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Clah, Arthur Wellington (1831-1916)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 WMS/Amer.140
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Clah, Arthur Wellington (1831-1916)
Date(s): 1859-[1920]
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 5 boxes (72 items)
Name of creator(s): Clah | Arthur Wellington | 1831-1916
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Arthur Wellington Clah (1831-1916) of the Tsimshian people was one of the earliest converts made by William Duncan (1832-1918) of the Church Missionary Society after the latter's arrival in 1857 at Port Simpson, B.C., Canada. He became a pupil-teacher, trader and preacher and was closely associated with Duncan whose life he saved from his unconverted fellow tribesmen. He also became a prominent member of the Metlakahtla Settlement set up by Duncan in 1862 about 15 miles to the south of Port Simpson, and when this was transferred to New Metlakahtla, Alaska, in 1887, Clah was one of the Tsimshian who relocated with it. Like Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), who was an outstanding benefactor of the Metlakahtlans, Clah was active in pressing his people's land-claims against the Canadian government.


Scope and content/abstract:

Journals, account-books and note-books by a Tsimshian Native American: with reminiscences of his early life; extracts by Sir Henry Wellcome from the journals 1875-1905; and a 'List of journals, account books and other memorandum books of Arthur Wellington Clah', with brief notes by Wellcome on the development of writing and culture.

The journal series was intended to be a history of his people: it includes daily weather-notes, regular pious interjections, and much sporadic material on his life and work, on epidemics, residual potlatch ceremonies, Native American relations with whites, and on land-claims. Produced at Port Simpson, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; at New Metlakahtla, Alaska, U.S.A.; and at other locations.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Divided into 72 diaries.

Conditions governing access:

Open. The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Described in: Robin Price, An Annotated Catalogue of Medical Americana in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1983).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased from Clah's family after his death, 1911.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See WMS/Amer.141 for material relating to Clah's son Albert Wellington (1881-1914). In Henry Wellcome's own papers WA/HSW/ME deals with his involvement with Metlakatla. In the records of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, WA/HMM/CM/Col/71 documents the acquisition of material including Clah personalia.

Publication note:

See The Apostle of Alaska: The Story of William Duncan of Metlakahtla by John William Arctander (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1909), pp. 57, 58 (portrait of Clah facing), 122-123, 133-134; The Indian tribes of North America by John Reed Swanton (Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968), pp. 543, 606-607; and The story of Metlakahtla by Henry S. Wellcome (London : Saxon, 1887), pp. 9, 13, 50-51.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2008

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