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COLLECTION Identifier: MS AmW 105

William Hobart Hare missions papers


American Episcopal bishop, William Hobart Hare's papers relating to his missionary work with the Dakota Indians and in Japan.


  • 1872-1910

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English, and a few in Dakota and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


3 linear feet (4 boxes)

Includes correspondence, writings, notes, clippings, leaflets, pamphlets, reports, and other printed material related to Bishop Hare's missionary work. Collection is primarily on missions in South Dakota, but also includes Japan, where Bishop Hare was sent by the church in 1891-1892.

Biographical / Historical

William Hobart Hare (1838-1909) was an Episcopal bishop and missionary to the Dakota [Sioux] Indians. Hare was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Elizabeth Catherine Hobart and George Emlen Hare. His father was a biblical scholar and dean of the Philadelphia Divinity School. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, though he did not graduate. He began his ministry as an assistant at St. Luke's Church in Philadelphia, where Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe was the rector. In 1861 Hare married Howe's daughter Mary Amory Howe. By 1863 he moved to Michigan and then Minnesota to help his wife's health, but soon returned East and in 1866 his wife died in Philadelphia. They had one child, a son Hobart Amory Hare.

Hare held various positions in the Episcopal church and in November of 1872 he was elected missionary bishop of Niobrara and ordained and consecrated in January of 1873. In 1883 he became missionary bishop of South Dakota, then including both white districts and native peoples. He divided the district into divisions, each connected with a United States Indian Agency, each with a experienced overseer to supervise the Indian ministers while Hare served as general superintendent. He also established numerous Indian boarding schools to train Indian boys to be teachers and missionaries, as well as the All Saints School for girls in Sioux Falls for the daughters of his missionaries and other white girls. He came to be known as the "Apostle to the Sioux."

In February of 1891-1892 he spent many months in Japan to administer the affairs of that jurisdiction, and also spent some time in Europe to ease his heart problems. Hare died in 1909 and was buried beside Calvary Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. May 17 is celebrated on the Episcopal calendar as a feast day in honor of William Hobart Hare.

Source: Donald S. Armentrout "Hare, William Hobart" American National Biography Online, Feb. 2000.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. William Hobart Hare papers concerning his mission to Japan, 1891-1892
  2. ___A. Correspondence
  3. ___B. Compositions
  4. II. William Hobart Hare papers concerning Dakota "Indians" missions
  5. ___A. Correspondence
  6. ___B. Compositions
  7. ___C. Printed material

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Gift of Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe, A.B. 1887; received: 1916 August 16.

Forms part of the collection of Western Americana manuscripts at Houghton Library, collected under the auspices of the Harvard Commission on Western History.

Related Materials

See also collections on Bishop Hare at:

  1. Hare papers, and Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota Archives, Center for Western Studies, Archives & Manuscript Collection, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  2. Hare Papers, Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
  3. Hare Papers, and Episcopal Ministry to the Sioux Records, at the State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, South Dakota.
  4. Archives of the Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas.

See HOLLIS for additional printed material by or about Bishop Hare held by Harvard repositories.

Separated Materials

Duplicate printed material removed to Gifts and Exchange.


The life and letters of Bishop Hare : apostle to the Sioux by M. A. DeWolfe Howe. New York: Sturgis & Walton Company,1911.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Hare, William Hobart, 1838-1909. William Hobart Hare missions papers, 1872-1910: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
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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