Unitarian Papers of Rev. J. Arthur Pearson

Scope and Content

The collection includes letters from fellow students at the Unitarian College, Manchester and from Rev. Alexander Gordon (1841-1931). The material additionally details the activities of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen and its relationship to the Presbyterian Fund and the affairs of the Dr. Williams's Trust of which Pearson was a trustee for some years. Papers of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association (Incorporated), the Nonconformist Students Fraternal, Manchester, a selection of Unitarian printed matter and personal lectures and notes of Pearson complete the collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

J. Arthur Pearson (1870-1947) was born in Halifax, and entered the Unitarian Church's Home Missionary College, Manchester in 1889. Pearson was a student of what is now the Unitarian College, Manchester from 1889 to 1896. He worked as a minister in Oldham from 1896-1908, before becoming District Minister of the London District Unitarian Society. He served in this post for thirty six years supervising all the churches within this district. He was particularly active in the Pioneer Preachers' Movement, founded by Rev. R J Campbell during the 'New Theology' period, which was given a permanent home at Highbury, London, in 1914. Pearson served as Secretary and Superintendent of this body for twenty years, which gave support for prospective preachers.

Pearson was for many years a member of the committee of the Sunday School Association, holding most of the offices available and becoming President in 1921. He edited the Sunday School Quarterly , from 1909-1913 and the Sunday School Monthly from 1913-1919.


The Pearson papers are arranged into the following series:

  • PP/A - Unitarian College students' correspondence
  • PP/B - Unitarian Sunday School printed matter
  • PP/C - Presbyterian College, Carmarthen
  • PP/D - Unitarian Church printed matter
  • PP/E - Dr Williams' Trust
  • PP/F - Alexander Gordon correspondence
  • PP/G - Miscellaneous Unitarian printed matter
  • PP/H - Unitarian publicity material
  • PP/I - Nonconformist Students' Fraternal meetings, Manchester
  • PP/J - British and Foreign Unitarian Association
  • PP/K - Fellowship of Youth
  • PP/L - Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The archive and this finding aid may contain personal data about living individuals. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University Library (UML) holds the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Rev. J. Arthur Pearson were donated to the John Rylands University Library of Manchester by Alan Ruston, Vice- President of the Unitarian Historical Society on the 16 March 1992.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PP.

Related Material

JRUL has custody of significant Unitarian-related archives including the archive of the Unitarian College, of which Pearson was an alumnus, and the papers of Alexander Gordon ( GB 133 GOR .

Other papers of or relating to Pearson are held at : Oldham Local Studies and Archive: ministry papers, Lord St. Chapel, Oldham GB 758 C-M57, and at Harris Manchester College,Oxford, and Dr Williams' Library, London.