Hidden Collections

George F Bahnson Papers

Archival Description

Title: George Frederick Bahnson Papers
Dates: 1820-1861
Quantity: 2 boxes
Identification: PP BGF
Language of Material: German; English
Location: Moravian Church Archives
Alternate View: View Moravian Archives Finding Aid


This collection contains descriptions written by George Bahnson about his trip from hometown Christianfeld, Denmark to school in Niesky; "Tagebuch"/diaries of daily life in Niesky between the dates 1820 and 1824, in Gnadenfeld in 1825, and Kleinwelke from 1826 to 1829, "Notes for a Diary -1831," diaries of George Bahnson dating between the years 1830 and 1867, including two diaries on his work as a representative/delegate at the Synod in 1848; a notebook containing schoolwork from 1822, including "Phaedon," geography, mathematics, and history and loose leaf notes on history, theology, psychology, mathematics, etc.; a "Quod libet" convering 6 pages written by Bahnson in Kleinwelke between the years 1827-1828; Sermons written by George Bahnson, including notes from scriptures and prayers, "Kinderstunden" (Children's Meetings), between the years 1827-1831; notes on church affairs including church meetings, lists of the names of individuals confirmed, baptized, buried, and married between 1839-1848, and notes on church missions; loose leaf notes on festivals and celebrations; 40 booklets featuring passages from scripture and some hymn notes written by Bahnson; 2 letters written by Bahnson -1819 and undated


George F. Bahnson was born on September 16, 1805, in the Moravian congregation town of Christiansfeld, Denmark. Bahnson spent his early years studying in the Paedagogium in Niesky, Germany. On September 10th, 1824 at the age of 19 Bahnson chose to enter the Moravian Theological Seminary in Gnadenfeld and after two years was called to Kleinwelka to be a teacher in the "Knabenanstalt." Two years later Bahnson was called as a tutor at the Paedagogium in Nazareth, PA . Bahnson traveled to North America in 1829 assuming his position in Nazareth on December 5th. On May 13th, 1834, George Bahnson married the first of his three wives, Amelia Hortensia Frueauf from Bethlehem, and together they had one daughter. In the same year Bahnson was ordained as a deacon and called to serve as a pastor in Bethania, NC, a position which he assumed on July 29th of the same year. Bahnson would occassionally preach in surrounding Moravian communities, such as Bethabara. In 1837 Bahnson's wife, Amelia, died of consumption. Bahnson remarried a year later to Anna Gertrude Paulina Conrad from Bethania and together they had 11 children. Bahnson moved his new wife back to Bethlehem where he was to serve as preacher and teach at the Theological Seminary. In 1839 the family moved again to Lancaster. In 1849 Bahnson moved his family for the final time to Salem, NC, where he served as a minister and also as a member of the Provincial Elders' Conference. Unfortunately, Anna died in 1858 while giving birth to a still born son named Jacob. Bahnson married for the third time on January 4th, 1859, to Louisa Amelia Belo and they would have one son together. On May 13th,1860, George Bahnson was consecrated a bishop in Bethlehem. As president of the PEC of the Southern Province Bahnson would face difficult times as he attempted to guide his church through the Civil War which tore apart the United States as well as the Northern and Southern Moravian Provinces. While attending General Synod of the Moravian Church in Herrnhut in 1869 Bahnson's health began to fail and a few months later, on September 11th, 1869, Bishop George Bahnson died in Salem at the age of 63.

Custodial History

The papers were given to the Moravian Archives by his granddaughter, Elizabeth Bahnson, on Aug. 8, 1959, and in September of 1962. They were organized by Katey Fardelmann in 2011.


George Frederick Bahnson Papers
1. Diaries/Journals kept by George F. Bahnson as a student in Niesky and Gnadenfeld, and as a teacher in Kleinwelka, Germany
Date: 1820 - 1830
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content: Includes: description by George F. Bahnson of his journey from hometown of Christianfeld, Denmark, to Niesky, Germany, and his arrival in America in 1829
2. Diaries/Journals written by George F. Bahnson while in Pennsylvania (predominantly Nazereth and Bethlehem)
Date: 1829 - 1832, 1842
Physical Description: 1 folder; 5 items
Scope/Content: Also includes: letter book of all letters "Abgeschickt" (sent) and " Erhalten" (received) written in German (script) (1830-1842) cataloging - in the back of the Brief Buch is a short diary for the year 1831; private diary from 1842 contains several pages from the German Daily Texts of 1826 on which Bahnson makes notes in German
3. Diaries/Journals written by George F. Bahnson
Date: 1848, 1867
Physical Description: Binding on 1867 diary seperating
Scope/Content: Includes: two private diaries and two business diaries in regards to the Synod held in 1848; the 1867 diary is written into the "The Text-Book of The Protestant Church of the United Brethren, for the year 1867"
4. School notes written by George F. Bahnson while in the Paedagogium in Niesky and Seminary in Gnadenfeld
Date: 1820 - 1826
Physical Description: loose leaf pages with frayed edges
Scope/Content: Includes: notes in Latin, on Logic, Literature, History, Psychology, Anthropology, Dogmatics/Theology/ Padagogic, Linguistics
Note: Items mostly loose leaf and separated in folder into sections by year written, one bound notebook from 1822
5. School notes written by George F. Bahnson on mathematics and exegesis
Date: 1821 - 1822
Physical Description: 1 Folder
Scope/Content: Includes: undated student notes written by George F. Bahnson on literature, dogmatics/theology, geography, Latin and Greek, music (Beethoven)
Note: Items kept seperated in folder by topic: mathematics, exegese, undated
6. Sermons, addresses, and prayers written and preached by George F. Bahnson
Date: 1827 - 1865
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Sermons until 1831 in German (script) but after 1831 in English; seperated in folder by language and year
7. Collection of scripture passages written by George F. Bahnson as a minister in Salem, NC
Date: (1850s)
Physical Description: some booklets missing covers or with poor binding
Scope/Content: Includes: 24 little booklets with written scripture passages
8. Collection of scripture passages written by George F. Bahnson on unknown dates and in unknown locations
Date: without date
Physical Description: many booklets missing covers
Scope/Content: Includes: 21 little booklets with written scripture passages
9. Notes on various church meetings and affairs written by George F. Bahnson
Date: 1839 - 1866
Physical Description: loose leaf papers edges frayed and bent
Scope/Content: Also includes notes on Moravian missions; memoranda between years 1839-1848 documenting baptisms, confirmations, burials, deaths, births, marriages, and communions; Notes on evening meetings, "weekly arounds," prayer meetings, singing meetings, and daily texts from 1853-1866, some undated notes
Note: Items loose leaf and seperated by topic: missions, memoranda, meetings
10. Notes on church festivals and celebrations written by George F. Bahnson throughout his service
Date: (1850s - 1860s)
Physical Description: loose leaf papers with frayed edges and bent edges
Scope/Content: Includes: notes on the laying of cornerstones, Widow's Festival, Married People's Festival, New Year's Eve, ordinations, Sister's Festival, Lovefeast, Communion, Thanksgiving, and the Cup of Covenant
Note: Items loose leaf and organized by event
11. Quod Libet written by George F. Bahnson
Date: 1827
Physical Description: 1 folder; 6 items
12. Letters (perhaps drafts of letters) written by George F. Bahnson
Date: 1819, n.d.
Physical Description: 2 items