American Indian Correspondence: the Presbyterian Historical Society Collection of missionaries
letters, 1833-1893
Finding Aid to Record Group 224
16.5 cubic feet

Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516


Presbyterian mission work among Native Americans began in the 18th century. New York Presbytery commissioned the first official American Presbyterian missionary in 1741 for work among the Indians of Long Island. The first official commission under the national structure, the PCUSA, was issued in 1803 for mission work among the Cherokees. The PCUSA also joined the mission efforts of the Dutch Reformed and the Associate Reformed Churches in 1817 to form The Union Foreign Missionary Society, which after a few years was absorbed by the American Board of Commissioners to Foreign Missions.

While many Presbyterians continued to join the combined efforts of the Board, some others preferred a denominational approach and formed the Western Foreign Missionary Society in 1831. By 1837 the WFMS was replaced by the PCUSA's newly created Board of Foreign Missions and the new agency quickly moved to establish mission work among the southern Indian nations.

In the next 55 years, the Board of Foreign Missions, in addition to the Indian Territory missions, established missions among the Chippewas, Ottawas, Dakotas and Sioux in the North; among the Iowas, Omahas, Otoes, Sac and Fox tribes in the Midwest; among the Nez Perce, Sioux and Spokans in the Northwest; among the Navajos, Apaches, Pueblos and Pimas in the far Southwest. In 1870 the ABCFM transferred its Seneca and Ojibwa missions to the Board of Foreign Missions. Beginning in 1884 the Board of Foreign Missions began switching its work among Native Americans to the Board of Home Missions, completing the process by 1893.


The collection consists of correspondence of missionaries written to the secretaries of the ABCFM and the Presbyterian BFM. Documenting the mission work among Native Americans, letters are presumably official in nature but often contain much personal comment and experiences.


The collection has been left in its original arrangement which was also the sequence in which it was microfilmed. A more in-depth finding aid and index exists in the published guide American Indian Correspondence found in the reference section of the library.

Patrons are encouraged to use the microfilm if at all possible.

NOTE: BOX 1 VOL.1 and part of VOL. 2 of originals is in archives box 24.

Collection rehoused and Finding Aid prepared: February-April 1988
Kristin Gleeson, Associate Archivist
Dale Plummer, Archives Technician

Box	Folder	Description
11Finding Aid to Record Group 224
 1-21885-1887, Chippewa, Nez Perce, Seneca
21-21884-1887, Chippewa, Dakota, Nez Perce, Seneca
31-21833-1864, Sac & Ioway, Sioux, Wea
41-31845-1864, Omaha, Otoe, Sac & Ioway
51-31846-1859, Kickapoo, Otoe & Omaha, Sac & Ioway
61-31850-1864, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
71-41838-1864, Chippewa, Ottawa
81-21834-1893, Dakota, Sac & Ioway, Wea
91-21841-1839, Choctaw, Creek
101-21849-1862, Chickasaw, Choctaw
 31843-1887, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
113-41843-1887, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
121-21850-1859, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
A11845-1868, Blackfeet, Iowa, Omaha, Sioux
B1-21844-1870, Chippewa, Iowa, Omaha, Sioux
C11873-1877, Apache, Chippewa, Creek, Navajo, Nez Perce, Seminole
D11875-1880, Chippewa, Navajo, Nez Perce, Omaha
E11878-1880, Chippewa, Creek, Nez Perce, Omaha, Seminole, Seneca
F11880-1881, Chippewa, Creek, Nez Perce,Omaha
G11882-1884, Chippewa, Creek, Dakota, Omaha
H11878-1885, Chippewa, Creek, Omaha
J1-21882-1893, Choctaw, Omaha, Winnebago
K1-41863-1891, Chippewa, Omaha, Winnebago
L11871-1872, Chippewa, Navajo, Nez Perce, Pueblo
M11873, Chippewa, Navajo, Nez Perce
N11872-1875, Chippewa, Nez Perce, Seminole
O11845-1855;1871-1875, Apache, Choctaw, Navajo, Otoe & Omaha, Pueblo
P1-51849-1893, Dakota, Chickasaw, Chippewa, Choctaw, Creek
Q1-101838-1871, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Navajo, Seminole
R11869-1873, Apache, Chippewa, Creek, Navajo, Nez Perce, Omaha, Ottawa, Seminole, Winnebago, Zuni