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Henry Harris Jessup Papers

Call Number: RG 117

Scope and Contents

These papers are a valuable source of information about American missions in the Near East during the second half of the nineteenth century.

The bound copy books of Jessup's outgoing correspondence in Series I date from 1860 to 1899. Some of the letters in the bound volumes are illegible due to deterioration of the ink; preservation microfilm copies of the bound volumes have been made.

The first two journals in Series II date primarily from before Jessup's missionary service, though the volume covering the period 1855 Jan-Dec includes copies of printed letters by Jessup dating from January 1856 to July 1858. Of considerable interest are two journals documenting Jessup's first voyage from New York to Syria. This series also includes a journal by Jessup's son William, dating from October 1886 to March 1888.

The Pocket Diaries of Series III are of briefer, non-narrative format. Nineteen diaries of Jessup's wife Theodosia document her life as a missionary wife in Syria from 1885 to 1905. Five diaries of Henry Harris Jessup date from 1860- 1862, 1868, and 1882, while one volume, dated 1912, is of Jessup's son William.

The Writings of Series IV relate to personal reminiscences of Jessup, his autobiography Fifty-Three Years in Syria, and the history of the Syria Mission 1860 to 1880. The Photographs of Series V are largely those used in Jessup's autobiography. The Printed Material of Series VI consists of a scrapbook of newspaper clippings dating from 1868 to 1880.


  • 1851-1912


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.


  1. I. Correspondence, 1860-1899
  2. II. Journals, 1853-1888
  3. III. Pocket Diaries, 1860-1912
  4. IV. Writings, 1851-1906
  5. V. Photographs, ca.1870s-1910
  6. VI. Printed Material, 1868-1880


5 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, journals, diaries, writings, photographs, and collected material document the missionary work of Henry Harris Jessup and his wife Theodosia Davenport Jessup in Syria. Henry Harris Jessup (1832-1910) was a missionary in Syria from 1856 to 1910, serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and Presbyterian Mission Board . He was one of the founders of the Syrian Protestant College, later known as the American University of Beirut.

Biographical / Historical

1832 Apr 19
Born in Montrose, Pennsylvania
B.A., Yale
B.D., Union Theological Seminary
Ordained as Presbyterian minister
Served in Tripoli, Syria as a missionary under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; developed expertise in Arabic language
Married Caroline Bush while on visit to America; --Children: Anna, William, and Henry
Returned to Tripoli
Moved to Beirut
Brother, Samuel, went to Syria as missionary for the American Board
Wife, Caroline, died
One of the founders of the Syrian Protestant College, now the American University of Beirut
Married Harriet Elizabeth Dodge who died in 1882--Children: Stuart, Mary, Amy, Ethel, Frederick
Syrian mission work transferred from the American Board to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions; Jessup was acting pastor of the Syrian Church of Beirut and secretary of the Asfuriyeh Hospital for the Insane from its foundation.
Published The Women of the Arabs
Published Syrian Home Life
Published The Mohammedan Missionary Problem
Married Theodosia Davenport Lockwood
Published The Greek Church and Protestant Missions
Published The Setting of the Crescent and the Rising Cross
Published Fifty-Three Years in Syria
1910 Apr 28
Died in Beirut
Guide to the Henry Harris Jessup Papers
Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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