Manuscripts Collection


The Society serves as the archives for the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, including the official papers of the diocesan bishops.

Diocesan Records and Bishops' Papers

Episcopal Church. Diocese of Minnesota. Diocesan records, 1823-[ongoing].
The records of the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Minnesota, cover the period from the arrival of the first Episcopal missionaries into the area in the 1820s through the bishopric of Philip F. McNairy, which ended in 1979. They document the organization, administration, and history of the diocese and its parishes and missions. There is information on its history and parishes, its domestic and Indian missionary policies and activities, its diocesan and clerical structure and organizations, its affiliated schools and hospitals, the Bishop Seabury Mission and Seabury Divinity School, the Diocese of Duluth (1895-1944), and the 1954 Anglican Congress held in Minneapolis. There are record books from a number of older parishes, as well as extensive data compiled by diocesan historian George C. Tanner.

Diocese of Duluth records, 1895-1956.
Correspondence, minutes, legal documents, financial records, printed materials, and miscellany documenting the administration, finances, and property holdings of the Diocese of Duluth, from its inception in 1895 through its 1944 merger with the Diocese of Minnesota. Most are files of Jay W. Lyder, treasurer of the diocese from 1908 to 1924, and of Charles H. Richter, diocesan chancellor from 1930 to 1948. The files also provide information on candidates for ordination to the ministry; missionary work among the Ojibwe; major revisions made to the diocesan constitution and canons in 1938; parish finances and support; details of the merger with the Diocese of Minnesota and subsequent merger of the two property-holding corporations; the diocese's investments in building bonds and other properties; and a legacy left ot the diocese by Lucy M. Warner. Also present is Lyder's personal file on the Port Authority of Duluth, of which he was president and secretary (1933-1937).

Henry B. Whipple papers, 1833-1934.
Whipple's correspondence, diaries, sermons, reminiscences, and other materials as the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of Minnesota (1859-1901) and as a reformer of the United States Indian service. They provide information particularly on ecclesiastical policy, Diocese of Minnesota matters, Indian missions, government relations with the Indians, and the Indian rights movement of the latter 19th century. There is a wealth of material on diocesan administration and finances, church building, church services, and the recruitment of clergy. There are insights into Episcopal doctrine, the dichotomy between high and low churchmen, and relations with other churches, particularly the Anglican, Catholic and Swedish. Whipple corresponded with his clergy, many of whom founded the first churches in their areas; with missionaries to the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians, notably Enmegahbowh, Joseph A. Gilfillan, and Samuel Hinman; with men in public life throughout the state and nation; with Indians and mixed-bloods; with other bishops throughout the United States, Canada and England; and with the many philanthropists who contributed money and goods to his church work, Indian missions, and the diocesan schools: St. Mary's School for girls, Seabury Divinity School, and Shattuck School for boys. As an advocate for reform of U.S. Indian affairs administration, Whipple corresponded with all of the presidents from Buchanan to McKinley; with the commissioners of Indian affairs and secretaries of the interior, particularly Orville H. Browning, William P. Dole, George W. Manypenny, and Erasmus P. Smith; with other reformers, notably Benjamin Hallowell, Helen Hunt Jackson and William Welsh; and with officeholders in the Indian service. He was particularly concerned about treatment of the Dakota and Ojibwe in Minnesota and about a humane response to the 1862 Dakota Conflict. He served on several commissions appointed to negotiate treaties or oversee the Indians' welfare, including distribution of supplies to the Sisseton and Wahpeton in Dakota Territory (1868-1870), the Sioux Commission (1876), the Northwest Indian Commission (1886), several Ojibwe annuity commissions (1860s), and the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners (1895-1901). Other topics are the White Earth Indian Reservation; timber frauds and Amherst H. Wilder's alleged connection therewith; the Pan-Anglican (Lambeth) conferences of 1888 and 1897; missionary work in the Caribbean; attitudes toward African-Americans; and his winter residence in Maitland, Florida. Some materials document his rectorships at Rome, New York (1849-1857) and in Chicago (1857-1859), and a journey through the South in 1843-1844.


Cass Lake Indian Convocation record book, 1924-1943.
Record book including the names of delegates, both Indian and white, who attended the annual Indian Convocation held at the Cass Lake Mission from 1924, when the Diocese of Duluth acquired and improved the property, until 1943, when the Duluth Diocese merged with the Diocese of Minnesota.

Episcopal Churchwomen records, 1882-1992.
Minutes and related papers (1882-1984); financial records (1901-1985); reports (1961-1979); yearbooks, handbooks, and directories (1959-1990); annual meeting files (1985-1992); and historical information, constitutions, and bylaws (1882-1955) created by an organization founded in 1882 as a cooperative effort by Episcopal women to raise funds for missionaries and their families, later expanding its work to encompass all types of social action on behalf of diverse groups. Other items of interest include information on purchasing and distributing food and clothing to missions in Minnesota and elsewhere, with detailed lists of items purchased and their cost, and files containing historical data on Episcopal parishes in Minnesota (1981), which information was used in the preparation of a manuscript celebrating the centennial of the organization.

Province of the Northwest records, 1914-1942.
Synod reports, minutes of meetings (1914-1940), programs, clippings, correspondence, journals, constitution, and notes, with information about missions maintained by the church, finances, women's auxiliary activities, a survey of the African American population in the Northwest, religious education in schools for the deaf, young people's work, members of the clergy, rural churches, and committee assignments.


Denzil A. Carty papers, 1931-1975.
Biographical information, correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, and printed materials documenting activities of Black Episcopal priest Denzil Carty in the Protestant Episcopal Church and in many racial, interracial, and interdenominational organizations in St. Paul (Minn.). Carty, born in the British West Indies in 1904, was educated and ordained in New York City, served as a chaplain in World War II, and came to St. Paul in 1950 as rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, remaining there until his 1975 retirement. The papers reveal Carty's activities in the following organizations: American Legion, Department of Minnesota; Fair Employment Practices Commission; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; St. Paul Urban Coalition; St. Paul Urban League; St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority; the St. Paul and Minnesota councils of human and civil rights; and the St. Paul Opportunities and Industrialization Center. Civil and human rights organizations and activities, especially in St. Paul and Minnesota, are well documented in the papers, as are evidences of discrimination in schooling, housing and employment. Carty took an active role in the organizations noted above and worked closely with civic, religious, and political leaders on the local, state and national levels.

John Johnson Enmegahbowh letters, 1870-1879.
Letters from an Ottawa Indian Episcopal Priest, a missionary to the Chippewa Indians on the White Earth Reservation (Minn.), to the Rev. Samuel Hollingsworth (Greenfield, Mass. and Port Chester, N.Y.). Summary: Throughout the letters Enmegahbowh describes his work ministering to, and converting to Christianity, the White Earth Chippewa community; describes his work teaching school on the reservation; offers his thanks to eastern white congregations for their donations of money, clothing, and other gifts to the Chippewa; and seeks further donations. In most letters he also relates the Christian religious concepts that he presents to the Chippewa; stories of particular conversions he has witnessed; and his personal joy at his own conversion and that of his community, about 450 of whom were Christianized by 1879.

John B. Foster papers, 1928-1984.
Letters, diaries, printed matter, memorabilia, photographs, and other items focusing on Foster's work in China as an Episcopal lay missionary and teacher (1934-1942) and as an editor, broadcaster, and foreign affairs officer for the U.S. government (1942-1947). Summary: His letters for 1934-1937 discuss teaching and missionary duties at Central China College in Wuchang and Kunming, college life and social activities, Chinese students and townspeople, work of other missionaries and Christian colleges in China, and his membership in a local chapter of the Oxford Group Movement.

Ezekiel G. Gear and family papers, 1833-1926.
Manuscript sermons (1833-1850) of Gear, the first Protestant Episcopal chaplain at Fort Snelling; his letters from Fort Ripley (1860-1867); scrapbook of articles by him on missionary work among the Ojibwe done by Bishop Henry B. Whipple and others; his War Dept. retirement file (1867-1873, on microfilm); and obituaries, genealogical data, and other personal and family memorabilia.

Mahlon N. Gilbert and family papers, 1881-1912.
Memoranda, biographical data, sermons, correspondence, invitations, clippings, account books, and leaflets relating to Gilbert's work as Protestant Episcopal rector of churches in Montana and of Christ Episcopal Church in St. Paul, and as assistant bishop (1886-1900) of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota; his attendance at the Lambeth Conference (1897) in London; and his death and funeral. There are a few photographs and memorabilia of his daughters Lucy Gilbert and Frances Gilbert Cheney.

Joseph A. Gilfillan and family papers, 1872-1940.
Correspondence, articles, translations, and miscellany concerning Gilfillan's work as a Protestant Episcopal missionary on the White Earth Indian Reservation (1872-1898) and his study of Ojibwe language and culture.

Charles John Ingles journals, 1884-1897.
The journals (1,436 pages), kept by Ingles while working for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Library and the Great Northern Railway Company, are rich in detail on the social and cultural history of St. Paul. He discusses theaters, civic events and celebrations, social activities, services at Christ Episcopal and other churches, work routines at the library (1880s), and his travels throughout the United States as a railroad claims investigator (1890s). Mounted in the journals are programs and clippings on local churches and on civic events, especially the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Viola C. McConnell papers, 1917-1991.
Correspondence, minutes and other organization records, historical sketches, records of anniversary celebrations, photographs (undated and 1953-1954), and other papers documenting McConnell's activities in Church Women United in Minnesota (1941-1987); Episcopal Churchwomen, Diocese of Minnesota (1967-1990); the Religious Public Relations Council (1965-1989); and as a public relations worker for the Protestant Episcopal Church Diocese of Minnesota (1942-1987). The collection also documents her civic activities in the Fifth Precinct Advisory Council of the Minneapolis Police Department (1978-1983), the Minnesota International Center (1959-1980), and the Ard Godfrey House Restoration Project (1984-1985) of the Woman's Club of Minneapolis. A few family-related materials (1917-1991) round out the collection.

E. Steele Peake and family papers, 1853-1930.
Diaries, correspondence, reminiscences, and other papers of this Protestant Episcopal missionary to the Ojibwe Indians, Civil War chaplain, and home missionary and pastor in California, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The diaries (1850-1905) cover Peake's missionary activities at Crow Wing, Fort Ripley, and Gull Lake (Minn.); his Civil War service as chaplain of the Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Infantry; his pastoral service at Austin, Detroit, Faribault, and Moorhead, Minnesota; and his service in California (1867-1878) and in Valley City, N. Dak. (1878-1889). They provide information on pastoral calls, sermons, baptisms, marriages, confirmations, St. Mary's Hall in Faribault, and the Protestant Episcopal Home in St. Paul. Peake's correspondents included such important Episcopal figures as the Reverend Ezekiel Gear, the Reverend Joseph A. Gilfillan, Bishops Henry B. Whipple and Jackson Kemper, and Enmegahbowh (John Johnson), a native missionary among the Ojibwe. Also present are reminiscences by Peake, Mrs. Peake, and Enmegahbowh; records (1853-1861) of confirmations at Gull Lake; account books (1889-1895); and an account of the abandoned town of Crow Wing.

Charles Rollit and family papers, 1847-1929.
Chiefly the papers of Rollit and his son, Charles Carter Rollit, both of whom were Protestant Episcopal ministers. Included are diaries (1861-1865, 1871) kept by the elder Rollit while serving as the pastor of churches in the Province of Quebec and at St. Anthony, Minnesota; a volume of parish reports (1871-1883) for the Farmington (Minn.) region; lecture notes on medieval European and church history; the younger Rollit's memorandum book (1886-1905) of services at Fergus Falls and Red Wing (Minn.); and parish records (1917-1929) of baptisms, marriages, and deaths kept at Farmington, Fergus Falls, Minneapolis, Mound, Osakis, St. Paul, and St. Peter, Minnesota, at Havre, Montana, and at Hudson, Wisconsin.

Charles L. Slattery papers, 1882, 1896-1922 [microform].
Correspondence between Slattery and Bishop Henry B. Whipple concerning Slattery's activities as dean of the Faribault (Minn.) Cathedral, and Whipple's visits to Florida, New England, and Europe; and letters from other Protestant Episcopal bishops, including Samuel C. Edsall, concerning the memorial tower to Whipple at Faribault.

George C. Tanner papers, 1854-1918.
The papers of George Clinton Tanner, registrar of the Diocese of Minnesota (diocesan historian) from 1878 to 1920, consist largely of notes, manuscripts, and transcripts of materials relating to 19th century diocesan history. Summary: There is a draft of his history of the diocese (published in 1909 as History of the Diocese of Minnesota 1857-1907); biographical notes and articles on early missionaries and clergymen, with some copies of their letters and diaries; addresses, notes, and articles on missionary work among the Ojibwe, early church work in general, and the diocesan schools in Faribault; reminiscences of Bishop Henry B. Whipple; and an extensive file of Tanner's notes and related materials on the history of individual parishes. A file of Tanner's sermons is also present.

Mary J. Whipple letters, 1854-1911.
Letters to the William A. Wait family of Glens Falls, New York, from Whipple, a Minnesota missionary, wife of George B. Whipple, sister-in-law of Protestant Episcopal Bishop Henry B. Whipple, and sister of Jane Maria Mills Breck. Summary: They describe her trip (1856) from New York to the St. Columba Mission to the Ojibwe on Gull Lake; her life in Hastings, Dakota County, and Faribault, Rice County (1858-1862); various Episcopal clergymen; St. Mary's Hall and the mission at Faribault; and the Dakota Conflict (1862). There is also information (1870, 1871) on the Whipples' missionary work in Hawaii and on the two girls they adopted there. Later letters from Faribault (1877-1911) discuss church, school, and family matters. A printed report (1854) also describes the Protestant Episcopal missions at Gull Lake. Three miscellaneous items relate to the Wait family.

Whipple-Scandrett family papers, 1829-1959.
Personal and family papers of Henry B. Whipple, Protestant Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, his grandsons Henry A. Scandrett and Benjamin W. Scandrett, who both became well-known railroad executives, and other members of the Whipple and Scandrett families. Correspondence among Henry B. and Cornelia Whipple, their children, and other relatives discusses family affairs and the children's education, travel, marriages, and families, and Bishop Whipple's travels in Europe on ecclesiastical business. He occasionally discusses other church matters, his work with Indian missions and advocacy of Indian administration reform, the Peabody Fund for Education in the South, and public affairs in general. Two reminiscences (1890s) record incidents and anecdotes of his life and ministry. His correspondents included a number of prominent public, business, and cultural figures. There are a number of letters from Rose Elizabeth Cleveland to Whipple's second wife, Evangeline Simpson.