© Author Adventures

Adelaide Fries, Preserver of Moravian History

Born in 1871, Adelaide Fries was a local historian representing an example of Moravian history and literature. She lived and worked in the town now called “Winston-Salem,” and published several books from the 1920s to the 1940s, some of which covered Moravian history going back to the 1700s. Her most popular book was The Road to Salem, for which she served as editor of a compilation of local history stories. The historian, writer, and editor was also known for lively presentations to audiences of all ages. When she passed away in 1949, she was buried in Winston-Salem’s Moravian cemetery.

Her Books

To see a list of books written or edited by Adelaide Fries, click here: goodreads.com/author/show/519244.Adelaide_L_Fries.

The Moravians

The Moravians were a religious group who migrated to North Carolina where they set up their own community. Learn more about Moravians here: moravian.org/what-we-believe and moravian.org/2018/07/a-brief-history-of-the-moravian-church.

Winston-Salem Today

When Adelaide Fries passed away in 1949, the population of Winston-Salem was approximately 90,000. Today, Winston-Salem has grown to around three times that, as the number of residents has steadily increased over the past 50 years, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. It is the fifth largest city in North Carolina (the largest city is Charlotte).

The town of Old Salem, which was Adelaide Fries’ home, remains an authentic historic Moravian settlement that is delightful and charming to visit. We liked dining at the Tavern, eating sweets from the bakery, and visiting the museum that had a place where children could play dress-up and enjoy a puppet show. At various times of day, the aroma of fresh-baked pastries wafts all the way down the street. Watch a video about a Moravian bakery in Old Salem here: Video.OurState.com.

WInston-Salem is also known as the home of Salem College, which was founded in 1772. Along with Salem Academy, it is the oldest girls and women’s educational institution in the US. Read about it here: salem.edu/about.


Bestselling author Maya Angelou lived in Winston-Salem as well, but her home (where she passed away) is privately owned and not open to the public. You can read about her in our Arkansas section.

Salem is the fifth stop on our North Carolina Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart