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MS Am 767

Delaware language collection, 1779-1806: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MS Am 767
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Delaware language collection,
Date(s): 1779-1806 and undated.
Quantity: 1 collection (2 linear feet (20 volumes and 1 folder)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in Delaware, Arawak, Cherokee, German, and English.
Abstract: Dictionaries, grammars, vocabularies, and other materials on the Delaware, Arawak, and Cherokee languages, assembled by Moravian church missionaries in 18th-century America. Also includes letters about the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Judge Ebenezer Lane (A.B. 1811) of Sandusky, Ohio; received: 1850 January 21.
Curatorial file includes some papers useful for tracking history of collection. See also item (21) below.


Manuscripts presented by the Rev. Mr. Bernhard Adam Grube to the Rev. Mr. Abraham Luckenbach (1777-1808) on his setting out upon his western missionary journey in 1800. Obtained (by Judge Lane?) from the Moravian brethren at Gnadenhütten in Ohio.

Processing Information:

Cataloging copied from original description in Manuscript Catalogue.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Delaware Language Collection, 1779-1806 (MS Am 767). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

The collection was primarily assembled by David Zeisberger (1721-1808), an 18th-century Moravian missionary and Delaware language interpreter. Zeisberger was born in Moravia in 1721 and immigrated to British North America in the late 1730s. He joined the Church of the Unity of the Brethren, commonly known as the Moravian Church. He eventually settled near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and became a missionary to various Native American groups in Pennsylvania and New York and later moved with the Delaware Indians to Ohio in 1772. Upon their arrival in Ohio, Zeisberger established the village of Schoenbrunn, located near modern-day New Philadelphia. He continued his work throughout the American Revolution and eventually moved on to Gnadenhütten. After the destruction of Gnadenhütten in 1782, Zeisberger moved to villages in northern Ohio and Michigan and continued his work until his death in 1808. [Source: www.ohiohistorycentral.org.]


For calendar see No. 22 of the Bibliographical Contributions of the Harvard University Library. Many of these manuscripts have been published. See HOLLIS for additional information.


Arranged in random order as determined and numbered in 1850 when received.

Scope and Contents

Grammars, dictionaries, and vocabularies of the Delaware and Arawak languages and hymns, sermons, a gospel harmony, and other religious works in Delaware gathered or produced by Moravian missionaries in Ohio. Much annotation in English and German. One small vocabulary in the Cherokee language. Primarily written by David Zeisberger (1721-1808), but other names associated with the collection are: Bernhard Adam Grube (1715-1808), Samuel Lieberkuhn (1710-1777), Abraham Luckenbach (1777-1808), Benjamin Mortimer, Stephan Pfeiffer, and others. Includes translations.

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