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Andover Newton Theological School Collection of Linguistic and Missionary Material, 1751, 1805-1958

Identifier: MSS 690

Scope and Content Note

The Andover Newton Theological School Collection contains materials collected by the institution and its predecessors, in addition to some institutional records. The majority of the materials collected are linguistic, representing written samples of multiple languages. Other material collected appears to be from various missionary work, including articles, pamphlets, sermons, photographs, and maps. A number of items were originally part of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions' library, Newton Theological Institution's library, and Andover Newton Theological's library. Most of the material has a typed note as to what it is and when it was received by the donor. All non-English item descriptions used in this finding aid are from these notes; there may be inaccuracies. While a number of non-English items are listed as undated, they may contain dates in another language that were not identified by the original translator. This collection has been divided into three series.

Series I. Linguistic Materials contains written samples of multiple languages. This includes posters, correspondence, dictionaries, manuscripts, school workbooks, newspapers, and scriptures. These have been arranged alphabetically by language: Arabic, Armenian, Cherokee, Chinese, Dayak, Greek, Hebrew, Mahratta, Malagasy, Marathi, Persian, Russian, Samaritan, Siamese, Swahili, Syriac, Tamil, and Turkish. The tract written in Dyak was written by Reverend Frederick B. Thompson (1809-1848), who was a missionary to Borneo from 1838 to 1848. The Tamil dictionary was prepared by Levi Spaulding, and written out by the girls in the Female Boarding School in Oodooville, Ceylon.

Series II. Missionary Work contains materials about various religious missionaries, missions, or materials about the countries or peoples in which the missionaries had an interest. Included in this series are memoirs, articles, a copy of the constitution of the Original Hawaiian Church, pamphlets, a manuscript, a script of a play, sermons, images, maps, architectural drawings, and an Indian train schedule. The sermons include notes of sermons preached by Jonathan Edwards before the Mohawk people in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in January and February 1751 (box 4, folder 8), and one preached by Samuel Austin Worcester in 1832, in a Georgia penitentiary where he was confined for teaching Cherokees (box 4, folder 9). Caution must be used when opening the periodical An Indian Dream, as some of the pages are torn (box 4, folder 1), and when viewing the glass plate negative, as a corner has broken off (box 4, folder 10).

Also included in this series are receipts for mission donations, and four boxes of daguerreotypes. The daguerreotypes are restricted due to their fragility; however, images of each item are available in the reading room, and details of each item can be found in Appendix II.

Series III. Collections Records contains records about the Andover Newton Theological Society and its predecessors' various collections, or collections they were interested in.

Series IV. Other contains miscellaneous items such as correspondence, a copy of an address given at Newton Theological, statistics of Boston area churches in 1908, and two copper printing plates from the Printing House.


  • Creation: 1751, 1805-1958


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use. Due to the size and fragile nature of some of the material, photocopying is at the discretion of the library staff. Access to the ten boxes of daguerreotypes and tintypes is restricted. Photographs of the items are available to view in the reading room, or in Appendix III, with details of each image in Appendix II. Gloves must be worn to handle the copper printing plates (box 20, folder 8).

Historical Sketch

The Andover Theological Seminary was founded in 1807, in Andover, Massachusetts, primarily for the education of congregational ministers ("History"). It was made possible through gifts from the widow of Judge John Phillips, John Phillips Jr., and Samuel Abbot, for a "public theological institution in Phillips Academy" (Rowe 13). Abbot's gift included funds for a professor of theology, the first such chair outside of a university in America. In 1808, another religious group, the Hopkinsians, approached the trustees of the Phillips Academy with an offer to the join the seminary in exchange for providing financial support for two professors and student aid; the offer was accepted (Rowe 13-18).

Steady decline in attendance led to the relocation of the school to Cambridge, and an affiliation with Harvard Divinity School in 1908. The affiliation would not change the charter, constitution, or organization of the seminary (Rowe 192). On campus, Andover Hall was dedicated in 1911, to house classrooms, a chapel, dormitories, and the Andover Harvard library (Rowe 197). By 1931, "continual objection to the Harvard affiliation made resumption of the arrangement at Cambridge impracticable. Yet Andover lacked an endowment sufficient to continue instruction alone, and since the old buildings in Andover had been disposed of to the [Phillips] Academy in 1908, and Andover Hall in Cambridge was not available, the Seminary was in a dilemma" (Row 203).

An invitation to join the Newton Theological Institution provided the seminary with a new home. The Newton Theological Institution was founded in 1825, in Newton, Massachusetts, for the education of Baptist ministers ("History"). Although the institutions were of different denominations, Newton was Baptist, and Andover Congregational, they had similar backgrounds, and each "had a rich missionary heritage" (Rowe 203-4). Andover's library remained on deposit at Harvard in Andover Hall, and is added to continuously ("Mission and History").

On May 25, 1825, a meeting of Baptist ministers and laymen met in the First Baptist Meeting House of Boston, and determined that a theological institution should be established in the vicinity of Boston. It was requested by those at the meeting that the Massachusetts Baptist Education Society take the initiative to fund the proposed institution (Pierce xi). While the Society set about procuring a location, classes began November 28, 1825, at the home of Reverend Irah Chase in Newton. Shortly thereafter they purchased the Peck Estate in Newton Centre, a house built in 1796, and set on 80 acres. Additional buildings were added in 1827, 1866, 1873, and 1895 (Pierce xii-xiii). Financial difficulties and a decline in student enrollment led to the negotiations with Andover Theological Seminary (Pierce xiii).

Instruction began at the Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1931 (Rowe 204). In 2017, the school became affiliated with Yale Divinity School, in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold its Newton campus. The school continued to operate out of its Newton location until 2018, when it closed its doors and moved to Yale University; it is now referred to as the Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School ("History").


19.5 linear feet (20 boxes; 3 flat files)

Language of Materials



The Andover Newton Theological School Collection contains materials collected by the institution and its predecessors, in addition to some institutional records.

Series List

SERIES I. Linguistic Materials

SERIES II. Missionary Work

SERIES III. Collections Records


Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was donated by the Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, on September 19, 2017 (PEM accession #2017.66). The material had previously been placed on deposit with the Peabody Museum on March 2, 1976 (accession #20,875), and on March 21, 1980 (accession #22,134). The Peabody Museum referred to the collection as E 6.

50 printed items were removed from this collection and added to the Phillips Library's print collection; they can be found by searching the library's online catalog. See Appendix I for a complete inventory. An accession book was removed from this collection and placed in the Peabody Essex Museum's Collection Documentation Center.

Bibliography and Related Collections

Andover-Harvard Theological Library. "Mission and History." Accessed December 13, 2018.

Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School. "History." Accessed December 13, 2018,

Photographs of Hawaiian Royalty, the Royal Palace, Volcano Road, and More, 1892-1896, undated, PHA 186.

Pierce, Ronald Donald ed. General Catalog of the Newton Theological Institution 1826-1943.

Newton Centre, MA: The Newton Theological Institution, 1943.

Rowe, Henry K. History of Andover Theological Seminary. Newton, Massachusetts: Thomas Todd Company Printers of Boston, 1933.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, July 2019.

Processed by: Hilary Streifer; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA