- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records
- 1821-1871 (inclusive)18211871
- 0.7 cubic feet, (1 legal document case; 1 slim legal document case; 1 shared reel of microfilm)
- Collection Number
- Mss 1200
- Journal extracts, reports, correspondence, and financial documents of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (A.B.C.F.M.) concerning its missionary operations in the Oregon Territory. Includes materials relating to discussion by Hawaii missionary Jonathan S. Green and others on the feasibility of having a mission in the Pacific Northwest; and correspondence of missionaries Marcus Whitman, Henry H. Spalding, Cushing Eells, Elkanah Walker, William H. Gray, and A.B.C.F.M. secretaries David Greene and S. B. Treat. Almost all materials are typescript copies, many of them made from originals in the A.F.B.C.M. archives at the Houghton Library of Harvard University.
- Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was organized in 1810 and was the first missionary society in the United States. Headquartered in Boston, it served as the missionary arm of several major Protestant church denominations, particularly the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Dutch Reformed Churches. The Board established missions all over the world, including the Whitman mission in what would become the Oregon Territory, and later Washington state. The Board was absorbed into the United Church Board of World Ministries in 1961.
Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top
Unless otherwise noted, all materials are typescript copies.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The bulk of the collection consists of typescript copies of journal extracts, reports, correspondence, and financial documents of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions concerning its missionary operations in the Oregon Territory. Many of the typescripts are based on originals held in the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions archives in the Houghton Library at Harvard University, and are referred to by the sequential numbers that the Houghton Library assigned. The collection includes the reports of Jonathan S. Green (a missionary based in Hawaii) on his exploration of the northwest coast of North America, and correspondence and records relating to discussions on whether establishing a mission in the Pacific Northwest would be worthwhile. Missionaries to the Pacific Northwest who are represented in this collection are William H. Gray, Henry H. Spalding, Cushing Eells, Elkanah Walker, and Marcus Whitman, as well as Board secretary David Greene. There are a few original items and photostatic copies of documents in the collection in addition to the typescripts.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records, Mss 1200, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
The Oregon Historical Society owns the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
The collection is arranged in two series: Series 1. Copies of records from A.B.C.F.M. Archives; Series 2. Other A.B.C.F.M. records.
Acquired prior to 1971, most likely in the early 20th century (RL2021-016-RETRO). Microfilmed materials most likely acquired in 1964 (RL2021-037-RETRO).
Originals of most the materials are housed at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives, ABC 1-91. Original of January 14, 1851, letter from Henry H. Spalding to S. B. Treat is housed in the Whitman College and Northwest Archives, Walla Walla, Washington. Originals of microfilmed materials are held in the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Additional papers relating to missionaries in the Pacific Northwest are designated Mss 1201 through Mss 1225, and Microfilm Mss 1200-1225, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Series 1: Copies of records from A.B.C.F.M. Archives, 1828-1859Return to Top
Subseries 1: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 71
Letters 196-204: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene; journal of Henry H. Spalding
|1835-1836; 1836 September 21-October 31|
Subseries 2: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 137
Letters 121-125: E. O. Hall to R. Anderson and Henry H. Spalding
Subseries 3: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 138
Letters 1-20: Various correspondents, including Henry H. Spalding, Marcus Whitman, William H. Gray, and Elkanah Walker
Letters 21-30: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
Letters 31-40: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
Letters 41-47: Cushing Eells to David Greene
Letters 48-60: Asa Bowen Smith to David Greene
Letter 61: Asa Bowen Smith to H. Bingham
|1840 September 28|
Letters 62-70: Asa Bowen Smith to David Greene
Letters 71-82: Elkanah Walker to David Greene
Letters 83-90: Marcus Whitman to David Greene
Letters 91-107: Marcus Whitman to David Greene
Letters 108-120: William H. Gray to David Greene
Letters 121-135: William H. Gray to David Greene
Letters 136-141: William H. Gray to various correspondents including John McLoughlin; report of William H. Gray
Letters 142-146: Cornelius Rogers to David Greene
Letter 147: P. B. Littlejohn to David Greene; fragment of letter pasted to end of Volume 138
|1843 March 31; undated|
Subseries 4: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 248
Index to Letters 76-139 and 159-175
Letter 76: Memorandum of letter from General William H. Ashley to Edward Bates dated February 20, 1828, written by Jeremiah Evarts
|1828 April 10|
Letter 77: List of distance between Independence, Missouri, and Walla Walla, Oregon Territory
Letter 78: Report of Marcus Whitman submitted to the Prudential Committee
|1843 April 4|
Letters 79-81: Inventories of A.B.C.F.M. material goods lost or destroyed in the Whitman killings, and related affidavits
Letter 82: Statement of expenses of the Oregon mission
Titles of letters 83 and 84 (text of letters was not copied)
Letters 85-91: Various correspondence, including by Amory Holbrook, George H. Atkinson, and Benjamin Alvord
Letter 92: Correspondence from Andrew Rogers and Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
|1847 October 13-14|
Letters 93-95: Correspondence from Cushing Eells, Henry H. Spalding, and Elkanah Walker to S. B. Treat
|1851 October 22-December 1|
Letters 96-107: Cushing Eells to David Greene
Letter 108: Letter from John Lee Lewes, chief factor of Hudson's Bay Company, commending Cushing Eells
|1848 June 1|
Letters 109-127: Cushing Eells to S. B. Treat
Letter 128: William H. Gray to David Greene (2 copies)
|1843 May 15|
Letters 129-133: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
Letters 134-139: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
Letter 159: Elkanah Walker to William G. Armstrong and David Greene
|1844 April 20; 1845 October 8|
Letters 160-166: Elkanah Walker to David Greene; extract of letter from Mary Richardson Walker to "Mrs. Hill"
Letters 167-175: Elkanah Walker to S. B. Treat
Series 2: Other A.B.C.F.M. records, 1821-1871Return to Top
Mss 1200-Mss 1225 Microfilm: Agreement for Jonathan S. Green's passage aboard the bark Volunteer to the Pacific Northwest (microfilm of original)
Mss 1200-Mss 1225 Microfilm: Letters from Jonathan S. Green to Levi Chamberlain and William Richards during Green's expedition in the Pacific Northwest (microfilm of originals)
|1829 August 4-11|
Letters from Jonathan S. Green to the Board about the feasibility of establishing a mission in the Pacific Northwest
Extracts from the "Missionary Herald," including pieces about Jonathan S. Green's exploration of the Pacific Northwest coast
Report of the Sandwich Island Mission Standing Committee on Oregon Mission
|1830 January 20|
Printed volume, "Extracts from the Records of the Hawaiian Association from 1823 to 1836," listing Jonathan S. Green's name (original)
Mss 1200-Mss 1225 Microfilm: Letters to Samuel Northrup Castle from missionaries in the Oregon Territory, including from William H. Gray, Henry H. Spalding, and George Atkinson (microfilm of originals)
Letter from William H. Gray to David Greene (photostatic reproduction)
|1838 September 19|
Letters from David Greene to John Dunbar, Samuel Allis, Jr., and Cyrus Kingsbury
|1834 March 29-September 10|
Letter from Henry H. Spalding to the Board, asking to be appointed as missionary
|1835 August 7|
Letters from Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
Includes copies of letters that were designated Letters 196-204 in Volume 138 of the A.F.C.B.M. Archives.
Letters from Henry H. Spalding to S. B. Treat
Letter from Henry H. Spalding to the secretaries of the A.B.C.F.M.
Letter from Henry P. Strong to unidentified person, possibly David Greene
|1834 December 1|
Handbill for A.B.C.F.M. meeting at the Broadway Tabernacle on May 14, 1847 (original)
Instructions of the Prudential Committee to Elkanah Walker, Cushing Eeells, Alvin B. Smith, and William H. Gray (original and two typescript copies)
|1838 March 18|
Receipt of expenditures for Henry H. Spalding, Marcus Whitman, and William H. Gray (photostatic reproduction)
|1836 September 5|
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Indians of North America--Missions--Northwest, Pacific
- Missionaries--Northwest, Pacific
- Eells, Cushing, 1810-1893
- Gray, W. H. (William Henry), 1810-1889
- Green, Jonathan S. (Jonathan Smith), 1796-1878
- Greene, David, active 1838-1847
- Spalding, Henry Harmon, 1803-1874
- Walker, Elkanah, 1805-1877
- Whitman, Marcus, 1802-1847
- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Form or Genre Terms