Summer Stories

The Winterthur Class of 2017 has been busy this summer! Besides a trip to the South and a visit to New England with Ritchie Garrison and Greg Landrey, what else have they been up to? While several have continued research, participated in the Classical Institute of the South’s survey program, or embarked on their own travels, Trevor Brandt has remained fairly local to take part in a course through the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Moravian Archives are the repository for records related to the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America. The Moravians–a Protestant church drawing inspiration from 15th century martyr, Jan Hus–founded several communal settlements in America. Planned towns such as as Lititz and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Salem in North Carolina demonstrate the highly-organized, cosmopolitan, and mission-based character of the 18th century Moravian Church in North America.

This c. 1740 text describes the founding of the Moravian town of Nazareth in Pennsylvania. Notice the interspersing of Latin place-names among the German kurrent script.

This c. 1740 text describes the founding of the Moravian town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  Notice the interspersed Latin place names among the German kurrent script.  Image used with permission of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.

Trevor was a participant in the 47th year of the Moravian Archive’s class in reading 17th-20th century German script. Led by head archivist Dr. Paul Peucker and assistant archivists Tom McCullough and Lanie Graf, this two-week program takes place in June. Students in this course transcribe and translate texts ranging from 17th-century passports signed by famed Swedish king, Gustav Adolf, to records of the community at Bethlehem and poems written by 18th century schoolmasters. Dr. Peucker, a renowned scholar of Moravian history, teaches much of the material, but Tom and Lanie also lead sections on writing  individual letters and words in the old German kurrent alphabet.

WPAMC '17 student, Trevor Brandt, tries his hand at writing his name in kurrent with a quill pen.

WPAMC ’17 student Trevor Brandt tries his hand at writing his name in kurrent with a quill pen.  Photograph taken by Dr. Mark Lewis.

While several other graduate students were present in the class, other participants included professors of history, musicology, and German literature. Ardent genealogists and undergraduates constituted the rest of this year’s class. Participants came with a range of goals, but all of the students were able to develop their abilities in utilizing German texts written within the last 500 years.

Participants in this year's script course assembled in the Moravian Archive's main reading room. Photograph taken by Thomas McCullough.

Participants in this year’s script course assembled in the Moravian Archive’s main reading room.  Photograph taken by Thomas McCullough, used with permission of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.

Trevor’s participation in this class greatly furthers his capacity for conducting his thesis research. As he encounters manuscripts from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Switzerland and Germany, the skills that Trevor gained while at the Moravian Archives will prove increasingly invaluable.

Information about the German Script Course at the Moravian Archives can be viewed here.

By Trevor Brandt, WPAMC Class of 2017

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