Contribution Certificate “Morning Star” (1856)

American Maritime Documents 1776-1860

Stein, Douglas L. 1992

Contribution Certificate

Printed certificate, approximately 6 1/2″ x 4″. Many examples have engraved borders with decorative scenes of a brig along a coastline located in the center of the certificate. Scrolls to the right and left provided space to record the sum contributed and the equivalent number of shares accorded, usually at ten cents per share. Contains the signature of the Treasurer for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, located in Boston.

In 1856, the Hawaiian Board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association asked the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to help them raise funds for a vessel that would aid mission work in Hawaii, Micronesia, and the Marquesa Islands. Traffic between the islands was irregular, and missions often had difficulty procuring basic supplies. In August 1856, the American Board appealed to children in the United States to help purchase a missionary packet by buying ten-cent shares of ownership. In return, the children received Certificates of Contribution. One-hundred twenty thousand Americans became stockholders, and by year’s end the Morning Star, a hermaphrodite brig, had been built in Chelsea, Massachusetts, at a cost of $18,351.00. Launched in Boston, the Morning Star arrived at Honolulu in April, 1857 and continued to sail between South Pacific missions until she was sold in 1866. Five more Morning Stars succeeded her, all of which were funded by similar appeals.