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North (Alfred) Correspondence and Other Documents
MSS 0138  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Restrictions
  • Related Materials
  • Digital Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Alfred North Correspondence and Other Documents
    Creator: North, Alfred, 1807-1869
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0138
    Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet (1 archives box)
    Date (inclusive): 1832-1869
    Abstract: Papers of Alfred North (1807-1869), Presbyterian missionary, minister, and printer. North served in missions abroad for the American Board in Singapore (1836-1843) and Madura, India (1843-1847). He subsequently worked as a minister in New York, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin until his death in 1869.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    A small collection including correspondence, a journal, and family geneological material relating to Alfred North (1807-1869), an American Presbyterian minister who served on international missions in Singapore from 1836 to 1843, and Madura, India from 1843 to 1847. Returning to the United States, North devoted himself to home missions in Trenton, Middlefield, Pittsford, LeRoy, and Attica, New York; Kansas City, Kansas; Tipton, Missouri; and Chilton, Wisconsin.
    The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters written by North to his friend and fellow preacher A. V. Marvin, dating from 1856 to 1867. The letters primarily document North's personal reflections on religious life and morality, but also touch on the American Civil War and include detailed descriptions of Protestant sects and religious and intellectual culture in postwar Missouri. In an earlier 1844 letter to his father, Nathan North, Alfred describes the loss of his wife Minerva to cholera in Madura.
    North's journal dates from 1835-1836, when he and his wife made the voyage from Boston to the mission at Singapore. The 171-day voyage took them from the eastern seaboard to Trinidad, down the coast of South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean to Batavia, Java, and finally (on a different ship) onto Singapore. The journal records observations of daily life on board the ship and the various ports of call.
    Arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) JOURNAL, and 3) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.


    Alfred North was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on March 10, 1807. In 1832, he went to Utica, New York, where he attended a denominational school, studied religion, and trained to be a printer.
    He became a Presbyterian missionary and, in 1835, was assigned to Singapore by the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. For eight years he served as superintendent of the printing department at the Singapore Mission, teacher, and preacher. After the Singapore mission closed in 1843, North moved with his wife, Minerva, and four children to the Madura Mission in India. Shortly after his arrival, he lost his wife to cholera.
    North returned to the United States in 1847 and focused on preaching. He worked in Trenton, Middlefield, Pittsford, and Attica, New York; Kansas City, Kansas; Tipton, Missouri; and Chilton, Wisconsin. Alfred North died on March 3, 1869 of pneumonia.
    For an extensive biographical essay on Alfred North, see Mary North Shimkin's family history Descendants of John North of Farmington, Connecticut (1987) in this collection.

    Publication Rights

    Digital copies of this material are intended to support research, teaching, and private study. This work may be used without prior permission. The original manuscripts for this collection are held by Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.

    Preferred Citation

    Alfred North Correspondence and Other Documents. MSS 138. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1988


    The original journal is restricted for preservation. Please consult microfilm and digitial surrogates.

    Related Materials

    For a detailed biography of the North family and their descendants, including selective transcriptions of documents in this collection, see Mary North Shimkin's history entitled: Descendants of John North of Farmington, Connecticut. 1987.
    The 1844 cholera letter from India was partially published in Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia ser.5, vol.5, no.1 (1983): 13-17.

    Digital Content

    Selected materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Diaries -- 19th century
    Missionaries -- China -- Biography
    Singapore -- Description and travel
    Cape Town (South Africa) -- Description and travel
    Madurai (India : District) -- Description and travel
    Missionaries -- United States -- Biography
    Shimkin, Mary North, 1915-
    North, Alfred, 1807-1869 -- Archives