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.