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Copyright © 2000-2009
Bethlehem Digital
History Project.
All rights reserved.

Education at the BDHP

1798 view of Bethlehem, detail of 1801 School Rules, and Principal Sylvester Wolle

In 1742, Moravian Church patron Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf's sixteen year old daughter Benigna established arguably the first school for girls in the American Colonies. Permanently settled in Bethlehem since 1749, the Bethlehem Boarding School for Girls – also known as the Bethlehem Boarding School for Young Ladies, Young Ladies Seminary, Moravian Female Seminary and, Moravian Seminary and College for Women – is the focus of a major 2007 expansion* of Bethlehem Digital History Project education content.

Rare primary source documents, manuscripts, personal papers and visual materials, plus significant secondary source texts are newly added. Highlights include August Spangenberg’s 1792 Etwas von der Pflege des Leibes fur Kinder (Something of Bodily Care for Children) along with Zeisberger’s 1803 translation into a Delaware Indian language, a 1790 student “cyphering” workbook, student artwork, school rules, Reichel’s  “Moravian Seminary Souvenir”, and an invaluable new finding aid for the "Female Seminary" portion of the extraordinary collection of materials housed in the Moravian Church Archives in Bethlehem.

James Talarico    

* Made possible by a federal Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) grant
  awarded by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Libraries.


· Moravian Seminary Souvenir

· Moravian Seminary for
  Young Ladies 1874-1875

· Bethlehem Boarding School
  for Girls administrative

· Spangenberg's Something of
  Bodily Care for Children

· Recollections of a student

· Moravian Seminary for
  Young Ladies student work
  and related documents

· Select bibliography of
  Female Seminary texts

· Historical Sketch
  of the Moravian Seminary
  for Young Ladies

· Moravian University and
  Theological Seminary
  Bethlehem, PA

· Finding aid for Female
  Seminary collection at the
  Moravian Archives