David Brainerd was born in Haddam, Connecticut. In 1739 he experienced a religious conversion and, aspiring to become a minister, he entered Yale College. In 1742, after he criticized his tutor for lack of true religious experience, he was dismissed from Yale. Brainerd continued his studies and was licensed to preach. He was appointed a missionary by the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. The Presbytery of New York ordained him in 1744. From 1743 to 1747 he served as a missionary to the Indians in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. After a period of little success, he led a successful revival among the Delaware Indians near Trenton, New Jersey, in 1745-1746. On a visit to Northampton, Massachusetts, he died in 1747 from the tuberculosis that had afflicted him for years. Jonathan Edwards, his friend and mentor, edited and published Brainerd's diary, a work that exercised considerable influence in America and which was published in England.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of transcripts of a letter of Brainerd and notes concerning Brainerd's published works by an Anglican clergyman.
NOTES TO THE RESEARCHER
The library has several editions of Brainerd's diary, including John Wesley's edition and editions of other Brainerd publications. The library also has a volume of transcriptions of letters of Brainerd and others to the Rev. Joseph Bellamy, made by the Presbyterian historian, Richard Webster.