The collections of the Moravian Music Foundation include over 20,000 manuscripts and early imprints of vocal and instrumental music, sacred and secular music, from the sixteenth through twenty first centuries. Not all music was written by Moravian composers, but it is all music which the Moravians used and enjoyed. These collections represent congregational collections, collegium musicum collections, and personal collections from Moravian settlements and individuals in America.
The collections have been “hidden” to most of the world for about 275 years. With the exception of the Johannes Herbst Collection, scholars and church musicians had to visit the Archives in Bethlehem and Winston-Salem to discover the collections. The story of the collections can be divided into six phases: Sources (1735 to 1850s), Storage (1850s to 1950s), Discovery (1930s to 1970s), Cataloging (1970s), Preservation (1990s) and Online (2004-). It is a story with a host of players – church musicians, composers, copyists, church elders, librarians, archivists, musicologists, and hymnologists.