Adelaide Lisetta Fries (12 November 1871–29 November 1949) was the foremost scholar of the history and genealogy of the Moravians in the southern United States. Her contributions to the field, as archivist, translator, author and editor, are incomparable.
Fries was born in Salem (now Winston-Salem), North Carolina, the elder of two daughters of John William Fries (1846–1927) and Agnes Sophia (de Schweinitz) Fries (1849–1915). She never married, and lived with her parents in Winston-Salem until their deaths.
In 1911, the Provincial Elders' Conference of the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, appointed Fries as archivist of the Southern Province, and granted her the use of a warehouse in Salem as repository and offices. She immediately began collecting, organizing, translating and publishing records, a work that continued until her death. Fries was never satisfied that the warehouse was a safe repository, and over the years her friends and supporters raised enough money to convert the former office of the Vorsteher (business manager) of the Salem community into a fireproof repository. The archives moved into the new building in 1942.
One of Fries' best-known books is The Road To Salem (1944), an account of the life of Anna Catharina (Antes) Ernst (1726-1816). Written in the first person, the book is based on Ernst's autobiography and on the diaries and records kept by leaders of the Moravian Church in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Another well-known book, The Moravians in Georgia, has entered the public domain and is available online. Forsyth County was revised and updated in 1949, and a further revision and update was issued in 1976 under the oversight of J. Edwin Hendricks of Wake Forest University.
- Forsyth County (1898)
- Historical Sketch Of Salem Female Academy (1902)
- The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740 (1905)
- The Mecklenburg Declaration Of Independence As Mentioned In the Records of Wachovia (1907)
- Der North Carolina Land Und Colonie Etablissement (1910)
- The Pflegerin (1914)
- The Town Builders (1915)
- An Early Fourth Of July Celebration (1915)
- Records of the Moravians in North Carolina (1922-1954): Volume I (1752-1771), 1922; Volume II (1752-1775), 1925; Volume III (1776-1779), 1926; Volume IV (1780-1783), 1930; Volume V (1784-1792), 1941; Volume VI (1793-1808), 1943; Volume VII (1809-1822), 1947; Volume VIII (1823-1837), 1954 (Volume VIII completed by Douglas LeTell Rights).
- The Moravian Church: Yesterday and Today (1926)
- North Carolina Certificates of the Revolutionary War Period (1932)
- Some Moravian Heroes (1936)
- Moravian Customs: Our Inheritance (1936)
- Index To Memoirs Filed In the Salem Moravian Archives (1938)
- Distinctive Customs and Practices of the Moravian Church (1941)
- Graveyard Registry of Friedland Moravian Church (1941)
- The Road To Salem (1944)
- Parallel Lines In Piedmont North Carolina Quaker and Moravian History (1949)
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