America in records from colonial missionaries, 1635-1928

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American material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1928

American material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1928

The Honorable Society can't concieve what mischief he has done to our holy religion in those American parts, by his vile practices, too many to be related
Rev. M. Vesey: The B series letter books, 1702-1786, Vol 1, img 8Missionary in New York, 1733

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Missionaries in America wrote these letters back to the society that sent them

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The importance of the material in this collection from historical research lies not merely in their religious content, but in the fact that missionaries in North America, as elsewhere, were often the only people recording and submitting regular reports of events from remote English-speaking communities around the world. According Isobel Pridmore, former archivist of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, The documents relating to North America here [reproduced] are true archives in Sir Henry Jenkinson's definition of the word: that is, they came into being as a result of the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and have been preserved ever since in its custody. After the first meeting at Lambeth Palace in 1701 the business of the Society was conducted from the office of the Secretary, which was at first his private house. Some of the original letters from missionaries have disappeared during the peregrinations of the Office, as is obvious to anyone who tries to collect all the letters of one man from the various Series. But much the greatest part of this correspondence from overseas has, however, survived from the 18th century...

Contents

America in records from colonial missionaries, 1635-1928...

Containing 33,900 pages belonging to 76 documents housed in 6 volumes...

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Volumes

Supplementary American material, 1821-1928

This supplement to Part 2 of the British records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900 series includes three volumes of copies...

The A series letter books, 1702-1737

This series consists of the manuscript letter books kept by the first three secretaries of the Society. Vols. 1-6 contain...

The B series letter books, 1702-1786

This series contains original in-letters and drafts, or copies, of out-letters. The bulk consists of letters received from the American...

The C series letters, 1635-1812

This series consists mainly of original 18th century letters from the colonies. The reason why they were kept unbound in...

Insights

  • When using these items, a focus on specific events will enable the reader to see how missionaries responded to history, rather than to their finances.
  • The B and C series letterbooks contain reports of life during the American Revolution, with letters written from a variety of states at that time.
  • The supplementary American material includes reports from chaplains who comforted the emigrants that were headed to America.
  • The indexes to these letterbooks often contain little more than names, looking for historical dates within the books will reveal more information.
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