David Brainerd diary, July 14, 1745 - November 20, 1745
Contributor: Brainerd, David, 1718-1747
Extent: 46 pages
Description: Missionary David Brainerd spent much of his life working to convert Native peoples, particularly Stockbridge and Delaware (and Susquehanna-area) Indians, to Protestant Christianity until his death of tuberculosis in 1747. This journal from 1745 recounts Brainerd's time in western Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and his encounters with both Native Americans and settlers. The vast majority of the journal depicts Brainerd's time in the Upper Susquehanna River Valley. Brainerd's journals and autobiography were published after his death to promote missionary efforts to Native Americans. However, scholars have determined that these published accounts were largely written by Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards in 1747, when the dying Brainerd returned to New England and resided with Edwards during his final illness. They edited Brainerd's journals to make his efforts appear more successful, hoping to spur others to follow in his footsteps. The journal held at the American Philosophical Society is an original journal that was written by Brainerd during his missionary years and differs from the one published after his death by Jonathan Edwards. See the finding aid for more information about these discrepencies.
Collection: David Brainerd diary, July 14, 1745 - November 20, 1745 Mss.B.B74j