American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records, 1821-1871  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Creator
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Title
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records
Dates
1821-1871 (inclusive)
Quantity
0.7 cubic feet, (1 legal document case; 1 slim legal document case; 1 shared reel of microfilm)
Collection Number
Mss 1200
Summary
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.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Languages
English


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

Preferred Citation

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records, Mss 1200, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

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

Arrangement

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.

Acquisition Information

Acquired prior to 1971, most likely in the early 20th century (RL2021-016-RETRO). Microfilmed materials most likely acquired in 1964 (RL2021-037-RETRO).

Location of Originals

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.

Related Materials

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

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 71
1835-1836
Box Folder
1 1
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
1839-1840
Box Folder
1 2
Letters 121-125: E. O. Hall to R. Anderson and Henry H. Spalding
1839-1840
Subseries 3: Archives of the A.B.C.F.M., Volume 138
1837-1844
Box Folder
1 3
Index
undated
1 4
Letters 1-20: Various correspondents, including Henry H. Spalding, Marcus Whitman, William H. Gray, and Elkanah Walker
1837-1843
1 5
Letters 21-30: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
1837-1839
1 6
Letters 31-40: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
1838-1843
1 7
Letters 41-47: Cushing Eells to David Greene
1840-1844
1 8
Letters 48-60: Asa Bowen Smith to David Greene
1838-1840
1 9
Letter 61: Asa Bowen Smith to H. Bingham
1840 September 28
1 10
Letters 62-70: Asa Bowen Smith to David Greene
1840-1842
1 11
Letters 71-82: Elkanah Walker to David Greene
1838-1844
1 12
Letters 83-90: Marcus Whitman to David Greene
1837-1840
1 13
Letters 91-107: Marcus Whitman to David Greene
1840-1844
1 14
Letters 108-120: William H. Gray to David Greene
1837-1838
1 15
Letters 121-135: William H. Gray to David Greene
1838-1842
1 16
Letters 136-141: William H. Gray to various correspondents including John McLoughlin; report of William H. Gray
1839
1 17
Letters 142-146: Cornelius Rogers to David Greene
1839-1841
1 18
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
1828-1859
Box Folder
1 19
Index to Letters 76-139 and 159-175
undated
1 20
Letter 76: Memorandum of letter from General William H. Ashley to Edward Bates dated February 20, 1828, written by Jeremiah Evarts
1828 April 10
1 21
Letter 77: List of distance between Independence, Missouri, and Walla Walla, Oregon Territory
circa 1843
1 22
Letter 78: Report of Marcus Whitman submitted to the Prudential Committee
1843 April 4
1 23
Letters 79-81: Inventories of A.B.C.F.M. material goods lost or destroyed in the Whitman killings, and related affidavits
1849
1 24
Letter 82: Statement of expenses of the Oregon mission
circa 1851
1 25
Titles of letters 83 and 84 (text of letters was not copied)
undated
1 26
Letters 85-91: Various correspondence, including by Amory Holbrook, George H. Atkinson, and Benjamin Alvord
1850-1854
1 27
Letter 92: Correspondence from Andrew Rogers and Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
1847 October 13-14
1 28
Letters 93-95: Correspondence from Cushing Eells, Henry H. Spalding, and Elkanah Walker to S. B. Treat
1851 October 22-December 1
1 29
Letters 96-107: Cushing Eells to David Greene
1847-1848
1 30
Letter 108: Letter from John Lee Lewes, chief factor of Hudson's Bay Company, commending Cushing Eells
1848 June 1
1 31
Letters 109-127: Cushing Eells to S. B. Treat
1849-1859
1 32
Letter 128: William H. Gray to David Greene (2 copies)
1843 May 15
1 33
Letters 129-133: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
1843-1846
2 1
Letters 134-139: Henry H. Spalding to David Greene
1847-1859
2 2
Letter 159: Elkanah Walker to William G. Armstrong and David Greene
1844 April 20; 1845 October 8
2 3
Letters 160-166: Elkanah Walker to David Greene; extract of letter from Mary Richardson Walker to "Mrs. Hill"
1845-1848
2 4
Letters 167-175: Elkanah Walker to S. B. Treat
1851-1859

Series 2:  Other A.B.C.F.M. records, 1821-1871Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Reel
1
Mss 1200-Mss 1225 Microfilm: Agreement for Jonathan S. Green's passage aboard the bark Volunteer to the Pacific Northwest (microfilm of original)
1829 February
1
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
Box Folder
2 5
Letters from Jonathan S. Green to the Board about the feasibility of establishing a mission in the Pacific Northwest
1828-1829
2 6
Extracts from the "Missionary Herald," including pieces about Jonathan S. Green's exploration of the Pacific Northwest coast
1821-1831
2 7
Report of the Sandwich Island Mission Standing Committee on Oregon Mission
1830 January 20
2 8
Printed volume, "Extracts from the Records of the Hawaiian Association from 1823 to 1836," listing Jonathan S. Green's name (original)
1837
Reel
1
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)
1839-1851
Box Folder
2 9
Letter from William H. Gray to David Greene (photostatic reproduction)
1838 September 19
2 10
Letters from David Greene to John Dunbar, Samuel Allis, Jr., and Cyrus Kingsbury
1834 March 29-September 10
2 11
Letter from Henry H. Spalding to the Board, asking to be appointed as missionary
1835 August 7
2 12
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.
1835-1836; 1847
2 13
Letters from Henry H. Spalding to S. B. Treat
1850-1871
2 14
Letter from Henry H. Spalding to the secretaries of the A.B.C.F.M.
1857
2 15
Letter from Henry P. Strong to unidentified person, possibly David Greene
1834 December 1
2 16
Handbill for A.B.C.F.M. meeting at the Broadway Tabernacle on May 14, 1847 (original)
1847
2 17
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
2 18
Receipt of expenditures for Henry H. Spalding, Marcus Whitman, and William H. Gray (photostatic reproduction)
1836 September 5
2 19
Supply lists
1841; 1847

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Indians of North America--Missions--Northwest, Pacific
  • Missionaries--Northwest, Pacific

Personal Names

  • 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

Corporate Names

  • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

Form or Genre Terms

  • correspondence
  • typescripts