Manuscripts Collection



Macalester Presbyterian Church (Saint Paul, Minn.) Women's auxiliary records, 1889-1927.
Minutes of meetings (1889-1892, 1921-1927) and treasurers' records (1906-1928) of the Ladies' Aid; and minutes of meetings (1893-1899) and printed programs (1902-1922) of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society.

Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Synod of Minnesota. Woman's Synodical Missionary Society. Missionary Society records, 1880-1942.
Primarily minutes of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (1880-1922), of the Presbyterian Home Missionary Society (1885-1922), and of the Woman's Synodical Missionary Society of Minnesota (1909-1904). The last-named organization included the presbyterial societies of Adams, Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis, Red River, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and Winona.

St. David's Society of Minnesota. Minute books, 1911-1973.
Minutes of a society of Welsh-born and Welsh-descended Minnesotans, organized by members of the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis and devoted to cultural and musical affairs. They contain data on election of officers, changes in the constitution and bylaws, financial affairs, joint activities with other cultural organizations, formation and work of committees, membership drives, benevolent activities, and arrangements for programs and social events.

Woman's Missionary Society of the Presbytery of St. Paul (Saint Paul, Minn.) Records, 1873-1945, 1981, 1987.
Minutes (1873-1932), meeting programs (1895-1939), reports (1924-1933), missionary letters (1929-1933), historical sketches, and records of the secretary (1882-1912) and treasurer (1879-1886) of the leading Presbyterian women's organization of the St. Paul Presbytery. The records document the formation, the changing organization, and the activities of the society and its member auxiliaries, particularly their sponsorship of foreign and home missions and missionaries and of young peoples' societies; their annual and executive committee meetings; their relations with local, state, and national church offices and boards; and their financial affairs.


Moses N. Adams papers, 1849-1902.
Although the bulk of the collection documents Adams' duties and experiences as U.S. Indian agent to the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Dakota on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, Dakota Territory (1871-1875), the papers also highlight his years as a Presbyterian missionary at Lac Qui Parle (1848-1853) and in home mission work in Nicollet County (1853-1860), both in Minnesota Territory; as American Bible Society agent for Minnesota (1860-1869), U.S. Army chaplain at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (1876-1879), and missionary on the Lake Traverse Reservation (1886-1892); and in retirement in St. Paul (1892- 1902).

John Felix Aiton and family papers, 1835-1898.
Correspondence, diary entries, school papers, and financial records of Aiton, an early Presbyterian missionary teacher to the Dakota Indians (1848- 1855) and Nicollet County farmer (1856-1857, 1861-1892); and letters of his two wives, Nancy Hunter Aiton and Mary Smith Briggs Aiton.

William J. Bell and family papers, 1886-1985.
Correspondence, reports, diaries, reminiscences, genealogical materials, photographs, and other papers of Bell, a Presbyterian minister who established on Minnesota's Iron Range a federation of Presbyterian churches and church extension work known as the "Range Parish" (1913-1930s), and who later served as a field representative for the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church (1932-1946).

Boss family and business papers, 1856-1990.
The bulk of the collection consists of the personal papers of William Boss, an inventor and head of the agricultural engineering program at the University of Minnesota; and his son, Harlan D. Boss, a St. Paul interior designer and patron of the arts. The William Boss papers include correspondence, photos and photo albums, scrapbooks, and press clippings, as well as files related to his work on the Central Presbyterian Church (St. Paul, Minn.) Finance Committee. The Harlan Boss papers include mainly World War II scrapbooks as well as some correspondence, photos, press clippings, and records of his interior decorating business, Boss Interiors.

Albert Leslie Evans papers, 1905-1936.
Correspondence (1934-1936) of Evans, an army chaplain at Fort Snelling, criticizing pacifist movements and discussing the repair and equipping of the fort's chapel, religious services, and activities of the Presbyterian church in Minnesota. Included are his sermons (1905-1923), delivered largely in New York and in World War I military camps.

William R. Higgins diary, 1869.
A diary (Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1869, 65 p., typed copy) kept by Presbyterian clergyman Higgins while serving churches in Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. The diary contains short daily entries describing many aspects of his life and ministry: weather; Lake Superior; preparation of sermons; family life; births and deaths in the community; social life, including parties and lectures; arrival of new settlers and steamboats; his trips to Duluth, where he founded the First Presbyterian Church and conducted services; Christmas celebrations; and, in general, life in Superior, mentioning many persons who later became prominent citizens of Superior and Duluth.

John H. Mastin papers, 1946-1958.
Five folders of correspondence, church histories, newspaper clippings, photographs, a few parish records, and similar files relating to the following Presbyterian churches of the Tri-County Assembly (Minn.) which were served by clergyman John H. Mastin (1952-1958): Brooten (Stearns County), Forada (Douglas County), and Sedan (Pope County). Mastin served the Pine City Presbyterian Church, 1946-1952.

Edward D. Neill and family papers, 1827-1930.
Neill's papers document his career as a student at Amherst and Andover (1842-1844), a Presbyterian home missionary in Illinois (1847-1848), a Presbyterian minister in St. Paul, (Minn.) (1849-1860), the founder of churches in Minnesota, state superintendent of education and chancellor of the University of Minnesota (1858-1861), chaplain of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and of the Philadelphia hospitals (1861-1864), American consul at Dublin, Ireland (1869-1871), and president of and professor at Macalester College (1873-1893).

Henry M. Nichols and family papers, 1843-1862, 1980s.
Diaries, letters, sermons, and miscellaneous papers documenting the New England and Minnesota experiences of this Presbyterian clergyman and his family. Nichols' diaries (1840-1860) describe his work as a schoolteacher and preacher in Massachusetts, his activities as an agent of the Northampton Colony, the members of which settled in Hennepin County (Minn.) near Lake Minnetonka, and his career as a home missionary and minister at St. Anthony, Stillwater, and Minneapolis. Correspondence of Nichols and his wife Nancy with relatives in Connecticut and Massachusetts discuss social life and family affairs. Nichols' sermons and lectures express his opposition to slavery and support of temperance. His "Chronicles of Stillwater" is a biblical parody incorporating the early history of Stillwater.

Charles P. Noyes papers, 1832-1921.
The papers of this St. Paul (Minn.) businessman who was active in various religious, cultural, and civic enterprises. There are correspondence, accounts, and contracts for the building of Noyes' house (1887); material that he collected as a delegate to the Indianapolis monetary convention (1898), from the launching of the steamship "Dakota" (1904), and as chairman of a St. Paul Commercial Club committee to erect a memorial to Joseph A. Wheelock (1906-1907); reports and correspondence on the construction of a dam on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul; and invitations and programs of several patriotic societies. A large group of papers (1883-1921) collected by Noyes as a member of various committees of the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul consist of correspondence, financial records, lists of members and contributions, and contracts for the erection and furnishing of a new edifice.

Stephen R. Riggs and family papers, 1837-1958.
Letters, reminiscences, genealogical data, and miscellany of this Presbyterian missionary, his wife Mary Ann Longley Riggs, and other family members, focusing on the Riggs' missionary service at Lake Harriet (now Minneapolis) and Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota (1837-1862), his work as an interpreter during the 1862 Dakota Conflict, and his subsequent activities as an author of Dakota-language teaching materials.

John G. Riheldaffer and family papers, 1848-1859.
Correspondence, biographical data, business records, sermons, fictionalized reminiscences, clippings, and published materials documenting the family life and career of Riheldaffer, who went to St. Paul (Minn.) in 1851 as a missionary, served the Central Presbyterian Church (1855-1868) there, organized the St. Paul Female Seminary (1860s), and served on the board of Baldwin School (later Macalester College), as superintendent (1868-1886) of the Minnesota State Reform School, and as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls (1886-1891).

James P. Schell papers, 1849-1933.
Correspondence compiled by Schell, a Presbyterian minister and missionary to the Ojibwe Indians of northern Minnesota, including data on missionary life and activities; letters by Schell (1908, 1926-1928) discussing information he had collected on early missions in the area; letters (1895-1905) from Alonzo Barnard discussing his writings on his own missionary service in Michigan and Minnesota; and Schell's account (1928) of the hand printing press used by the Cass Lake missionaries, and other missionary presses.

Jedediah D. Stevens papers, 1827-1876.
Mainly Stevens' diaries while on a tour in 1829-1830 with Alvan Coe to determine for the Presbyterian Board of Missions the feasibility of establishing missions near Fort Snelling (Minn.) or in the valley of the St. Croix River. Visits at the posts of William Dingley, Lyman Warren, and other fur traders are recorded. Other diaries and reminiscences treat more or less fully Stevens' earlier residence in the missions at Mackinac and Green Bay and other periods of his life. Also included is a small packet of undated manuscript sermons.

Charles E. Thayer papers, 1839-1908.
The correspondence and diaries of this Presbyterian minister, including information on his life and work in Upper Sandusky, Ohio; in Hudson and Prescott, Wisconsin; and in Belle Plaine, Delano, Delhi, Farmington, Fulda, Jordan, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Pipestone, Rockford, St. Paul, Swan Lake, Vermillion, West St. Paul, and Woodstock, Minnesota. One volume contains a record of marriages, baptisms, and funerals at many of these places (1847-1888).