From the Collections of the Amistad Research Center
The American Missionary Association (AMA) was established in 1846 as an interdenominational missionary society devoted to abolitionist principles. The Association grew directly from the committee organized in 1839 to defend the Africans who had revolted and seized the schooner La Amistad. From its beginning, the major support for the Association came from Congregationalists, but it also received support from Wesleyan Methodists, Free Presbyterians, and Free Will Baptists.
This collection includes approximately 350,000 manuscript pieces. The manuscripts include some of the treasurers' papers, some minutes of executive committee meetings, and other items such as sermons, statistical reports, drawings, pictures, and essays, but letters make up the large majority of the items.
The materials dated prior to 1846 relate to several subjects, of which the most important are the Amistad case and the futile efforts of evangelical abolitionists to promote abolitionism among northern churches and religious societies such as the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the American Home Missionary Society, and the American Bible Society.
Most of the papers from the Civil War and Reconstruction Period are statistical and written reports from the missionaries and teachers in the South.
In relating the history of the AMA's work among the Freedmen, the Archives contain the basic primary source materials which tell in detail the early histories of Fisk University, Hampton Institute, Atlanta University, Howard School (at Chattanooga), Emerson Institute, and hundreds of other schools.
Home papers are filed according to the state of origin, and foreign letters are arranged according to country of origin. May also be purchased by state.