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Bingham family papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 81

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, journals, manuscripts, notebooks, sermons, writings, two books with manuscript notes, legal and financial records, photographs, printed material and miscellanea documenting the personal lives and professional careers of four generations of the Bingham family. The papers include material documenting Hiram Bingham (1789-1869) and his missionary work in Hawaii; Hiram Bingham (1831-1908) and his missionary work in the Gilbert Islands, his literary efforts, and family matters; and Hiram Bingham (1875-1956) and his academic career, his South American explorations, including the discovery of the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911, and his political career as lieutenant governor, governor, and United States senator from Connecticut. Papers relating to several other family members are also included in the papers.

Dates

  • 1811-1974

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Existence and Location of Copies

Writings of Hiram Bingham II are available on microfilm (1010 frames on 1 reel, 35mm.) from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, at cost. Order no. HM175.

"Te Baba N Amerika," A short history of the work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions is available on microfilm (35 frames on 1 reel, 35mm) and photocopy from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, at cost. Order no. HM115.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. 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 Hiram Bingham III in 1936 and 1937, 1953-1958 (with Woodbridge Bingham); additional gifts by Woodbridge Bingham and Alfred M. Bingham; some materials purchased from Beecher College, 1945; further gifts from Mrs. James Brooks in 1969; gift of Marian Bingham, 1994 and 2014; and gift of Anne B. Pierson, 2019. The books were transferred from Mudd Library by Beinecke Library staff, 2012.

Arrangement

Arranged in twelve series: I. Hiram Bingham I, 1811-1920. II. Hiram Bingham II, 1831-1917. III. Hiram Bingham III, Correspondence, 1883-1960. IV. Hiram Bingham III, Teaching, 1893-1924. V. Hiram Bingham III, Latin America, 1842-1930. VI. Hiram Bingham III, War Service and Aviation, 1914-1943. VII. Hiram Bingham III, Politics, 1901-1935. VIII. Hiram Bingham III, Elihu Yale Biography, 1937-1939. IX. Hiram Bingham III, Personal Papers, 1875-1975. X. Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham, 1882-1976. XI. Henry S. Gregor, 1894-1967. XII. Hiram Bingham IV, 1942-1972; and subsequent additions.

Extent

75.94 Linear Feet (140 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0081

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, journals, manuscripts, notebooks, sermons, writings, two books with manuscript notes, legal and financial records, photographs, printed material and miscellanea documenting the personal lives and professional careers of four generations of the Bingham family. The papers include material documenting Hiram Bingham (1789-1869) and his missionary work in Hawaii; Hiram Bingham (1831-1908) and his missionary work in the Gilbert Islands, his literary efforts, and family matters; and Hiram Bingham (1875-1956) and his academic career, his South American explorations, including the discovery of the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911, and his political career as lieutenant governor, governor, and United States senator from Connecticut. Papers relating to several other family members are also included in the papers.

Biographical / Historical

Hiram Bingham I (1789-1869), pioneer missionary to the Hawaiian Islands, was born October 30, 1789, in Bennington, Vermont, the seventh of thirteen children of Calvin and Lydia (Denton) Bingham. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1816 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1819. In the fall of 1819, having decided to enter the foreign mission service, he was ordained (September 29) under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) of Boston, married (October 11) Sybil Moseley of Westfield, Massachusetts, and sailed (October 23) from Boston on the brig Thaddeus, with other missionaries bound for the Sandwich Islands.

The Binghams arrived at Honolulu on April 19, 1820, and began the work of civilizing and converting the natives. Reducing the Hawaiian language to writing, the missionaries began teaching the natives to read. Bingham wrote Elementary Lessons in Hawaiian (1822), First Book for Children (1831), and Scripture Catechism (1831). In October 1825, he began translating the New Testament into Hawaiian, and by 1839 he and his associates had completed the translation of the entire Bible.

Sybil Moseley was born September 12, 1792. She and Hiram Bingham had seven children: Sophia Moseley (born 1820 November 9), Levi Parsons (1822 December 31; died in infancy), Jeremiah Evarts (1824 February 11; died in infancy), Lucy Whiting (1826 October 26), Elizabeth Kaahumanu (1829 March 8), Hiram, Jr. (1831 August 16), and Lydia (1834 December 25).

Sybil Bingham's health gradually declined, and in August 1840, the family left for New England, hoping that her health would improve. Hiram Bingham spent the following years travelling through New England and to Washington, DC, telling of the missionaries’ accomplishments in Hawaii. He was unable to gain approval for returning to Hawaii, however, and in September 1846, the ABCFM severed the Binghams from its employ. Hiram's lengthy Residence of Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands, describing the early missionary efforts there, was published in 1847.

Sybil M. Bingham died February 27, 1848, at Easthampton, Massachusetts. Hiram continued his preaching and writing, serving for a time as pastor of an African church in New Haven. After his marriage to Naomi Emma Morse (1854 August 24), he worked with her in establishing a boarding and day school for young ladies in New Haven. Hiram Bingham I died November 11, 1869, in New Haven.

Hiram Bingham II (1831-1908), missionary to the Gilbert Islands, was born August 16, 1831, in Honolulu. When he was nine years old, his parents, Hiram and Sybil (Moseley) Bingham, returned to New England, where he received his education at Williston Academy, Easthampton, Massachusetts, and at Yale, where he graduated in 1853. After spending one year as principal of the Northampton (Massachusetts) High School and a second as a private tutor, he entered Andover Seminary. Poor health forced him to leave the seminary early in 1856, but on November 9, 1856, he was ordained in New Haven. Within a month, he married Minerva Clarissa Brewster (also known as Clara Bingham) of Northampton (November 18), and sailed with her from Boston on the brig Morning Star (December 2), with plans to establish missionary outposts in Micronesia. Clara Brewster, daughter of Jonathan Brewster (1793-1862), was born October 19, 1834. She was a teacher in Northampton when Hiram met her.

Hiram and Clara Bingham reached the Gilbert Islands in September 1857, and began their difficult mission task at Abaiang. In 1865 he visited the United States but returned the following year as commander of the second Morning Star, on which he toured mission outposts in Micronesia. From 1868 to 1873, Bingham resided in Honolulu, completing his translation of the Gilbertese New Testament. After another two year stay at Abaiang, where he preached, taught in the school, and worked on a Gilbertese dictionary, Bingham’s poor health compelled him to return to Honolulu, where his son, Hiram Bingham III, was born in 1875. Except for three visits to the United States, Hiram and Clara spent the remainder of their lives at their home, "Gilbertinia," in Honolulu. They were joined there by Hiram's two sisters, Elizabeth and Lydia. Lydia, who had left New England in the late 1860s to start a girls’ school in Honolulu, later married the Reverend Titus Coan, a venerable missionary. Soon after their marriage, Titus Coan died. Lydia returned to the Binghams’ home, Gilbertinia.

By 1890 Bingham had completed translating the entire Bible into the Gilbertese language, and it was published in 1892. His other publications include The Story of the Morning Star (1866), a Gilbertese hymn book (1880), commentaries on the Gospels and the book of Acts, a Gilbert Islands Bible Dictionary (1895), and a Gilbertese dictionary (1908). Clara Bingham shared fully in her husband’s missionary activities, and in 1875 she published a volume of Bible Stories in the Gilbertese. Together, they expanded the vocabulary and provided written form for the Gilbertese language.

Clara Bingham died November 17, 1903. Hiram Bingham II died October 25, 1908, following an operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, while he was in the United States to supervise publication of his Gilbertese dictionary.

Hiram Bingham III (1875-1956), explorer and United States senator, was born November 19, 1875, in Honolulu. He studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts (1892-1894), before entering Yale. After graduating from Yale in 1898, he received an MA in History from the University of California, Berkeley (1900), an MA (1901) and PhD (1905) from Harvard University. He served as an instructor at Harvard (1901-1904) and at Princeton (1905-1907), before becoming lecturer in South American History and Geography at Yale (1907-1910). At Yale he was promoted to assistant professor (1910-1915) and professor (1915-1924), and from 1908 to 1930 he served as curator of the Collections on South American History. During this period he became an important critic of American foreign policy toward Latin America, publishing attacks on the Monroe Doctrine and arguing for new attitudes toward Latin America. Bingham spent a large part of his time at Yale engaged in South American exploration. In 1906-1907 he had traced the course of Simon Bolivar's famous march of 1819, across Venezuela and Colombia. After attending the First Pan American Scientific Congress in Santiago, Chile in December, 1908, he undertook a second expedition exploring the old Spanish trade route from Buenos Aires to Lima, Peru. In Peru, he became interested in Inca civilization, and in 1911 he directed the first of three Yale Peruvian expeditions in an effort to locate the true last Inca capital. This expedition discovered the spectacular Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, and in 1912 and 1914-1915 the National Geographic Society joined Yale in sponsoring expeditions to explore Machu Picchu and the surrounding region.

In 1916 Bingham attended the Republican National Convention and became president of the Connecticut Hughes Alliance, helping to organize the state's Republican campaign. Having joined the Connecticut National Guard, he spent part of the summer of 1916 as captain of the Yale batteries at their encampment in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Early in 1917, he attended the Curtiss Flying School in Miami, and when the United States entered the World War, he was appointed major in the Air Service. In 1918 he served as head of the U.S. Army flying school at Issoudun, France. After the war, Bingham retained his interest in aviation, serving from 1928 to 1935 as president of the National Aeronautic Association.

In 1922, Hiram Bingham III was elected Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut on the Republican ticket. Two years later he won election as Governor, but before he took office, Senator Frank Brandegee died and Bingham won the special election of December 1924,to fill his vacant seat. On January 7, 1925, Bingham took the oath of office as Governor of Connecticut, gave the longest inaugural address on record, and resigned his office. On the following day he took the oath of office as United States Senator and travelled to Washington to assume his new position. He was re-elected in 1926 to a full six-year term. In the Senate, Bingham was a staunch supporter of President Coolidge, played an active part in aviation legislation, chaired the Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs, and was a member of the Finance Committee. In November 1929, he was censored by the Senate for "impropriety" in bringing a Connecticut manufacturer's lobbyist into an executive session of the Finance Committee. During the Hoover administration, he worked on the Appropriations Committee, participated in the movement to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment, and campaigned against the Child Labor Amendment. He was defeated for re-election in 1932.

Hiram Bingham III married Alfreda Mitchell on November 20, 1900. They had seven sons. On March 27, 1937, they were divorced. Bingham married Suzanne (Carroll) Hill on June 28, 1937.

After leaving the Senate early in 1933, Bingham resumed historical research for several years and pursued business activities as a director in the Washington Loan and Trust Company, the Colmena Oil Company, Flagler Grove Estates, and the U.S. Air Company. During the Second World War he was employed by the U.S. Navy as a lecturer at naval training schools in the Pacific theatre and elsewhere. He visited Peru in 1948 for the opening of the Hiram Bingham Highway leading to Machu Picchu. In 1951 President Truman appointed him chairman of the Civil Service Loyalty Review Board. He died June 6, 1956, in Washington, DC, where he had resided since his second marriage in 1937. Bingham's numerous publications concerning Latin American history, foreign policy, Peruvian exploration, aviation, politics, and other topics include the following books: The Journal of an Expedition across Venezuela and Colombia (1909); Across South America: An Account of a Journey from Buenos Aires to Lima (1911); The Monroe Doctrine, an Obsolete Shibboleth (1913); An Explorer in the Air Service (1920); Inca Land: Explorations in the Highlands of Peru (1922); Machu Picchu, a Citadel of the Incas (1930); Elihu Yale, the American Nabob of Queen Square (1939); and Lost City of the Incas, the Story of Machu Picchu and Its Builders (1948).

Note: for additional information about Hiram Bingham III, see the Yale Peruvian Expedition Papers (MS 664).

Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham (1874-1967) was born in New York City on December 29, 1874, the daughter of Alfred and Annie o. (Tiffany) Mitchell. The Mitchells owned homes in New York City, New London, Connecticut, and, after 1900, an estate at Port Antonio, Jamaica. Alfreda and her younger sister Charly travelled with the family through Europe, Egypt and Japan. On November 20, 1900, Alfreda married Hiram Bingham III. They had seven sons: Woodbridge, born 1901 November 20; Hiram IV, 1903 July 17; Alfred Mitchell, 1905 February 20; Charles Tiffany, 1906 August 31; Brewster, 1908 September 1; Mitchell, 1910 November 20; and Jonathan Brewster, 1914 April 24. All seven sons attended Hamden Hall in New Haven and graduated from Groton. All except Mitchell graduated from Yale. Alfreda and Hiram Bingham were divorced on March 27, 1937. In August 1937, Alfreda married Henry Gregor, a composer and concert pianist.

Henry Gregor was born January 1, 1886, in Moscow, where his father was then engaged in business. He received his education in Germany and studied at the Berlin Conservatory, before emigrating to the United States in 1925. After teaching music at the National Park Seminary in Washington, DC, for several years, he joined the music faculty of the University of Miami in Coral Gables. Henry Gregor died on January 20, 1964, and Alfreda died on August 27, 1967, at the age of 92.

Separated Materials

Daguerreotypes of Lydia Bingham Coan and Hiram Bingham II were transferred to the Historical Picture Collection (MS 713), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Miniatures and daguerreotypes of Julia Goddard (with hair), Reverend Alfred Mitchell (2 items), Lucretia Mumford Woodbridge Mitchell (2 items) and unidentified man in uniform were transferred to the American Paintings and Sculpture Department, Yale University Art Gallery on April 22, 2016.
Title
Guide to the Bingham Family Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
compiled by staff of Manuscripts and Archives
Date
July 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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