The Unity Archives - Moravian Archives Herrnhut
The Unity Archives is the official repository for the central institutions of the worldwide Moravian Church and for the administration of the European Continental Province. The Unity Archives was founded by the first general synod of the Moravian Church in 1764 following the death of Count Zinzendorf (d. 1760) and was first managed in Zeist, Netherlands.
Since 1820 the Archives has been managed in Herrnhut, Germany. In 1890 a building specifically intended for use by archives was constructed. This original wing of the Archives complex remains the first archival repository constructed in Saxony, Germany, and is protected on the historic register. The preexisting facility was renovated in 1998, and a reading room was installed. A distinctive addition was erected from 2000-2002, resulting in a three-story archival storage facility with compact shelving.
In conjunction with the mission of the Unity Archives, every province, as well as individual congregations and institutions within the European Continental Province, are expected to maintain their own archives.
Archives – Library – Museum Collections
The Archives´ holdings consist of a variety of manuscripts and printed books, as well as museum objects (see overview of record groups - Beständeübersicht). Among many collections, the archives contains the Zinzendorf family papers, records from the main institutions of the worldwide Moravian Church, records of the European Continental Province, records of inactive congregations, school records, records of mission work, records of Moravian businesses, musical manuscripts, personal papers from workers and members of the Moravian Church, and Lebensläufe (Moravian memoirs).
The archives library serves to collect the publications of the Moravian Church and its members, as well as all publications dealing with the Moravian Church. The oldest books were owned by Count Zinzendorf and other workers of the church during the 18th century. In addition, special collections include the Bible collection, hymnbooks, daily texts (watchwords), and texts regarding the Ancient Unity.
The Unity Archives also houses the following museum collections, among others: paintings, portraits, drawings and prints, silhouettes, topographical materials, photographs, and historical artifacts from the Moravian Church and its missions.
Open for Research Use
You are welcome to visit the Unity Archives for research purposes. Research is typically performed at our facility or remotely in the form of written requests. For this purpose, requests can be made for the archives to create reproduction copies of items in the collection. The staff is constantly improving access to its holdings. Several catalogs are already accessible over the internet. The Unity Archives also hosts conferences and an annual German script course. Guided tours, programs for students and confirmation classes, and internships are also available.