The Inspirationists prized their books and manuscripts and went to great lengths to preserve and copy them. That effort was intensified when the community moved to America in the mid-19th century. A testimony through the Werkzeug Christian Metz in 1846 exhorted the community to “behold the work of the old” and to “let your heritage not be lost” by copying and printing 18th century manuscripts and books, and keeping contemporary records. Because of this preservation ethos we possess an extensive and rich amount of material that documents the history and culture of the Community of True Inspiration, both in Germany and America.
Two major collections of Inspirationist documents and books exist in Amana, Iowa, today:
Church Archives Register
The Archives Register lists the holdings of the Amana Church archives, which was first established in 1868 to preserve the extensive amount of manuscript material and publications that had been brought to Amana, Iowa, by the community from Germany and Ebenezer, New York. For the next 100 years, various collections and materials were added to the archives, but not catalogued. The first effort to detail the inventory was made in 1990. That inventory was refined and expanded in 2014 and further detailed in 2018.
Amana Heritage Society Library Catalog and Archives Catalog
The Amana Heritage Society Library Catalog lists the holdings of the Library Collection in the Amana Heritage Museum. The library collection consists of both primary and secondary sources, including all known Inspirationist publications, as well as 18th century Pietist literature. It contains a wide range of popular and scholarly accounts of the community in Germany and America. While the majority of the material is published, the collection includes unpublished papers, thesis, and dissertations pertaining to Inspirationist history and culture.
In addition to the Library collection, the Amana Heritage Museum has an extensive archive collection of manuscripts dating from the 18th century to the present in its Archive Collection. The comprehensive inventory of the archive collection is not yet available online. However, we here present a list of 18th century materials found in the museum archives.