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Robert Nelson Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 N34

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, sermons, essays and accounts of Robert Nelson, Protestant Episcopal missionary to Shanghai, China. The collection Includes two account books, a lettercopy book, and articles written by Nelson as well as two manuscript Chinese-English dictionaries compiled by Nelson. Some items, such as a "Count of Missionaries and Staff in China, 1807-1874" illuminate the history of missionaries in China. There is one letter written to Nelson in which the writer has used Wade-Giles transliteration.


  • Creation: 1845-1897
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1845-1885

Language of Materials

English Chinese

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Administrative History:

Robert Nelson was a Protestant Episcopal minister from Virginia, who spent many years as a Protestant Episcopal Church Foreign Missionary in Shanghai, China.


2.25 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Correspondence and Sermons are grouped together, but otherwise, no particular arrangement.

Acquisition Information:

Gift and purchase.

Related Materials:

Mss. 39.2 N33 James Poyntz Nelson Papers, 1866-1926; Mss. MsV Ad121-125 James Poyntz Nelson Manuscript Volumes; and Mss. MsV Co4 Olive Nelson Commonplace Book, all at Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William and Mary.

The Nelson Family papers (1560 items) are at the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.: Mss1 N3386 a.

Physical Description

565 pieces

Guide to the Robert Nelson Papers
SCRC Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository