Francke Foundations at Halle (Saale)
Study Centre August Hermann Francke
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Danish-Halle Mission

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The Project

The Sources

Results of the Project

Project Collaborators

 

The Project

The Danish-Halle mission, established in 1706, is the first organized missionary undertaking in the history of the Protestant Church. The extensive written records of this undertaking have an enormous significance for research on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In a project supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) the archival holdings of the Francke Foundations at Halle and of the Evangelical-Lutheran Mission in Leipzig were systematically opened up again between 2003 and 2005 and were made publicly available in an online-database.

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The Sources

The major part of the sources on the Danish-Halle mission is today preserved in the archives of the Francke Foundations at Halle. The archives established by the missionaries in Tranquebar, which were taken over at the end of the nineteenth century by the Evangelical-Lutheran mission in Leipzig, have also been deposited in the Francke Foundations since 2006. The period involved extends from the early eighteenth century till the third decade of the nineteenth century. The entire holdings contain more than 34,000 documents.
The sources support research in various fields including linguistics, the study of religion, ethnology, indology, history of medicine, as well as numerous disciplines of history such as colonial history, history of trade or the history of communication.

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Results of the project

At the end of the project the entire correspondence of the missionaries and of the mission employees with the directors of the Francke Foundations, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in London and the Mission Board as well as with the Danish royal house in Copenhagen containing 18,500 documents has been opened up. Similarly, the 1,053 official, private and travel diaries as well as the reports of the missionaries on the country, on the languages and natural sciences could also be listed in their entirety. In addition, accounts, records of capital and letters from donors were catalogued, which throw light on the various supporters and promoters of the mission.
The reproduction of the contents of the diaries focused mainly on the productive fields of international research such as, for example, the prominent occurrences in the history of the church and the mission, on relevant events from the areas of linguistics, ethnology, history of medicine as well as on the history of colonialism, trade and communication. As against this, pastoral and edifying remarks were only partially included.
For bills and donor letters titles were formulated which indicate the nature and the purpose of the manuscript. Wherever necessary, this has been supplemented by brief reference remarks.
5,382 biographies of persons who are connected with the manuscripts supplement the information that can be accessed in the database.
The application of names of places in India is taken from the Alphabetical List of Villages in Tamilnadu of the Institute for Indology of the University of Cologne.
In close co-operation with the Indian partners the entire database was translated into English by a professor of German studies in New Delhi and it is now available world-wide on the Internet in two languages.

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The Collaborators on the Project

Project Director:
Project Supervisors:
Research Assistants:
Dr. Karsten Hommel, Dr. Erika Pabst
Student Assistants: Jan Brademann, Andreas Otte
Secretarial Assistants: Hildegard Beßler
Translation: Dr. Rekha Kamath Rajan

Duration of the project: 1.1.2003 till 31.10.2005

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