George H. Atkinson papers, 1814-1953  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Atkinson, G. H. (George Henry), 1819-1889
Title
George H. Atkinson papers
Dates
1814-1953 (inclusive)
1847-1878 (bulk)
Quantity
.9 cubic feet, (2 document cases)
Collection Number
Mss 1152
Summary
Papers of an Oregon missionary, educator, scientist, publicist, who played a key role in establishing Oregon's public school system. Includes letters of Atkinson and his wife Nancy Bates Atkison, speeches, journals, and ephemera.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

George Henry Atkinson was an educator, scientist, and publicist, who played a key role in establishing Oregon's public school system. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1819, he was educated at Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary. He and his wife Nancy Bates Atkinson came to Oregon via Hawaii as Congregational missionaries in 1848. Serving at first as pastor of the Congregational Church in Oregon City, Atkinson founded Clackamas Female Seminary and later Tualatin Academy, which became Pacific University in Forest Grove. He was instrumental in the establishment of a public school system for the new Oregon Territory, and went on to serve as school superintendent for both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties. He moved to Portland in 1865 and became the pastor of the First Congregational Church there. After leaving this post in 1872 he returned to missionary work and was appointed Superintendent of Missions of Congregational Churches of Oregon and Washington Territory. He continued as head of the Oregon superintendency after 1885.

Among the family of Nancy Bates Atkinson was her sister Lydia, who married the missionary Reverend Lewis Grout, a classmate of George H. Atkinson at Andover Theological Seminary. The Grouts were assigned to a Zulu mission in Natal, South Africa and sailed from Boston in 1846.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The George H. Atkinson papers include: correspondence, miscellaneous speeches, journals, pamphlets, expense books, ministerial manuals, and a biography of Reverend Atkinson. The collection provides information on missionary life on the Oregon frontier and documents the growth of the Oregon public education system. Also included are two publications by Atkinson describing the Pacific northwest and the Columbia basin, 1868 and 1878. Also included is a set of letters from Mrs. Atkinson's sister, Lydia Bates Grout, written when a missionary to the Zulus in Natal, South Africa, in the late 1840s and 1850s, and describing her work there.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

George H. Atkinson papers, Mss 1152, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series A:  Letters, 1847-1909Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Letters from George H. Atkinson
Primarily letters to his wife while making a journey to New York in 1852. He discusses his travel conditions and recommends that his wife and family stay close to God.
1852-1878
1/2
Family letters
Includes: a ticket for passage on the steamer Golden Age from San Francisco to Panama; a letter from George H. Atkinson to his wife dated 1852; and a letter from George Atkinson, Jr. (perhaps the son of George H.) to his mother, dated 1909, describing an auto trip from Portland, through eastern Oregon, and down to San Francisco.
1852-1909
1/3
George H. Atkinson letters about extension of the railroad to Yaquina Bay (photostatic copies of typescript transcriptions)
1887
Letters to Nancy Atkinson from her sister, Lydia Grout, from South Africa
Box/Folder
1/4
Photocopies. Letters discuss church services, mission life on the frontier, and scenery. A few transcriptions are included.
1847-1848
1/5
Originals of above letters
1847-1848
1/6
Photocopies. Concerns making of clothes for natives, excursions, family news, and death of a sister. A few transcriptions are included.
1851-1855
1/7
Originals of above letters
1851-1855
1/8
Photocopies. Discusses life in Natal. Also includes some letters from and to other family members.
1856-1864
1/9
Originals of above letters.
1856-1864
Box/Folder
1/10
Letter in diary form from George H. Atkinson to his parents
Discusses voyage to the Hawaiian Islands and experiences along the way.
1848 January 22-June
1/11
Nancy Atkinson letter in diary form to brothers and sisters
Discusses experiences on sailing from Boston to Honolulu.
1847 November 1-1848 February

Series B:  Diaries and journals, 1847-1858Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/12
Journal of George H. Atkinson
Contains detailed descriptions of George H. Atkinson's daily life.
1847-ca. 1848
1/13
Journal of George H. Atkinson
Contains detailed descriptions of George H. Atkinson's daily life.
1847-circa 1848
1/14
Diaries of George H. Atkinson edited by E. Ruth Rockwood (typescript)
1847-1858

Series C:  General files, 1814-1953Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/15
Church papers
Correspondence and articles dealing with Atkinson's church activities. Of note is a letter regarding missionary Marcus Whitman's travel form Oregon to Washington in the winter of 1842-1843.
1847-1852
2/1
Speeches and general papers
Includes: "A sermon at the ordination of Rev. George H. Atkinson, as a missionary to the Territory of Oregon"; "Address delivered by Rev. G. H. Atkinson, D. D. before the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York upon the possession, settlement, climate and resources of Oregon and the Northwest coast, including some remarks upon Alaska" (New York : John W. Amerman, Printer, 1868); and prospectus for the Clackamas County Female Seminary, 1852.
1847-1919
2/2
Pamphlets
Contains: "A defence of the clergy of New England against the charges of interfering in our political affairs and condemning the policy of the present war" (Concord : George Hough, 1814); and "A pickle for the knowing ones; or, plain truths in a homespun dress, by the late Lord Timothy Dexter..." (Boston : S. A. Tucker, 1881).
1814; 1881
2/3
"The Northwest Coast, including Oregon, Washington and Idaho, a series of articles upon the N.P.R.R. in its relations to the basins of the Columbia and of Puget's Sound" by Rev. G. H. Atkinson (Portland, Oregon : A.G. Walling, 1878).
1878
2/4
History of Tualatin Academy and Pacific University by George H. Atkinson (manuscript draft)
undated
2/5
Pastor's books (typed transcripts)
1848-1856
2/6
"Manual of the Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N.Y. / Henry Ward Beecher, pastor."
1854
2/7
Newspaper clippings
Concerns George H. Atkinson and his family; also items that were of interest to Atkinson, including the Oregon country.
1846-1953
2/8
Expense books (2 volumes)
1847-1853
2/9-10
Biographies of George H. Atkinson (typescript)
Probably created by George Himes of the Oregon Historical Society in the early 20th century.
undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Churches--Oregon--History
  • Congregational Churches--Oregon--Oregon City
  • Congregational Churches--Oregon--Portland
  • Congregational Church--Oregon
  • Education--Oregon--History
  • Missionaries--Northwest, Pacific
  • Missionaries--Oregon
  • Missionaries--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal
  • Pioneers--Oregon
  • Public schools--Oregon--History
  • Schools--Oregon--History
  • Voyages to the Pacific coast--Personal narratives
  • Personal Names :
  • Atkinson, G. H. (George Henry), 1819-1889--Archives
  • Atkinson, Nancy Bates
  • Grout, Lydia Bates
  • Corporate Names :
  • Clackamas Female Seminary (Clackamas County, Or.)
  • Pacific University
  • Family Names :
  • Atkinson family
  • Geographical Names :
  • KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)--History
  • Oregon City (Or.)--History
  • Oregon--Description and travel
  • Portland (Or.)--History
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Diaries
  • Ledgers (accounts)
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Address delivered by Rev. G. H. Atkinson, D. D. before the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York upon the possession, settlement, climate and resources of Oregon and the Northwest coast, including some remarks upon Alaska (New York : John W. Amerman, Printer, 1868)
  • The Northwest Coast, including Oregon, Washington and Idaho, a series of articles upon the N.P.R.R. in its relations to the basins of the Columbia and of Puget's Sound