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Sereno Edwards Bishop Papers: Finding Aid
mssBSH 1-943, FAC 933-944  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Sereno Edwards Bishop Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1795-1937
    Bulk dates: 1852-1884
    Collection Number: mssBSH 1-943, FAC 933-944
    Creator: Bishop, Sereno Edwards, 1827-1909.
    Extent: 956 pieces in 10 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Architecture Collections
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains the papers of Hawaiian Presbyterian missionary and scientist Sereno Edwards Bishop (1827-1909) and three generations of the Bishop family, chiefly dating from 1852 to 1884. Subject matter includes: Hawaii and Hawaiian life; education both in Hawaii and Amherst, Massachusetts; travel; and missionary work.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Sereno Edwards Bishop Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Robert Van Dyke, 1977.

    Biographical Note

    Sereno Edwards Bishop (1827-1909), son of Presbyterian missionary Artemas Bishop (1795-1872), was born in Kaawaloa, Hawaii, educated at Amherst College, Massachusetts, and returned to Hawaii as a teacher at Lahainaluna Seminary and as a missionary. He wrote widely on native and public affairs, and married Cornelia Ann Sessions Bishop (1826-1920) in 1852.
    Sereno and Cornelia Bishop had five children: Edward Bishop (1853-1875), Charles Bishop (1855-1857), George Bishop (1856-1859), John Sessions Bishop (1859-1951), and Elizabeth Delia Bishop Shaw (1862-1937).
    Bishop's father Artemas Bishop was 27 years old and had been married only about 10 days when he and his wife Elizabeth Edwards Bishop (1796-1828) sailed on the Thames in November 1822 from New Haven, Connecticut, to Hawaii with the second missionary company. 158 days later they reached Honolulu. Elizabeth lived only six years after leaving her home, and left two children, Jane Elizabeth (1825-1904) and Sereno Edwards. After Elizabeth's death, Artemas married Delia Stone (1800-1875), who had arrived as an unmarried member of the third missionary company. Delia aided her husband and was a teacher in the missionary school.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains the papers of Hawaiian missionary and scientist Sereno Edwards Bishop, his father, Artemas Bishop, and the Bishop family. This collection condenses nearly a century of missionary life on the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands, and subject matter includes: Hawaii and Hawaiian life; education both in Hawaii and Amherst, Massachusetts; travel; and missionary work.
    Mainly the papers of Sereno Edwards Bishop, the collection contains letters between Artemas and Sereno. Father and son consulted and discussed widely affairs of family, mission and school, world events, and biblical interpretations in the candid, open way possible only between persons who fully trust each other. These discussions likely influenced Sereno's attitudes and success as a writer and editor, and encouraged him in his scientific investigations such as on the effects of volcanic eruptions on atmospheric conditions. Letters between Sereno and his wife, Cornelia Ann (Sessions) Bishop, give a comprehensive picture of life on the Islands through the decades 1850s-1880s. There are also letters from other family members, and from friends, missionaries, and business associates, both in the Islands and on the mainland. The collection also contains several journals.
    Of the journals in the collection, of note is a journal of Cornelia Ann Sessions Bishop (written between 1856-1862) (BSH 509) and a journal of Sereno E. Bishop kept in passage from Hawaii to Newport, Rhode Island, on the ship, William Lee (1839-1840), which discusses whaling (BSH 708). There is also a manuscript "Childhood Recollections of the Old Mission House, between 1831 and 1839" by Sereno E. Bishop (BSH 709).
    Correspondents represented in the collection include: the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, American Seamen's Friend Society, Artemas Bishop, Cornelia Ann Sessions Bishop, Edward Fletcher Bishop, Luther Halsey Gulick, Albert Francis Judd, and John Sessions.
    Individuals represented by more than 5 pieces include:
    • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (5 pieces)
    • American Seamen's Friend Society (9 pieces)
    • Andrews, Claudius B. (17 pieces)
    • Andrews, Lorrin A. (10 pieces)
    • Andrews, Martha (5 pieces)
    • Bicknell, James (13 pieces)
    • Bingham, Elizabeth K. (10 pieces)
    • Bishop, Alice (Moore) (5 pieces)
    • Bishop, Artemas (262 pieces)
    • Bishop, Cornelia Ann (Sessions) (173 pieces)
    • Bishop, Edward Fletcher (25 pieces)
    • Bishop, John Sessions (18 pieces)
    • Bishop, Sereno Edwards (161 pieces)
    • Bishop, William R. (6 pieces)
    • Carpenter, Helen E. (12 pieces)
    • Forbes, Anderson O. (20 pieces)
    • Gulick, Luther Halsey (10 pieces)
    • Hillebrand, Jane Elizabeth (Bishop) (18 pieces)
    • Judd, A. Francis (6 pieces)
    • Sessions, Edward C. (31 pieces)
    • Sessions, John (10 pieces)
    • Shaw, Elizabeth Delia (Bishop) (8 pieces)


    The collection is arranged chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Bishop, Artemas, 1795-1872.
    Bishop, Cornelia Ann Sessions.
    Bishop, Edward Fletcher.
    Bishop, Sereno Edwards, 1827-1909.
    Lahainaluna Seminary -- Faculty -- Archives.
    William Lee (Ship)
    Education -- Hawaii.
    Education -- Massachusetts -- Amherst.
    Educators -- Hawaii.
    Missionaries -- Hawaii -- 19th century -- Archives.
    Missionaries' spouses -- Hawaii -- Correspondence.
    Missions -- Hawaii -- History -- Sources.
    Hawaii -- Church history.
    Hawaii -- Description and travel.
    Hawaii -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Hawaii -- History -- To 1893 -- Sources.
    Hawaii -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.


    Journals -- Hawaii.
    Letters (correspondence) -- Hawaii.

    Alternate Authors

    Bishop, Artemas, 1795-1872.
    Bishop, Cornelia Ann Sessions.
    Bishop, Edward Fletcher.
    Gulick, Luther Halsey, 1828-1891.
    Judd, A. F. (Albert Francis), 1874-1939.
    Sessions, John, 1795-1884.
    American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
    American Seamen's Friend Society.