menu icon mobile devices search icon mobile devicesSearch the site

J. Arthur Pearson Papers

Date range: 1884–1955.

Papers of the Rev. J. Arthur Pearson (1870–1947), Unitarian minister.

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 to 1908, before becoming District Minister of the London District Unitarian Society.

He held this post for thirty-six years, supervising all the churches in the capital and enjoying the soubriquet of ‘The Bishop’.

He also served as Secretary of the Order of Pioneer Preachers, founded by the Rev. R.J. Campbell during the New Theology period, from 1918 until its closure in 1932.

Following the death of Pearson’s daughter in 1989, the archive passed to Alan Ruston for sorting and distribution to appropriate repositories.

The Rylands collection includes letters from fellow students at the College and from Alexander Gordon (1841–1931),  who is also represented in the Unitarian College Archives.

The material details the activities of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, and its relationship to the Presbyterian Fund, and the affairs of Dr Williams’s Trust, of which Pearson was a trustee for some years.

There are also papers relating to the British and Foreign Unitarian Association (Incorporated), the Nonconformist Students Fraternal, Manchester, and Unitarian Sunday Schools, and a selection of Unitarian printed matter.

See also the Unitarian College archives.

Finding aids

  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • Alan Ruston, ‘The Papers of Rev. J. Arthur Pearson (1870–1947)’, Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, vol. 20, no. 1 (1991), pp. 212–14.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

Can we help?