Historians of American religion have long known of the wealth of material contained in the collection of the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS), located at the Amistead Research Center, the Old U.S. Mint, New Orleans, Louisiana. Occupying 234.8 linear feet of shelf space, the AHMS collection is a significant part of the Center’s holdings and consists of over 100,000 letters from Calvinist ministers traveling on the American frontier as well as 150 letterpress books containing official correspondence from the New York office.
For the student of Mormon history, the AHMS collection could be of value principally because of the correspondence sent by missionaries to the central office. Each man working for the society was required to make periodic reports to supervisors. Although these generally contained accounts only of current activities, number of services held, number of conversions, and general comments on the state of the mission, in some cases ministers wrote about the activities of other Protestant denominations, about the success of revivals, about the nature of life and culture in their districts, and, in a few cases, about the early Mormon movement.