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American Missionary Association archives addenda

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 001-1

Scope and Contents

The 1969 addendum and later addenda to the American Missionary Association archives are mostly twentieth century in scope, covering two main subject areas. The first is the association's numerous schools. These are considered "field" records, or, the fruits of the Association's missionary work outside of its New York City office. The Addendum is divided into three series: Series 1 covers field-related work, mainly the AMA schools; Series 2 covers projects that were run directly form the New York City headquarters, as well as documents both generated and collected by that office; Series 3 is oversized, bound financial ledgers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


The Series 1 field records were arranged alphabetically by state and then by location. The schools with records of considerable volume begin this series, occupying 201 boxes, or approximately 67 linear feet of shelf space. They are followed by a group of "small field records," also arranged alphabetically by state occupying 17 boxes or approximately 6 linear feet of shelf space. These records of field missions in the United States are then followed by records of the AMA's work in Puerto Rico, most of which focus on Ryder Hospital, in Humacau. These manuscripts occupy 19 boxes, or approximately 6 feet of shelf space. The total number of containers for Series 1 comes to 237, covering 79 linear feet. The records for each field location in Series 1 are described by specific scope notes and shelf lists.


Clearly, not all of the Association's five hundred schools are documented within the Addendum. The records retained are not the ones maintained by the schools in the field, but rather the files maintained by the New York office of the AMA. Typical records for each field school include correspondence, minutes, financial records, AMA publications about the given location, and photographs. Other records, which vary from school to school, include the school's own administrative materials, such as employment applications and appointment contracts; student academic records, publications, and papers; manuscript histories of certain schools; and architectural blueprints.


The Series 2 records document the administrative actions of the AMA and the later United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and cover 92 linear feet of shelf space, or 230 boxes. Most of this series is devoted to materials generated or collected by the General Secretary of the AMA, occupying 151 boxes, or, 60.4 linear feet of shelf space. However, the rest of Series 2 is devoted to various portfolio endeavors of the General Secretary, work that was assigned to specific agents on a topic-by-topic basis.


The General Secretary material itself fills 151 boxes, covering 60.4 linear feet of shelf space. These documents include collected items from a wide range of religious and secular groups. The largest such portfolio of topically assigned administrative work in Series 2 is the material documenting the AMA's work with Native Americans. This work was directly overseen by the General Secretary and is therefore included in Series 2. These records cover 26 boxes, or 10.0 linear feet of shelf space.


The second largest such portfolio of topically assigned administrative work in Series 2 is the Race Relations Department of the AMA, which had Drs. Charles Spurgeon Johnson and Herman H. Long as its directors. These records cover 20 boxes, or 8.0 linear feet of shelf space. Although the Department was mainly at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, it was still considered by the General Secretary as an extension of its New York office, so it is included in Series 2. The remaining portfolios, managed by John Moyer, under assignment of the General Secretary, include Coal Miners, Southern Woodcutters, Ministries in the Arts, Highlander Center, and Mexican Americans; these total 4 boxes, or 1.6 linear feet of shelf space.


The Series 3 records occupy twenty-seven oversized boxes, or a total of 28.0 linear feet of shelf space. These records contain financial ledgers and cancelled checks of the AMA, 1859-1937. 1989 addendum includes video "I Remember the Amistad," produced by the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries.


  • Created: 1849-1991
  • Other: Date acquired: 03/31/1969


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Any copy rights such as the donor may possess in this property are hereby dedicated to the public. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.


211.40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

American Missionary Association

Method of Acquisition


Appraisal Information

The collection documents the establishment of various schools founded by the American Missionary Association, as well as the Association's work among various ethnic communities within the United States.

Accruals and Additions

Various addenda have been added to this collection over time.

Related Materials

The original deposit of the American Missionary Association (AMA) archives centers on the Association's establishment of schools and anti-caste churches, mainly in the 19th century. Please see the Amistad Research Center's subject guide to United Church of Christ-related holdings, which includes descriptions of the personal papers of numerous teachers, missionaries, and administrators, as well as the records of organizations, associated with the AMA.

Related Publications

The Amistad Research Center maintains a bibliography of works related to the American Missionary Association. The following works provide substantial coverage of the history of the Association:

Richardson, Joe M. Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890 (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986).

Richardson, Joe M. and Maxine D. Jones. Education for Liberation: The American Missionary Association and African Americans, 1890 to the Civil Rights Movement  (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2009).

Other Descriptive Information

Photographs from the collection have been entered in the digital collection "The American Missionary Association and the Promise of a Multicultural America, 1839-1954" available through the Louisiana Digital Library at the link below.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 1992. Funding to assist with processing provided by The National Endowment for the Humanities, The United States Department of Education, and The Ford Foundation.

American Missionary Association archives addenda
Lester Sullivan and Andrew C. Simons
Description rules
Other Unmapped
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Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222