Date: November 22, 2005
The Center for Adventist Research on the campus of Andrews University recently received a generous donation of important letters, documents, photographs, and artifacts from the life of John Nevins Andrews (JNA), the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary, as well as the missionary work of the Spicer/Andrews family in Tibet.
The collection was donated to the Center by Jeannie Andrews, great-granddaughter of JNA, in October 2005.
There are 31 original JNA letters in the collection, including a letter written to his mother upon setting foot on the shores of England, dated September 26, 1874, making it the first letter written from a foreign land from the first official Adventist missionary. Also included in the collection is the original French language covenant, detailing the family's commitment to only speaking French at home. About ten original Ellen G. White letters, six or seven of which were previously unknown, are also in the collection.
"This is among the most significant collection of original handwritten correspondence from early Adventist pioneers," said Merlin Burt, Center director. "Previous to this collection, we had no original JNA letters at Andrews, and there were only a few at the GC and other institutions. This is now the treasure trove of JNA correspondence."
Several historically important photographs, including two daguerreotypes depicting the earliest known pictures of Andrews, his parents, and brother are also included, as well as the only known photo of Carrie Andrews, JNA's daughter who died in early childhood.
A collection of letters between Dorothy Spicer, daughter of W.A. Spicer and wife of John Nevins Andrews, MD and her daughter, Jeannie Andrews, detailing life in the Tibet mission field in the early 20th century, as well as several Tibetan artifacts are also included.
"It's more than just history," comments Burt on the collection's significance, "it helps you get to know JNA better, as you read pictures of his deep personal spiritual commitment and the close family relationship between him and his wife and his children."