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Johnstone-Walker family papers

Call Number: MS 949

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of diaries and letters of the Johnstone (also spelled Johnston) and Walker families. Almost all of the items in the collection were written by the women of the family, in particular Marianne Cassandra (Howe) Johnstone (Mrs. Thomas Pinckney Johnstone) and her daughters Martha Howe (Johnstone) Walker (Mrs. James Walker) and Mary Sybil Johnstone. Thomas Pinckney Johnstone (died 1883) was a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent to Turkey in 1833, where he served in Constantinople, Trebizond, and Smyrna before returning to the United States with his family in 1853, and the diaries of his wife and daughters record their experiences in both countries. Marianne Johnstone writes of raising her children in Turkey surrounded by hardship and disease, or her attempts to convert her Turkish, Greek, and Armenian neighbors, and of the persecutions suffered by the converts. Martha Johnstone Walker kept diaries which describe the countryside, the happy family life they enjoyed, events such as the visit of the Sultan of Smyrna, and their voyage home to America in 1853, while her sister Mary Johnstone wrote a short history of the family's adventures in Turkey.

The diaries of Marianne and Martha Johnstone continue after their return to the United States and describe their life in Granville (Ohio), where they came in contact with anti-slavery activists, in Salem (Massachusetts), and in New Haven (Connecticut). Martha Johnstone Walker attended Le Roy Seminary in New York, and her school experiences include a women's rights debate and a student rebellion against bad food. A more detailed summary of the diaries, prepared by Curtis Howe Walker, son of James and Martha Walker, is included in the collection. Also included are a record of Johnstone family births and marriages, and six family letters, the earliest of which is a record of Thomas Pinckney and Marianne Johnstone's activities in Smyrna in September of 1846 and of their education of their children. Of the remaining letters, an undated one from Martha Johnstone Walker was written in Turkey and the others were written after the family had moved to the United States.

These papers were donated to Yale University by Mrs. Curtis H. Walker in 1957.


  • 1833-1951
  • Majority of material found within 1833 - 1901


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Curtis H. Walker, 1957.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Chiefly diaries and correspondence by the wife and daughters of Thomas Pinckney Johnstone, a missionary to Turkey from 1833 to 1853. The diaries record their attempts to convert Turkish, Greek, and Armenian neighbors, the persecutions suffered by the converts, and the life of the missionary family. Diaries and letters written on their return to the United States describe their life in Granville, Ohio where they met anti-slavery activists; in Salem, Massachusetts; and in New Haven, Connecticut. The diary of Martha Johnstone Walker reports on her experiences at the Le Roy Seminary in New York. Also in the papers are six family letters and genealogies of the Walker and Johnstone families.

Guide to the Johnstone-Walker Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
July 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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