltschig, April 1, 1736 - October 16, 1737
Chapter 4—Journal of Andreas Dober, August 5, 1735 - February 22, 1736 and December 2, 1736 - March 6, 1737
Appendix A: “‘We Have Come to Georgia With Pure Intentions’: Moravian Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg’s Letters From Savannah, 1735.” Translated and edited by George Fenwick Jones and Paul Martin Peucker. Georgia Historical Quarterly 82, no. 1 (1998): 84-120.
Appendix B: Catalogue of Alternate Spellings of Names and Terms Contained in the Moravian Journals
The book is an invaluable resource for German-American studies, including as it does insights about the Swiss German settlement at Purrysburg, South Carolina and useful background material on individuals such as David Zeisberger. Maps, appendices, a chronology — and, a great gift absent in so many modern publications, an index — make this a powerful scholarly container for the full history of a missionary moment that can be understood either as a failure or as a completed, exploratory effort.
With the publication of this expertly edited book, the diaries of Moravian settlers in colonial Georgia have been translated and made available to readers for the first time, providing fascinating firsthand accounts of their journey and their ensuing activities in Georgia. The journals shed light on their religious beliefs and on various issues affecting the missionary community including their practical worries about money and supplies, their struggles with internal conflicts, and their interactions with native people and others in the colonies. Scholars and general readers will find this book to be informative and highly engaging.
This well-edited collection by Kopp and Scott makes available to readers in English important and otherwise obscure documents in German script regarding the early European settlement of Georgia. It will help readers deepen their understanding of early pietist immigrant efforts in the colonies, including their conflicts and accomplishments, along with the often tense relations among revival pietist groups. Moreover, these documents shed light on the immigration of non-British settlers into early Georgia and European engagement with Native Americans, as well as life and death during the origins period of a European colony in North America.