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Guide to the Alexander Family Papers, 1818-1956
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Collection Overview
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Include papers of William P. Alexander, pioneer missionary to the Sandwich Islands (letters and journals); letters written by his wife, Mary Ann (McKinney) Alexander; and papers of their son William DeWitt Alexander, including letters from Hiram Bingham, James Dwight Dana, George Davidson, Nathaniel Bright Emerson, Chester S. Lyman, Susan Lincoln Tolman Mills, William E. Safford, Cyrus Thomas, etc.
Both William Patterson Alexander (1805-1884) and Dwight Baldwin (1798-1886) were pioneer missionaries to the Sandwich Islands. In December, 1830, Dr. Baldwin, having just completed his medical studies at Harvard, married Charlotte Fowler and set sail with three other bridal, missionary couples aboard a whaler from New Bedford, Massachusetts (The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions had recently decreed that only missionaries accompanied by their wives should be sent out.). In November 1831, William P. Alexander and his bride of less than a month, Mary Ann McKinney, also sailed from New Bedford on a whaler, in company with eight other missionary couples. In each case bride and bridegroom were practically strangers to each other, for neither couple had even met each other until a few weeks before embarking together, not only on a long and perilous journey, but upon a life-long association in strange and savage lands far from family and friends. However, both of the marriages turned out to be singularly happy, and the families, united by their mutual labors and also by marriages of their children, unusually close-knit and harmonious.
Number of microfilm reels: 6
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Collection is open for research.