Samuel Sobieski Nelles fonds

Fonds number


Name of Creator

Nelles, Samuel Sobieski

Dates of Material



Samuel Sobieski Nelles fonds

Source of title proper

Title based on the contents of the fonds.


1.80 m of textual records

Administrative History

Samuel Sobieski Nelles was an educator and long-time academic administrator, who served various positions at Victoria College/University, Cobourg, 1850-1887. He was born in Mount Pleasant, Ontario in 1823, and received his earlier education in New York state, before spending two years at Victoria College under the tutelage of Egerton Ryerson. Following a year of home study he took his degree at the Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, 1846. After an interval of teaching and Methodist Church work he was named Principal of Victoria College in 1850, and then President in 1854, a position he held until his death in 1887. During the years 1852-1887 he was also a Professor; his titles included Professor of Mental Philosophy, with Logic, Ethics, Evidences of Religion, and Homeletics, 1856-1872.

Scope and Content

During his thirty-seven years as a teacher and administrator at Victoria College, Samuel Nelles made an indelible imprint on both the ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the system of higher education in Ontario. Consequently, his papers possess significant research value for religious, intellectual, and educational historians. The collection held by the Archives is a fairly representative sampling of Nelles' correspondence, essays, articles, sermons, speeches, addresses, lectures, and notes. The earliest material dates from his student days in the early 1840's, and the last records were written only days before his death in 1887.

Fonds consists of the following series: Correspondence, 1856–1962; Diaries and journals, 1846–1887; Essays and articles, 1842–1896; Sermons, 1848–1888; Speeches and addresses, 1842–1887; Lectures, 1854–1887; Notebooks of sermons, addresses, lectures, essays and notes, 1847–1887; Writing and memorabilia, 1846–1902; and Material relating to Victoria College, 1851–1884.



Immediate Source of Acquisition

1991.197V - originally part of the United Church of Canada Archives Collections. Transferred to the Victoria Archives in 1992.


Not including Correspondence, the remaining records in the collection are divided according to type and then arranged chronologically whenever dates are available. Undated items have been placed in alphabetical order by their titles.


No further accruals are expected.

General Notes

See also fonds 2103 - Alida Martin fonds

General Notes

See also fonds 2090 - Victoria College (Cobourg, Ont.). President's Office fonds

General Notes

Those seeking further information on Samuel Nelles should consult the biographical file compiled by the Archives, the pamphlet collection, the Christian Guardian, and the personal papers of contemporaries such as J.G. Hodgins.


Administrators / Faculty personal papers