Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Alfred North Correspondence and Other Documents
North, Alfred, 1807-1869
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0138
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.
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.
Alfred North Correspondence and Other Documents. MSS 138. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
The original journal is restricted for preservation. Please consult microfilm and digitial surrogates.
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.
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