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RG 30/385 - Carleton Family Papers 1808 (1853-1973) - 1985
Scope and Content

The Carleton Family Papers primarily document the life and career of Alford Carleton as a missionary, teacher, minister, college president, and observer of the cultural and political climate in the environs of the Middle and Near East.

During his time abroad (mostly in Syria, Turkey, and present-day Lebanon) Carleton wrote hundreds of letters to family members, friends, and colleagues. Of great historic value are his first-hand accounts of the region’s unrest due to the repeated intervention of foreign powers (namely France, Great Britain, and the United States) as well as the turmoil caused by years of religious strife and cultural differences existing between the numerous tribes residing there.

Carleton directed most of his personal correspondence to his mother, Mary Chamberlain (Wilson) Carleton. In these letters (1920-1949, n.d.), most of them numbered sequentially by the author, Alford described both the daily activities of his family life, traveling to and within the regions of the Middle and Near East, and his work as a missionary, teacher, and college president. In turn, Mary Chamberlain (Wilson) Carleton wrote to Alford to keep him abreast of family matters and the activities of friends back in the United States.

The professional correspondence series, while less voluminous than the personal letters, includes communication with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), Aleppo College administrators, and various other missionary colleagues, as well as exchanges with senior United States government officials and world leaders. Of significance here is the mediating role that Carleton assumed in reaching out to governments and tribal leaders in an effort to bring about peace to the Middle East region. For example, in a 14 November 1972 letter, Alford Carleton asked King Hussein bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for any advice he could give to the United States government regarding the Middle East conflict following Richard M. Nixon’s second term election to the presidency earlier that same month. Likewise, in an 8 August 1972 letter to President Nixon, Alford Carleton explained the futility of an “imposed” plan by the United States, Soviet Union, and/or United Nations with regards to the Middle East conflict, while at the same time he acknowledged the power of influence that such “Great Powers” could yield in bringing about peace to the region. Letters such as these are testaments not only to Alford Carleton’s particular views regarding the conflict, but they also shed light on the value that the United States and foreign governments placed on his expertise on Middle East cultural and political matters.

The scrapbooks (Series 22) provide further documentation on Alford Carleton’s professional activities in the Middle East. A scrapbook entitled “A Rare Collection of Mementos of the Carletons During the Years of the Second World War” (1939-45), includes various travel documents as well as several important letters exchanged between Carleton and professional colleagues within the Middle East region and the United States. The letters found in this scrapbook point to the nature of his missionary activities and the importance of his involvement in the mission during the years of World War II. For example, found in the scrapbook is a letter of 28 April 1943 to Alford Carleton from Ralph Bain, Director of Middle East Operations of the American National Red Cross in Cairo, Egypt, in which the director praised Carleton for his help with the refugees who had fled Europe (mainly Greece) to Syria during the war. Contained in this scrapbook documenting his wartime missionary activities are other notable letters written to Alford, including those from the American Consulate General in Beirut, Lebanon, C. Van H. Engert, the Foreign Service Branch of the State Department, and the American Economic Mission in the Middle East. A second scrapbook in the series contains photographs and transcripts of speeches from a banquet that honored Alford Carleton for his lifetime of service to the missionary cause. The occasion also celebrated the tenth anniversary of his acceptance as executive vice president of the American Board of Foreign Missions.

While the correspondence series’ provides the most significant corpus of documentation relating to his career from year to year, his memoirs also contain detailed information concerning Alford Carleton’s life’s work. Found here in Series 15 is one published (1983) and several unpublished accounts (1929-30, 1964, 1968, 1978, 1981-82) written by Alford Carleton that chronicle his career as a missionary, teacher, college president, and spiritual leader. As noted elsewhere, Carleton did not complete his memoirs due to ill health and his overall reluctance to commit time to writing his life’s story. In the writings that exist here, however, Carleton recounted his life of service and described his personal relationship with God, his attraction to the missionary field, and his apparent ongoing perception of himself as a student of religious thought.

The photographic series contains only seven photos relating to Alford Carleton’s professional life and experience in the Middle East. Two of these are undated prints of Alford Carleton granting diplomas at Aleppo College graduation ceremonies. The bulk of the series, however, consists of inherited prints and daguerreotypes, 1866-1981 (many undated) of the Carleton, Chamberlain, and Wilson families.

Although the Carleton Family Papers chiefly relate to the life and career of Alford Carleton, there exists a significant amount of documentation, letters (Series 5), diaries (Series 7), photographs (Series 29), and genealogical histories (Series 11) of the extended family and ancestors of the Carletons throughout the collection; please consult the inventory and series descriptions for further listings of this important body of inherited family materials. The Chamberlain’s commitment to preserving their genealogy led them to form the Chamberlain Association of America in 1897. The goal of the organization was to bring together all branches of the family throughout New England and elsewhere around the United States. Filed in this collection (Series 21. Printed Matter) are the annual reports of the association, dated 1897-1908, which document meetings of the organization and list the members’ names alphabetically along with their respective places of residence.

Of particular interest among the inherited family materials are those relating to Civil War hero and former Republican governor of Maine, Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (cousin of Alford Carleton’s grandmother, Martha Burr Chamberlain), 1828-1914. Filed in Series 21. Printed Matter, are two published articles: “Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, A Sketch,” an undated and uncredited biographical piece originally prepared for the Chamberlain Association of America, and “My Story of Fredericksburg” written by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in which he recalled his experiences in the Civil War. Also located in the newspaper clippings series (Series 17), is a 1908 article honoring the 45th anniversary of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s defense of Little Round Top during the 1863 battle at Gettysburg, as well as several of his obituaries (1914-15) following his death in 1914. For further information on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, please consult a biographical entry in the Dictionary of American Biography, under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies, vol. 3, edited by Allen Johnson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929).

A significant portion of the inherited family materials relates to Rev. Gowen Wilson (grandfather of Alford Carleton). Several materials exist in the collection documenting Gowen Wilson’s ministerial activities and, therefore, illustrating the theological tradition of biblical study and spiritual leadership that ran through Alford Carleton’s ancestry. Found in the inherited family correspondence series (Series 5) are letters regarding Gowen Wilson’s call and resignation from churches in Winterport, Maine, and Windsor, Connecticut. Gowen Wilson’s diploma (1861) from the Theological Seminary in Bangor, ME (found Series 8. Diplomas), and his discharge from the U.S. Christian Commission in 1864 (Series 2. Commisions and Appointments) are also incorporated into the collection.

The Carleton Family Papers are arranged into twenty-nine record series: Series I. Awards and Honors; Series II. Commissions and Appointments; Series III. Personal Correspondence of Alford Carleton; Series IV. Letters of Alford’s Parents and Extended Family; Series V. Inherited Family Correspondence; Series VI. Professional Correspondence of Alford Carleton; Series VII. Diaries, Journals, Planners, and Travel Chronicles; Series VIII. Diplomas; Series XI. Education Related Files; Series Financial Records; Series XI. Genealogical or Family History Files; Series XII. Invitations and Tickets; Series XIII. Maps; Series XIV. Membership Files; Series XV. Memoirs; Series XVI. Miscellaneous Files; Series XVII. Newspaper Clippings; Series XVIII. Passports, tickets, and Travel Documents; Series XIX. Poetry and Quotations; Series XX. Posters and Drawings; Series XXI. Printed Matter; Series XXII. Scrapbooks; Series XXIII. Sermons and Other Religious Pieces; Series XXIV. Speeches and Talks; Series XXV. Topical Files; Series XXVI. Vital Records and Related Documents; Series XXVII. Writings by Alford Carleton; Series 28. Writings by Others and about Alford Carleton; and Series XXIX. Photographs.

Series Descriptions

Series 1. Awards and Honors, 1920-70, n.d. (0.1 lf)

Alford Carleton was the recipient of a variety of awards and honors during a lifetime of achievement. This was for his services as a missionary in Syria and Turkey, his work as a teacher and as president of Aleppo College in Syria, and for his accomplishments as the Executive Vice President of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), including his role in the merger of the ABCFM and the Evangelical and Reformed Church to establish the United Church Board of World Ministries. Specifically, found here are certificates and citations of merit such as a certificate of appreciation from the Near East Refugee Aid, Inc. (1970) and a testimonial (photocopy) of appreciation to both Mr. and Mrs. Carleton from the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (1954). Also included here is a record of four honorary degrees (photocopies), with accompanying documents, presented to him from Williams College (1956), The Chicago Theological Seminary (1962), Emerson College (1962), and Heidelberg College (1964). See also Series 8. Diplomas.

Series 2. Commissions and Appointments, 1850-1938, n.d. (0.1 lf)

The wider Carleton family served society in many capacities: educational, medical, military, and religious. Found here are letters, newspaper clippings, and certificates (photocopies) relating to the commission of Alford and Mary C. Carleton as representatives of the ABCFM to the Near East in 1929, as well as those of Alford’s ministerial ordination (1930) and his recognition as Director of Aleppo College (1938). Documentation on the Carleton family ancestors includes a certificate from the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb to Thomas J. Chamberlain (1850), First Aid certificates of Anne and Martha Wilson (1917), and the military discharge and commissioning as Superintendent of Bible Society of Maine for Gowen Wilson (1864 and 1894, respectively).

Series 3. Personal Correspondence of Alford Carleton, 1920-1982, n.d. (1.2 lf)

The personal correspondence of Alford Carleton consists of three subseries. Subseries 1 is mainly letters, 1920-49, sent by Alford Carleton to his parents. His mother Mary (“May”) Wilson Carleton is the primary recipient. The letters, many of them numbered sequentially by correspondent Alford, concern his student days at Oberlin College (1920-24), his missionary work and travels in the Middle East (including Syria and Turkey), his presidency at Aleppo College, Aleppo, Syria, the political and social climate in the Middle East during his time there, and family matters such as the births and upbringing of his daughters Muriel (b. 1930), Anne (b. 1933), and Caroline (b. 1936). This subseries comprises 1.0 linear feet and represents the bulk of the personal correspondence series of Alford Carleton.

The second subseries consists of letters mainly sent by Alford to other family members including his wife Mary Cashmore Carleton, daughters, siblings, and his wife’s parents. Although these letters primarily concern family matters, some provide details concerning Alford Carleton’s professional activities in Syria and Turkey.

Subseries 3 contains two folders of circular or “form letters” sent by Alford to his family and friends detailing his travels and experiences as a missionary in the Middle East and covering his seventeen years as president of Aleppo College in NW Syria. The circular letters, 1930(1936-48)-1971, include holiday greetings, reports on the activities of the Carleton family, details concerning the daily administrative operations of Aleppo College, and observations about the political and social climate in the Middle East. For example, in a circular letter dated July 15, 1948, Alford Carleton discussed the “Palestine Situation” and described the American policy in the region as “Ward politics.”

Series 4. Letters of Alford’s Parents and Extended Family, 1870s-1984 (0.8 lf)

The fourth series consists of personal letters sent and received by members of Alford Carleton’s immediate and extended family. Filed here are several hundred letters of Mary Wilson Carleton. Of note are her letters (1920-41) sent to her son Alford, as they mostly correspond to his numbered letters that are contained in Series 3, Subseries 1 referenced above. Her letters to Alford report on the well being of friends and family members in America, as well as the interest of a mother in the lives of her son, grandchildren, and daughter-in-law in the Middle and Near East. Also filed here are the letters of Alford’s father, Arthur S. Carleton (ten letters), and Alford’s wife, Mary Cashmore Carleton (one hundred-fourteen letters), mostly sent to Alford and other close family members. Other correspondents in this series include Alford’s brother Wilson Carleton, his uncle Winfred Carleton, and his aunts Anne, Emma, and Marti Wilson. (See inventory for complete listings.)

Series 5. Inherited Family Correspondence, 1808-1926, n.d. (1.4 lf)

Maintained by several generations of Carletons, Series 5 consists of two subseries. There are letters (sent and received) primarily of the Burr, Chamberlain, and Wilson families of Maine and Connecticut for 1808-1926. Subseries 1 consists of original hand-written letters, as well as photocopies for some of the originals. Among the correspondence (0.6 l.f.) are letters sent and received by Alford’s grandparents, Gowen (1833-1905) and Martha Chamberlain Wilson (1833-1926), including a set of love letters written to each other before (1861-62) and after (1862-98) their marriage in 1862. Also included in this series are the letters of Alford’s great grandparents, Jefferson (1803-73) and Anne Eliza Burr Chamberlain (1805-65). Other correspondents include Charles Chamberlain, Frederick Chamberlain, Thomas Jefferson Chamberlain, Susan Gridley Carleton, Levi Gridley, Annie Burr and Luther Keene, Edmund Wilson, and Frederick Wilson among others. The genealogical series below covers the family relationships in detail.

Subseries 2 consists of transcripts (0.2 l.f.) of many of the letters contained in the first subseries. Authors of the transcribed letters include Jefferson Chamberlain, Gowen Wilson, and Martha Chamberlain Wilson among others. Of note are Jefferson Chamberlain’s “courtship letters” to Anne Eliza Burr Chamberlain (1821-29, n.d.). Inventory entries in subseries 1 with an asterisk have corresponding transcription folders in this subseries. A list exists indicating which original letters are with or without transcriptions as well as transcriptions that do not have corresponding original copies in the first subseries. Sherry Brigham Siddall transcribed the letters in 1978.

Series 6. Professional Correspondence of Alford Carleton, 1923-81, n.d. (0.6 lf)

The professional correspondence of Alford Carleton consists of five subseries. Subseries 1 and 2 are mainly letters (sent and received) between Alford Carleton and professional colleagues concerning his missionary work, the administrative and academic functions of Aleppo College in Syria, and the political and social climate in the Middle and Near East. Correspondents include Alden H. Clack (Trustee of Donations for Education in the Near East), members of the American Legation in Beirut, Lebanon (Lt. Col. Harold D. Hoskins and George Wadsworth), and various administrators of the ABCFM, Boston, Mass. Subseries 3 contains fifty-seven letters sent and received by Alford Carleton to and from family, friends, and professional colleagues regarding his appointment as the Executive Vice President of the ABCFM in 1954.

Subseries 4 is a select group of letters sent and received between Alford Carleton and officials of the United States government. Letters (originals and copies) sent from Mr. Carleton to Presidents Harry S. Truman and Richard M. Nixon, as well as National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and other dignitaries, describe his observations of the Middle East conflict during his thirty years spent there (1924-1954) and his subsequent years as an outside observer, more specifically concerning the social and political developments since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The subseries also includes thank you letters sent to Alford from President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Senator J.W. Fulbright, and other White House, National Security Council, and State Department officials in recognition for Carleton’s contribution on the Middle East dialogue. (See the inventory for names of all correspondents in this subseries.) Copies of these letters are available in the collection for patron use.

Subseries 5 consists of miscellaneous professional correspondence (1972-78). Included are thirty-four letters between Alford and South African writer and anti-apartheid activist, Dr. Alan Paton (1903-1988). In the exchange of letters, Alford Carleton and Dr. Paton discuss shared human rights activism experiences and speak in admiration of each other’s work in challenging the interests of Western colonial powers. Also in this subseries are three letters about Alford Carleton’s professional accomplishments sent and received by people other than Mr. Carleton. Included is a file copy of a letter (1958) written to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Edward L.R. Elson, providing U.S. president with Alford Carleton’s credentials and contact information.

Series 7. Diaries, Journals, Planners, and Travel Chronicles, 1786-1983, n.d. (1.0 lf)

This series is divided into two subseries. Subseries 1 contains a diary (fifteen volumes filed in this series) kept by Alford Carleton that includes entries, mostly one to two sentences in length, from his college years, his work as a missionary to the Near East, his ministry, presidency of Aleppo College, and service to the Executive Board of the United Church of Christ. In his journals, he provided daily one-to-two-sentence descriptions of his activities from January 1, 1920 to May 13, 1983. There are, however, some gaps, including an eight-month period between December 1929 and August 1930, as well as the months of January and February of 1980. Additionally, Carleton’s 1930-34 diary includes a note specifying that “records for 1930 patched up after loss of diary, September 4, 1930.” His undated address book and eighteen of his daily planners kept between 1954 and 1971 are also filed in this series. Alford’s travel chronicles, from 1934-64, provide detailed descriptions of his time spent abroad with an emphasis on experiences in the Near East. Note: Additional information concerning Alford Carleton’s personal accounts and recollections of his career is found in Series 15. Memoirs.

Subseries 2 consists of diaries, journals, planners, and travel logs of other members of the extended Carleton family. Travel accounts exist for Arthur S. Carleton and Gowen Wilson, in which each document trips to New York (1924) and Glasgow (1878), respectively. Along with these accounts, there is Gowen’s college day planner (1853-55), which provides brief accounts of daily activity, and his calendar (1895). Other diaries included are one unidentified diary from 1884, the diary of Timothy Gridley (1786), and two diaries of Martha Burr Chamberlain (1852, 1855) and her 1860-78 journal with a complete transcription.

Series 8. Diplomas, 1861-1931 (0.1 lf)

Carleton family members, past and present, pursued A.B. degrees in higher education, including graduate work and ministerial training. Located in this series are Alford’s diplomas (photocopies) from American Turkish Language School and Oberlin College, Mary Cashmore’s diplomas from Jericho High School and The University of Vermont, and Gowen Wilson’s diploma from Theological Seminary in Bangor, Maine.

Series 9. Education Related Files, 1853-1937 (0.2 lf)

These educational materials of Alford Carleton document the span of early education through his collegiate graduation and from there to the Hartford Theological Seminary in 1937. The series consists of his report cards and student papers from his primary and secondary education in the Ames, Iowa public school system and years at Oberlin College (1916, 1919-24), as well as his senior thesis from Hartford Seminary titled The Millet System: For the Government of Minorities in the Ottoman Empire (1937). A notebook, dated 1854-57, exists for Gowen Wilson from his time at Waterville College in Maine. The notebook contains a list of names of his classmates, course notes (i.e., Greek, first term, freshmen year), and a record of college related expenses.

Series 10. Financial Records 1795-1952, n.d. (0.1 lf)

The financial records primarily document the expenses and income relating to Alford Carleton’s missionary service with the ABCFM and personal finances of his father and ancestors. In this series are the ledgers of Timothy Gridley (1795-96) and Alvey Rowland (1810-15), financial agreements of Ira Wilson (1828), a certificate of donation in the name of “Charlie Freddie Wissie” to the ABCFM, a fuel ration coupon book of Arthur S. Carleton, and numerous canceled checks and receipts of payment from the 1920s through the 1950s. Included are receipts for insurance premiums paid on behalf of Alford Carleton for his missionary service and correspondence concerning financial accounts in Palestine.

Series 11. Genealogical and Family History Files 1600s-1970s, n.d. (0.2 lf)

The Carleton family history and genealogical files date back to the 1600s and include a number of genealogical charts (1600s–1970s), prepared genealogical histories, and correspondence regarding the Wilson and Young family genealogies. In addition, there are genealogical volumes: Notes of Wilson Ancestry from Gown to Kittery, 1647, by Hannah D. Hutchinson (n.d.); “The English Ancestry of Edward Carleton of Rowley, Mass.,” in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1929), by Tracy Elliot; and a personal family history A Memorial to Deacon Joseph Seldon, Prepared for and Accepted by the Church of Christ at Norfolk (1915), by Henry A. Bridgman, Howard W. Carter, and William F. Stearns.

Series 12. Invitations and Tickets, 1859-1970, n.d. (0.05 lf)

Given the professional and class status of Alford and Mary Carleton, they received many invitations to attend social gatherings. During the early- to mid-1940s, the Carletons received and accepted numerous invitations to attend military gatherings, such as a “cocktail evening” held “by the Commander and Officers of Headquarters, Fifth N.Z. Infantry Brigade” in 1942. In addition to these events, the series includes invitations for prominent international gatherings, such as a banquet at the home of Queen Elizabeth in honor of her coronation (1953) or the “Near East Foundation Dinner, in honor of His Imperial Majesty Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi and The Empress Farah.” While the contents mainly pertain to Alford and Mary Carleton, a small number of items exists relating to earlier Carleton family members, such as an invitation to the Virginia Military Institute’s Cadet Anniversary Ball from 1860.

Series 13. Maps, 1929, 1951, n.d. (0.05 lf)

As a missionary and college director in the Middle East, Alford Carleton accumulated and preserved several detailed regional maps. A map of American Colleges in the Mediterranean area from 1929, a map of the Middle East and Near East: Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt from 1951, and a sketch of Aleppo (n.d.) are stored in this series. Note: The Aleppo sketch is kept in oversize box 1.

Series 14. Membership Files, 1887-1970, n.d. (0.05 lf)

As active youth and highly involved adults, Alford and Mary Carleton joined a diverse array of organizations. Filed here are their affiliated membership cards/certificates for organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, The YMCA, Rotary International, and the First Congregational Church of Cambridge, Mass.

Series 15. Memoirs, 1929-83 (0.05 lf)

In addition to his diaries and daily planners, Alford Carleton wrote his memoirs and reflections on his life and work. Included in this series then are unpublished memoirs covering the years 1929-30, 1964, 1968, 1978, and 1981-82; plus, there is his eighty-eight-page published account, Vagaries of a Missionary: Recollections and Reflections by Alford Carleton, ed. by J. Martin Baily (New York: United Church Board for World Ministries, 1983). According to Muriel Siddall (Alford’s daughter), Alford Carleton did not complete his memoirs because of ill health and his reluctance to write about his life.

Series 16. Miscellaneous Files, 1802-1942, n.d. (0.1 lf)

This series consists of various miscellaneous and/or unidentified materials, including notes and writings from 1802, 1884, 1930, and 1939, sheet music, and a scroll of scriptural readings from a reform school, in Portland, Maine (1906). Documents also exist written in foreign languages, most of which appears to be Arabic.

Series 17. Newspaper Clippings, 1884-1960, n.d. (0.1 lf)

The clippings series includes photocopies of articles relating to Alford Carleton, and the Burr and Chamberlain families. Also filed in this series are articles pertaining to the Godfrey House, the oldest home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Civil War heroics of General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914).

Series 18. Passports, Tickets, and Travel Documents, 1878-1973, n.d. (0.4 lf)

Alford and Mary Carleton spent a great deal of their lives in transit and thus accumulated a significant amount of travel documentation. Found in this series are their passports and visas, as well as Alford’s international driving permits, travel authorization forms, travel guides and paraphernalia, and itineraries.

Series 19. Poetry and Quotations, 1927-70, n.d. (0.5 lf)

As a minister and frequent lecturer, Alford Carleton collected poetry and quotations for personal reflection and to drawn on for his speeches, sermons, and other presentations. His journal of poetry and quotations and journal of quotes and outlines make up this series.

Series 20. Posters and Drawings, 1928-51, n.d. (0.1 lf)

Alford Carleton gave many talks concerning his experiences in the Near East and Middle East. Found here are advertisements for some of these lectures; a drawing of Alford by Mohammed Al-Farhani (1951); a poster advertising “Aleppo Leaflets for the Forces” from the Greek Catholic Orphanage Press (n.d.); and a sketch of Aleppo (n.d.). Note: These documents are kept in oversized box 1.

Series 21. Printed Materials, 1808-1985, n.d. (0.6 lf)

There is a significant amount of printed literature on the many organizations and institutions with which the Carleton family had an association. Topically arranged materials included in this series relate to Alford Carleton’s affiliation with Aleppo College and other educational institutions; The Bible Society of Maine; Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain; a variety religious themes; and programs for such important events as the installation of Alford Carleton as the Executive Vice President of the ABCFM (1954). Included here also are holiday cards and religious publications: The Communicant’s Guide to the Altar, with Directions and Devotions (1814), The Evangelist, Vol. I, No. IV, December, 1827, and The Psalter of the Psalms of David with the Proverbs of Solomon and Christ’s Sermon on the Mount (1808).

Series 22. Scrapbooks, 1939-64 (0.3 lf)

In addition to Alford Carleton’s diaries, daily planners, and memoirs, the scrapbooks series offers another record of the life events of the Carleton family. Included in this series are A Rare Collection of Mementos of the Carletons During the Years of the Second World War in Syria (1939-45), consisting of travel documents and correspondence, and Tenth Anniversary Banquet Honoring Alford Carleton: Executive Vice President of the United Church Board of World Ministries, Boston College, dated November 11, 1964, containing photographs and speeches from the banquet, as well as correspondence pertaining to its events.

Series 23. Sermons and Other Religious Pieces, 1929-82 (0.5 lf)

As a preacher and religious scholar, Alford Carleton did much public and private reflection on religious topics. Included in this series, and arranged chronologically, are his essays, sermons, meditations, and published articles relating to the theme of religion.

Series 24. Speeches and Talks, 1940-62 (0.05 lf)

When he was president of Aleppo College and a leader in the ABCFM, external parties asked Alford Carleton to share his views in his lectures and commencement speeches. Filed here in chronological order are “Condensation of the Key Note Address of the Annual Meeting, Uskudas, Turkey” (1940), “Lectures of Good Driving, Aleppo College” (1947), “Commencement Address to Beirut College for Women and Pierce College for Men, Athens, Greece” (1952), and “The Role of the Individual in Society,” the commencement address for Emerson College, Boston, Mass. (1962).

Series 25. Topical Files, 1926-76, n.d. (0.1 lf)

The topical files, arranged by subject matter, contain documents regarding Aleppo College (including financial, demographic, and general annual reports) and United States government. One particular item of note is a letter drafted from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Sheikh Mohamed Tajeddin el-Hassani, President of Syria, in the fall of 1942, appointing George Wadsworth as the Diplomatic Agent and Consul General of the U.S. to Syria. The series also contains a volume compiled by Alford Carleton titled Palestine Papers (1941-76), consisting of correspondence and memoranda relating to developments in the Middle East over this span of time.

Series 26. Vital Records and Related Documents, 1864-1985, n.d. (0.2 lf)

The contents of this series, arranged alphabetically by document type, include: birth, death, and marriage certificates of the Carleton family; military records; vehicle inspections and registrations; the ministerial license of Alford Carleton; and the final Will and Testament of Gowen Wilson. For a comprehensive listing of dates and titles, see inventory.

Series 27. Writings by Alford Carleton, 1937-82, n.d. (0.2 lf)

Alford Carleton was constantly evaluating and interpreting the events and circumstances of his life and the world in which he lived. Filed here and organized alphabetically by subject matter are his published and unpublished writings on Aleppo College, the Mission and missionaries, and the Near East. Some key titles in his writings on the Near East include: “Syria Today,” printed by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (1954) and “Stable Instability in the Near East” which appeared in the February 1957 issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine. Also included are notes and memoranda taken by him for personal use from 1976 to 1982. Note: For his autobiographical writings, see Series 7. Diaries, Planners, and Travel Chronicles or Series 15. Memoirs.

Series 28. Writings by Others and about Alford Carleton, 1924-82, n.d. (0.3 lf)

Filed in this series and arranged alphabetically by subject matter and/or title are reflections on the life of Alford Carleton, such as an unpublished manuscript of Mission in a Post-Colonial World: Papers in Appreciation of Alford Carleton, 1970; and the writings of various journalists, professional colleagues of Alford Carleton, and others in the missionary field regarding the Near East and religion. Contained in the religious themes folder is a short essay written by former Republican presidential candidate, Wendell Willkie, in which he described a trip to the Middle East region, his enthusiasm for American missionary work, and his visits with other notable figures such as Gen. Charles de Gaulle and British Minister Maj. Gen. Edward Louis Spears. Also included are the writings of Anne Burr Wilson, generally consisting of her original poetry.

Series 29. Photographs, 1860-1981, n.d. (1.8 lf)

The photographic series, subdivided into three subseries, contains negatives, glossy prints, and thirty-four daguerreotypes of varying sizes of the Carleton and extended families. Filed in the negatives’ subseries are two undated glass plates of Alford and Mary Carleton with their children. The prints subseries contains photographs of Aleppo College students, administrators, and events, members of the Carleton family (listed alphabetically by person), geographic locations, and unidentified prints. The daguerreotypes, of varying conditions (i.e. faded images, unhinged cases, etc.), are also arranged alphabetically by name of family member and include those which are identified and those whose images are unknown. For a complete listing of all folder titles, see inventory.


The Carleton Family Papers were received in two installments (2006/047, 2006/067) in June and September of 2006 from Mrs. Muriel Carleton Siddall, Mrs. Anne Marie Carleton Wright, and Mrs. Caroline C. Carleton Burgoon.

Related Materials

The student file of Alford Carleton (28/2).

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