Spalding Papers, 1833-1891

Spalding, Henry Harmon, 1803-1874


1 box (.5. linear ft.)..
Correspondence, transcripts and articles relating to both Spalding's career as a missionary and his personal life. Contains information about the Spaldings' journey to Oregon Territory, Life Among the Nez Perce and his reports to the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). Much of the material in this collection is copied from other sources.
Henry Harmon Spalding, pioneer Presbyterian missionary to the Oregon Territory, was born in New York and graduated from Western Reserve College in 1833. He married Eliza Hart that year and entered Lane Theological Seminary. After his graduation in 1835, he applied for work under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In 1836, Henry and Eliza Spalding along with the Whitmans, immigrated to the Columbia River Plateau region. Mrs. Spalding and Mrs. Whitman were the first women to cross the continental divide by the Oregon Trail. The Spaldings set up their mission near today's city of Lewiston, Idaho. Many of the Nez Perce were dissatisfied with Spalding's missionary discipline; the whip was used injudiciously. However, his accomplishments with the Nez Perce were significant. He was mostly successful as a missionary; he developed a written form of the Nez Perce language; he translated the book of Matthew to Nez Perce; he printed and distributed the translation to the Indians; he taught the Indians how to irrigate their land; and he brought potato cultivation to the Indians.
Archival, non-circulating item. To view, contact the library's Northwest Room at 509-444-5338 at least one week in advance.
Print version of finding aid available in library.

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