A most unusual chronology of Christian missionary history

Caroline D[utch] Hunt / Eddy del. / Pendleton’s Lithography, Missionary Tree. [Amherst, Mass.: William W. Hunt, 1834.]
Lithograph, 26 ¼”h x 20”w at greatest extent on an irregularly-trimmed sheet of wove paper, uncolored. Lined with a supplied piece of antique linen. Trimmed at bottom, possibly with loss of copyright. Long vertical tear from top extending perhaps 80% through image, other shorter mends and area of restoration including some facsimile to printed image. All restoration expertly done.
On Hold

An extremely rare and unusual graphic chronology of Christian missionary history, designed by an Amherst, Massachusetts woman who later taught the young Emily Dickinson. Only the third example located.

As was becoming increasingly common in this country, artist Caroline Hunt employed a naturalistic metaphor to convey the passage of time, the interconnectedness of events (real or imagined) and the strength and durability of Christianity (For an instance of the use of a river metaphor, see for example James Wilson’s 1814 Chronology Delineated.The American Antiquarian Society describes the Missionary Tree as follows:

“… tree chronicling the history of Christian missions and missionaries around the world. The trunk of the tree is the base with Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The branches chronicle important dates in Christianity such as “Origin Missy. in Arabiy Cent. 3rd” “Gospel Propagation Society 1700″ the A.B.C.F.M. (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions) in 1810 etc. At lower left is a key to shortened terms, and a table of the “Summary of Protestant Missions.”” (American Antiquarian Society)

The Missionary Tree gives much space to the activities of the A.B.C.F.M., founded in 1810 by graduates of Williams College, particularly its many missions to the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek and other Native American peoples.

Artist and designer Caroline Dutch Hunt (1800-1861) was a long-time educator, perhaps best known for having been the “dominant woman instructor” at the Amherst Academy in 1840-43, while poet Emily Dickinson was a student there (By sheer coincidence Hunt had previously taught Dickinson’s mother Emily Norcross for a time at the Munson (Mass.) Academy.) She had moved to Amherst after marrying the Reverend William Worthington Hunt (1796-1837), who served as the first pastor of Amherst’s North Church from 1827 until his early death a decade later.

OCLC 50119771 (Amherst College) and 950902404 (American Antiquarian Society), as of Dec. 2021. Background on Caroline D. Hunt from Alfred Habegger, My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. Background on William W. Hunt from Edward Wilton Carpenter and Charles Frederick Morehouse, The History of the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, p. 225.