|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one numerical series.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains copies of 489 numbered letters (as well as an index of letters) exchanged between Titus and Fidelia Church Coan between 1830 and 1848. Letters describe events and practical concerns of life in Hawaii, and also reflect the missionary movement of the time. The copies herein are described as 'carefully corrected from the original letters by Titus Muson Coan and Sarah Coan Waters and were created between 1891 and 1897. The letters are accompanied by hand written annotations.
Burke Library record group:
Auburn Theological Seminary Archives: AUB 2, papers of faculty and students
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
The following boxes are located offsite: Box 1. Please note that requests for use of boxes held in offsite storage must be made three business days in advance.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, AUB2: Titus and Fidelia Church Coan papers, 1830-1848, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Titus Coan family papers, 1818-1923 (bulk 1832-1882). Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of John K. Wright on behalf of the American Geographical Society on December 19, 1921.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Material was cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-07. Materials were housed in new acid-free folders and labeled in accordance with the original arrangement scheme indexed by the American Geographical Society. The finding aid was created by Paul Paulson in 2016 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.
2020-08-31 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Titus Coan was born in Connecticut in 1801 and educated at the East Guildford Academy. He was ordained by the Auburn Theological Society in 1833 after he was received into the Presbyterian Church at a Charles G. Finney revival in 1828. Fidelia Church was born in Riga, New York in 1810 and went on to study and become a teacher in Rochester. Fidelia and Titus Coan had been engaged for 6 years when in 1833, one month before they were due to be married, Titus was sent to Patagonia in Argentina on behalf of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Titus returned in 1834, married Fidelia, and in that same year they sailed together to Hawaii, then better known as the Sandwich Islands. After a seven month journey they settled in the city of Hilo on the island of Hawaii (the Big Island) and lived there for the following 45 years. Titus was very successful in converting the local population to Christianity and is celebrated in the Christian community for doing so. Both Titus and Fidelia made scientific observations of the volcanic activity on Hawaii and both wrote extensively on the subject in several publications, including the American Journal of Science and Arts. Titus Coan also provided articles for The Missionary Herald and wrote the book Life in Hawaii, recounting his experiences there. In separate trips in 1860 and 1867, Titus Coan made a visiting tour of the Marquesas Islands as a delegate of the Hawaii Missionary Society. Fidelia died in 1872 and Titus remarried in 1873 to Lydia Bingham. Titus Coan died in Hilo Hawaii in 1881.