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COLLECTION Identifier: ABC 19.1-19.7

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Pacific Islands missions records


Letters from missionaries and other documents originating in the various missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to Hawaii, the Caroline, Marshall,and Gilbert islands, and the Philippines.


  • 1819-1960

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted items in the ABCFM collection are materials of the last forty years and some materials specifically marked "Restricted". These items may be examined only with the written permission of the Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries. There are probably no such materials in this series, however.

For parts of the collection that are on microfilm (for which see below), permission of the curator is required to consult the original documents.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to quote from the ABCFM archives for publication should be requested from both Houghton Library and the Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries.


23.5 linear feet (47 boxes)

Letters and documents originating in the American Board missions to the Hawaiian islands, Micronesia, and Philippines.

This finding aid is a detailed guide to ABC 19, a subset of the main Archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABC 1-91); it was partially derived from an ABCFM created table of contents maintained in the main collection as ABC 90.1 (volumes 2-3).

Biographical / Historical

For a general note on the history of the Board and the importance of its archives, see the finding aid to the main collection.

The Hawaiian Islands mission (originally the Sandwich Islands Mission was one of the earliest of the Board's enterprises, beginning in 1819. By 1850 the church in Hawaii was well established, and was reckoned to include a quarter of the islands' population. The Board handed over its business in Hawaii to the native Hawaiian Evangelical Association in 1863. The Micronesian Mission began in 1852 and was worked in cooperation between the Board and the Hawaiian Evangelical Association. Mission stations were established in the Caroline Islands (at Kusaie and Ponape), the Gilberts (at Apaiang) and Marshalls (at Ebon), and were served by ships, usually named Morning Star, belonging to the Board (on which see also ABC 83.2 in the main finding aid). The Philippines mission began in 1903 after the islands became a U. S. possession. By agreement with other missionary societies the Board was allocated the island of Mindanao.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. ABC 19.1 Hawaiian Islands mission
  2. ABC 19.2 Hawaiian Islands mission. Treasury department
  3. ABC 19.3 Hawaiian Islands mission. Miscellaneous
  4. ABC 19.4 Micronesia mission
  5. ABC 19.5 Micronesia mission. Woman's board
  6. ABC 19.6 Micronesia mission. Miscellaneous
  7. ABC 19.7 Philippine Islands mission

Note that for some items that are bound volumes, there is a number in square brackets at the end of the description in this finding aid . This is a number on the spine of the volume, following an old scheme of classification in the ABCFM's own library. Numbers after the names of correspondents refer to the item-numbers of the documents within the volume.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited by Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1100, Phone: 216/ 736-3200; Fax: 216 736-3203.

Wider Church Ministries is a ministry of the United Church of Christ and successor of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).

This series is part of the ABCFM collection received on deposit from the ABCFM in 1944.

Existence and Location of Copies

Research Publications Ltd. (now Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of the Gale Group) filmed a considerable part of the collection in the early 1980s, their focus being the correspondence to and from the field before 1919. For the contents of the 858 rolls of film, download the reel listing, or see the printed edition Papers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions: Guide to the microfilm collection (1994), shelved in the Houghton Reading Room. A set of the microfilm is in Lamont Library, call number Film A467 (see HOLLIS record 1113915 ).

Related Materials

This finding aid is a detailed guide to one series (ABC 19) within the Archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABC 1-91). Documents originating in the Board offices, such as copies of outgoing correspondence to the missions, as well as personal papers of the missionaries, photographs, and maps, are not covered here. For all these, consult the main finding aid for the collection.

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Pacific Islands missions records, 1819-1960: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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