The papers of the Rev. Chauncey Northrop Pond reveal Pond's concern to document the lives of missionaries in China and other countries by collecting missionary correspondence and related historical materials. Pond's professional files offer a limited view of his sixty-year career as a Congregational minister. There is virtually no information on his personal life in this collection.
The collection is arranged into four records series: Series I, Correspondence of Foreign Missionaries, Collected and Received by C. N. Pond; Series II, Historical Files Collected by C. N. Pond; III, Files Relating to the Pastoral Work of C. N. Pond, and IV. Pond Family Photographs. Within series, materials are arranged alphabetically by topic or type of material.
Chauncey Ponds' collection of missionary correspondence and historical material, with its emphasis on China, documents the Ponds' personal interest in the Oberlin missionaries who served in Shansi Province. The Ponds' only daughter, Mrs. Jennie Pond Atwater (1865-96), for four years a missionary at the Fenzhou station of the American Board, died there of puerperal fever at age 31. In the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, the Ponds lost their son-in-law, the Rev. Ernest R. Atwater (1865-1900), their grandchildren, Ernestine (b. 1889), Mary (b. 1892), Celia, and Bertha (b. 1896), and Ernest's second wife, Elizabeth Graham Atwater. The Pond papers contain Jennie Pond Atwater's letters (1892-96) addressed to her mother and father describing daily life, her children, and her struggle to learn Chinese. Jennie's letters to other China missionaries are located in the papers of missionaries Lydia Lord Davis (30/80) and Alice Moon Williams (30/58) held in the College Archives. A copy of Ernest's diary letter describing Jennie's death is located in the papers of Alice Moon Williams (30/58) with other letters from Ernest.
Unique to this missionary collection is a small group of letters written in 1898 by Jennie Pond Atwater's daughters, Ernestine (age 8) and Mary (age 6), to their parents and grandparents, Rev. and Mrs. Pond. These letters are fresh and affecting, especially in view of the imminent tragedy. Also present in Series I are letters from the following China missionaries: Dr. Irenaeus J. Atwood (1850-1913), Rowena Bird (1865-1900), Eva Jane Price (1855-1900), the Rev. C. W. Price (1847-1900), Alice Moon Williams (1860-1952), Lydia Lord Davis (1867-1952), and Jennie Rowland Clapp (1845-1900).
The Boxer Rebellion itself is not well documented in Pond's historical files. The researcher is advised to consult the papers of Alice Moon Williams (30/58) for contemporary accounts of the massacre. Of interest in these papers, however, are photocopies of news accounts (1900-01) from The Oberlin News describing the memorial service for the murdered missionaries conducted by the Rev. Pond and Rev. Henry. M. Tenney (1841-1932) for Oberlin's First and Second Congregational churches on November 18, 1900. These accounts reveal the massacre's devastating impact on Oberlin's Congregational churches, each of which had lost missionaries in the uprising. First Church's long involvement with foreign missionaries is documented by a notebook (1865-85) containing loose papers relating to the Ladies Foreign Missionary Society, probably a predecessor to First Church's Woman's Foreign Missionary Society. Among the papers are two letters (1874, n.d.) from women missionaries to the wife of the President of Oberlin College, Mrs. Charles Grandison Finney (Rebecca Allen Rayl, 1824-1907).
A scrapbook assembled by the Rev. Pond, entitled "News from China," documents in part the role of several graduates of Oberlin College in reopening the Shansi Mission after its destruction by the Boxers. Spanning the period 1904 to 1919, it contains printed materials relating to the work of Wynn Cowan Fairfield(1886-1961), Paul L. Corbin (1875-1936), and Flora Heebner (1874-1947) and contains a report (1914) on the Lydia Lord Davis School for Girls in Fenzhou. Also present are photographs (1908, 1912-19, n.d.) depicting the mission buildings at Fenzhou and Taigu and the families of the second generation of Shansi missionaries. These are housed in Subseries 2 of this series. Photographs of the Pond family and relatives are housed in Series IV.
Of considerable interest are letters (1875-1913, n.d.) from missionaries in Africa, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, and the Pacific island of Uola. Correspondents not only depict daily life in their countries but also provide corroboration of the common missionary experience: loneliness, fear, illness, language difficulties, and unshakable Christian faith. Correspondents from Africa include Emma C. Redick (b. 1872), Janette E. Miller, Nellie J. Arnott, Louise B. Fay (b. 1869), and Minnie J. Sanders. Charles K. Tracy (b. 1874) and Anna Victoria Mumford (b. 1838) write from Turkey and Jennie Fuller from India. Some letters are addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Pond" and others are circular letters to "Dear Friends."
Materials pertaining to Rev. Pond's pastoral work span the years 1866 (the year of his ordination) to 1920, the year of his death. Pond's appointment and reappointments to the pastorate at Berea Congregational Church in Berea, Ohio, are documented by a small number of appointment letters (1862-94). Pond's correspondence (1894-1906) with the trustees of the North Bloomfield Congregational Church mainly concerns the terms of his service there as a part-time supply preacher. Various miscellaneous files, including an account book, scrapbook materials, and loose notes, provide scant evidence of Pond's tireless work for the Industrial Missionary Association of Alabama and the Associated Charities of Lorain County.