American material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1812
The importance of the material in this collection from historical research lies not merely in their religious content, but in the fact that missionaries in North America, as elsewhere, were often the only people recording and submitting regular reports of events from remote English-speaking communities around the world.
According Isobel Pridmore, former archivist of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, "The documents relating to North America here [reproduced] are true archives in Sir Henry Jenkinson's definition of the word: that is, they came into being as a result of the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and have been preserved ever since in its custody. After the first meeting at Lambeth Palace in 1701 the business of the Society was conducted from the office of the Secretary, which was at first his private house. Some of the original letters from missionaries have disappeared during the peregrinations of the Office, as is obvious to anyone who tries to collect all the letters of one man from the various Series. But much the greatest part of this correspondence from overseas has, however, survived from the 18th century..."