Luman Boyden missionary journals

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This collection consists of manuscript journals of Reverend Luman Boyden (1805-1876) documenting his missionary work in East Boston, Massachusetts. Boyden was a Methodist clergyman employed by the Boston City Missionary Society to visit and assist residents in poverty, including Protestant, Irish Catholic, African American, and immigrant families. Detailed, daily entries describe residents’ struggles with alcoholism, domestic violence and other crimes, suicide, and illnesses such as tuberculosis, smallpox, and typhoid fever. Boyden also describes his attempts at conversion, distribution of Bibles and tracts, and advocacy of temperance. Entries list names and addresses, including many tenement blocks, and paint a detailed image of urban life in East Boston during this period.

Historical manuscripts reflect the language, prejudices, and attitudes of their time, material which may be considered offensive today.

For specific guidance on deciphering Luman Boyden’s handwriting, please see these tips from our seasoned transcribers.

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