Alfred North Correspondence and Other Documents, 1832-1869 (MSS 0138)

Restrictions: The original journal is restricted for preservation. Please consult microfilm and digitial surrogates.

Extent: 0.4 Linear feet (1 archives box)

View OnlineSelected materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online.

Papers of Alfred North (1807-1869), Presbyterian missionary, minister, and printer. North served in missions abroad for the American Board in Singapore (1836-1843) and Madura, India (1843-1847). He subsequently worked as a minister in New York, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin until his death in 1869.

Alfred North was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on March 10, 1807. In 1832, he went to Utica, New York, where he attended a denominational school, studied religion, and trained to be a printer.

He became a Presbyterian missionary and, in 1835, was assigned to Singapore by the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. For eight years he served as superintendent of the printing department at the Singapore Mission, teacher, and preacher. After the Singapore mission closed in 1843, North moved with his wife, Minerva, and four children to the Madura Mission in India. Shortly after his arrival, he lost his wife to cholera.

North returned to the United States in 1847 and focused on preaching. He worked in Trenton, Middlefield, Pittsford, and Attica, New York; Kansas City, Kansas; Tipton, Missouri; and Chilton, Wisconsin. Alfred North died on March 3, 1869 of pneumonia.

For an extensive biographical essay on Alfred North, see Mary North Shimkin's family history Descendants of John North of Farmington, Connecticut (1987) in this collection.

A small collection including correspondence, a journal, and family geneological material relating to Alfred North (1807-1869), an American Presbyterian minister who served on international missions in Singapore from 1836 to 1843, and Madura, India from 1843 to 1847. Returning to the United States, North devoted himself to home missions in Trenton, Middlefield, Pittsford, LeRoy, and Attica, New York; Kansas City, Kansas; Tipton, Missouri; and Chilton, Wisconsin.

The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters written by North to his friend and fellow preacher A. V. Marvin, dating from 1856 to 1867. The letters primarily document North's personal reflections on religious life and morality, but also touch on the American Civil War and include detailed descriptions of Protestant sects and religious and intellectual culture in postwar Missouri. In an earlier 1844 letter to his father, Nathan North, Alfred describes the loss of his wife Minerva to cholera in Madura.

North's journal dates from 1835-1836, when he and his wife made the voyage from Boston to the mission at Singapore. The 171-day voyage took them from the eastern seaboard to Trinidad, down the coast of South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean to Batavia, Java, and finally (on a different ship) onto Singapore. The journal records observations of daily life on board the ship and the various ports of call.

Arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) JOURNAL, and 3) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.

For a detailed biography of the North family and their descendants, including selective transcriptions of documents in this collection, see Mary North Shimkin's history entitled: Descendants of John North of Farmington, Connecticut. 1987.

The 1844 cholera letter from India was partially published in Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia ser.5, vol.5, no.1 (1983): 13-17.

Container List

CORRESPONDENCE

Box: 1 Folder: 2

This folder of letters includes a letter from North's bookbinder (20 March 1843); a letter from a student at the Madura mission to North's mother (8 December 1846); a letter from North's sister, Anna, to Mr. Dickinson shortly after Alfred's death (10 April 1869); a letter from A. P. Marvin to Anna (9 April 1869); and three letters from Mary A. Marvin, A. P. Marvin's daughter, to Thomas H. North, Alfred's son, regarding the return of his father's letters.

JOURNAL

Box: 1 Folder: 3

North's travel journal dates from 1835-1836, when he and his wife Minerva made the voyage from Boston to the American Board mission at Singapore. The 171-day voyage took them from the eastern seaboard to Trinidad, down the coast of South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean to Batavia, Java, and finally (on a different ship) onto Singapore. The diary records North's detailed observations of daily life on board the ship and the various ports of call.

Original restricted (digital version available).

MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS

Box: 1 Folder: 4

Example of printing by Alfred North.

Box: 1 Folder: 5
Family research materials collected by Mary Shimkin
Box: 1 Folder: 6
Mary North Shimkin. Descendants of John North of Farmington, Connecticut, 1987

Self-published family history.