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Samuel Sobieski Nelles fonds
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Address. "Important Folk." n.d.
Convocation Address. May 13, 1885.
Educational Address re: Endowment for Victoria College and Federation. 1885.
Sermon on Salvation. Richmond Street, Millbrook. 1884. Carlton Street, Toronto. 1885.
Sermon. Eternal Life. n.d.
Sermon. "Whatsoever things are true." July 16, 1885.
Sermon. "Kingdom of God." July 16, 1885.
Sermon. "The Way of God More Perfectly." July 17, 1885.
Sermon. Gifts of God. September 3, 1885.
Sermon. Labours. September 13, 1885.
Sermon. "The Church of the Living God." September 14, 1885.
Sermon. "Thy Kingdom Come." n.d.
Sermon. "A God that hidest thyself." November 29, 1885.
Sermon. Able Ministers of the New Testament. n.d.
Sermon. Kingdom as Leaven. March 31, 1886.
Baccalaureate Sermon. May, 1887.
Sermon. Wisdom and Knowledge. Central Methodist. January 23, 1887.
Notebook. Educational Sermon. Dominion Church, Ottawa. March 6, 1887.
Sermon. Actual and Ideal. July 21, 1887.
Sermon. Weapons of Warfare. August, 1887.

Samuel Sobieski Nelles fonds

  • CA ON00357 2038
  • Fonds
  • 1842-1962

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.

Nelles, Samuel Sobieski


Series consists of lectures, 1854–1887, predominantly concerning religion, but including philosophy, metaphysics and ethics.

The three boxes of lectures range in date from 1854 to 1887. Most are contained in notebooks, and they tend to be in the form of brief notes and questions rather than fully realized drafts. Usually the academic lectures are constructed around the texts which have been chosen for a particular course. Also included in this series are several lectures of a more popular or informal nature which were designed to appeal to student audiences or to the general public. Following the lectures are those notebooks which contain some combination of record types such as essays, sermons, addresses, and lectures.

Notebook of Lectures.

Lecture on Jouffroy. January, 1871.
Lecture on Hamilton. November, 1873.
Lectures on Ethics. Lectures on Logic. 1875, 1877, 1878, 1879.
Lecture Notes on Whewell's Elements. n.d.

Notebook of Lectures.

"On Logic." (Whately) n.d.
Saturday Lectures to Preachers. (Homiletics) March 7, 1868.
Lectures to Candidates for the Ministry. February-April, 1872.
Lectures on Homiletics. March-May, 1873.
Closing Lecture. April 30,1875.

Notebook of Lectures.

Lectures and Questions on McCosh on Intuitions. n.d.
Questions on Whewell's Elements. February, 1868.
Questions on Locke. September, 1869.
Lectures on Whewell's Elements. September, 1870.

Notebook of Lectures

Hamilton's Metaphysics. October, 1867.
Metaphysics. 1869-1870.
Psychology. September, 1871.
Stewart's Discussion of God and a Future Life. 1872-1873.
Ethics. (Wuttke) 1875-1876.

Notebook of Lectures.

Lectures on Butler. October, 1867.
Lecture on Paul's Life. March 13, 1870.
Lecture on Biography of Paul. 1870
Lectures on Logic. 1873.
Lectures in Ethics. 1876-1877


"Questions and Notes on Butler's Analogy" Commenced November 17, 1866. Preparatory to the Class Exercises of the 1866-7 Session.

Notebook of Ethical Lectures.

"Questions and Prelections on Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels." August, 1866.
Ethical Lectures. 1867-1868.
Lectures on Whewell's Elements.1870-1871.

Sunday Lectures.

Personal Testimony to Value of True Piety. December 2, 1866. Keeping Up the Good Work. January 6, 1867. Holding Fast One’s Integrity. March 3, 1867.
English Versions of the Bible. October 4, 1868.
Bible Lectures. September 12, October 3, October 10, 1869.
Sunday Lectures. Progressive Character of Religious Truth. November 26, December 17, 1865.
"On Our Faults." January 14, 1866.
Moral Character of Opinions. November 27, 1866.
"Essentials and Circumstantials." October 6, 1867.
Head vs. Heart. November, 1867.
"She hath done what she could." December 7, 1867.
Dangers of Over-intellectualism. March 8, 1868.
"There is a spirit in man." April 19, 1868.
Familiar Lecture to the Preachers. March 19, April 9, 1866.


Notices and Counsels. 1873-1874.
Sermon Bones. God Hidden and Found. August 20, 1881.
Be Ye Also Enlarged. October 23, 1881.
Educational Sermon. St. Thomas. November 27, 1881.
Eternal Life. n.d.
Leaven. Sherburne Street. March, 1883.
Work Out Salvation. August 8, 1883.
Whatsoever Things Are True. n.d.
God Hideth. n.d.
Whatsoever Things Are True. August 24, 1883.
Educational Sermon. n.d.
First the Blade, then the Ear. July 2, 1884.


Sermon for Conference. "This is the victory that over-cometh the world."


Notes on Jouffroy. n.d.
Lectures in Logic. September, 1867.
Sermon. "Attractive Powers of the Cross". n.d.


Notes on Stewart's Active Moral Powers. August, 1867.
Thoughts and Reflections in Ethical Readings. December 18, 1867.
Bible Class on Matthew. Whedon. August, 1868. Notes on Stewart's Outlines. April 17, 1869.
Questions on Farrar's Critical History of Free Thought. 1869-1870.
Notebook. Lectures in Logic. n.d.
Lectures on Paley's Evidences. 1872-1873.


Select Sentences from Various Authors. January 26, 1867.
Lectures, Questions, Critiques on Ethics. January-March, 1879.


Scripture Readings. 1866-1867.
Summary of Readings on Atonement. October, 1867.
Notes on Butler's "Of a Future Life."

Preparation Book.

Baccalaureate Sermon. Emancipation of Thought. April 29, 1866.
Educational Address. Hamilton Wesleyan Female College. June 27, 1866.
Address. Union of Piety and Refinement. July 5, 1866.
Sermon. "Seek first the Kingdom of God."


Lecture Questions on Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. October, 1865.
Questions on Butler's Sermons for Vacation Work. 1866.
Notes on Paley. January, 1871.


Sermon. "Church Extension." December 24, 1863.
Sabbath School Sermon. "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord."


Dedication Sermon re: Church Enlargement. St. Catherines. August 10, 1863.
Sermon. Good Samaritan. n.d.
Sermon. Truly the light is sacred. n.d.
Sermon. Worship. n.d.
Sermon. In the Beginning. n.d.
Sunday School Sermon. Thy Kingdom Come. Cobourg. February, 1865.
Tea Meeting Speech on Education. Baltimore. April 6, 1865.
Notebook. Dedication Sermon. The Design of the House of God and its Desecration. April, 1865.
Sermon. Growth. May 7, 1865.
Sermon. In the Beginning. Mount Pleasant. June 18, 1865.
Sermon. Fellow Helpers to the Truth. Toronto. January 28, 1866.
Missionary Speech. Time as a Condition to Missionary Success. Kingston. February 5, 1866.
Sermon. Seek ye first the kingdom. August, 1866.
Sermon. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. December 16, 1866.
Sermon. Actual and Ideal. August 11, 1867.
Sermon. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." December 29, 1867.


Lectures on Hamilton's Metaphysics. n.d. ; Questions on Paley's Theology. July, 1863. ; Lectures in Logic. n.d. ; Essay on Farrar's Free Thought. November, 1869.


Reflections on Public Speaking. June, 1847.
Sermon Bones. Private Prayer. n.d.
Idolatry-Literal and Spiritual. n.d.
Forgiveness. n.d.
Forgetfulness of Religion. n.d.
Salvation by Grace. n.d.
Keeping the Sabbath Holy. n.d.
Parental Instruction of Children. n.d.
Resurrection of the Dead. Port Hope. October 17, 1847.
Moral Culture. Port Hope. October 17, 1847.
Sermon Preached by R. Jones at Port Hope Quarterly Meeting. October 31, 1847.
Piety. n.d.
Pleasures of Religion. Port Hope. November 7, 1847.
Narration of Joseph. Port Hope. November 14, 1847
Heritage of David. n.d.
Holy Ghost. n.d.
Whether ye be in the faith. n.d.
Exposition of Romans 12. n.d.
Epistle to Laodicean Church. n.d.
Seek ye the Lord. Port Hope. January, 1848.
Parable of Sower. March, 1848.
Missionary Sermon. Evils of Idolatry. 1848.
Divine Government. n.d.
Worldly Conformity. n.d.
Temperance Sermon. n.d.
On Enoch. Toronto. July 23, 1848.
Prosperity to the Church. Toronto. July 30, 1848.
Truth. Toronto. August 6, 1848.
Faithfulness. Toronto. August 22, 1848.
Openmindedness. April 23, 1849.
Knowledge of Christ. June 29, 1849.
Keeping God's Commandments. n.d.
Sabbath School Teaching. n.d.
Called to be Saints. September 15, 1849.
Notebook. Sermon Bones. Accountability to God. October 24, 1849.
God as Source of Light. November, 1849.
Depression. November, 1849.
Consider the Poor. December 17, 1849.
The Word Preached. December 17, 1849.
Christmas Sermon. 1849.
Remembrance of God in Youth. December 28, 1849.
Missionary Sermon. n.d.
Thanksgiving Discourse. n.d.
Punishment of Sin. n.d.
Fall of Man. n.d.
Christ Precious to Believers. n.d.
Easter Sermon. n.d.
The Lord Reigneth. n.d.
Missionary Sermon. The Field is the World. n.d.
Private Journal. May 25, 1850-September 10, 1863.

Material relating to Victoria College

Series consists of various items relating to Victoria College, 1836–1884, including account books, reports, memoranda and lists.

The final box in the collection is comprised of material relating to university matters. The financial records of Victoria are followed by a number of documents gathered in the course of Nelles' work as an administrator. In addition, there is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings (mostly letters to the editor) dealing with the university question between 1857 and 1859.

Writing and memorabilia

Series consists of various writings, including extracts, notes and reflections, 1848–1886; and personal memorabilia, including Victoria College programmes and material after Nelles death, 1846–1902.

Box 14 holds written material which does not fall into any of the previously mentioned categories. It includes scripture studies, religious meditations, selected extracts from a variety of sources, and miscellaneous notes. The box also contains an assortment of personal documents and memorabilia, including a scrapbook on Nelles completed after his death by J.G. Hodgins.

Speeches and addresses

Series consists of speeches and addresses on religion and education, 1842-1887, given at Victoria College as well as other educational institutions, predominantly in Ontario.

The speeches and addresses fill one box and run from 1842 until Nelles' death. Several of these were given by Nelles while he was still a student, and many of the later speeches were addressed to student audiences. The most common themes were, once again, the relationship between education and religion, although the importance of the Church's mission work is also stressed.

Essays and articles

Series consists of predominantly religious essays and articles, 1842-1896, including those written as a student.

Many of the essays in the collection were written by Nelles during his school days, allowing the researcher to acquire some insights into the nature of a nineteenth–century education as well as an understanding of Nelles' interests and abilities as a young man. Other essays authored by Nelles may be found in manuscript copies of student newspapers located in the Victoria College Archives. Many of the articles included in the collection were printed after Nelles' death, giving some indication of the lasting impact of Nelles' work.

Diaries and journals

Series consists of journals and diaries, 1846-1887, containing reflections/essays on various topics, predominantly religious and spiritual; daily activities and quotations .

The box of diaries and journals covers the period between 1846 and 1887, with most of the entries being made before 1870. The early diaries tend to be more reflective, revealing Nelles' reaction to his reading material and his inner spirtual thoughts; the later journals focus more on daily activities.


Series consists of incoming and outgoing general and specific correspondence, 1856-1887, re a wide range of academic and University administrative subjects, and family correspondence, 1887-1962, after Nelles' death. Correspondents include Egerton Ryerson, J.J. Maclaren, J.G. Hodgins and Isaac Brock Aylesworth.

Despite the fact that Nelles was apparently an avid letter writer, his correspondence comprises only one and a half boxes of the collection. As Nelles explained in a letter to J.G. Hodgins, he made a practice of discarding most of the letters which he received, making exceptions only for those of great personal significance. As a result, the bulk of the surviving correspondence was preserved by chance or through the efforts of other people. The letters span the years 1846–1887; they are organized chronologically and, when the volume warrants, by correspondents such as J.G. Hodgins, Egerton Ryerson, J.J. Maclaren, and Samuel Rose. An attempt has been made to document the thrust of each letter in the file listings. Although the letters touch on a number of subjects, the main theme of the correspondence is undoubtedly the "university question". The letters outline the development of the federation concept and the responses it evoked from the university community. One can gain insight into the day-to-day activities and tensions of Victoria College, and the precarious financial position of the college emerges clearly. Letters from old college friends such as Daniel Martindale, R.C. Pitman, and J.G. Hodgins reveal Nelles' interests as well as his capacity for warm and lasting relationships.

The correspondence also includes several letters to Mrs. Nelles following her husband's death and the correspondence of Professors Nathanael Burwash and A.R. Bain regarding the Nelles Memorial Fund. In additon, there are several files of letters dated in the 1950's and 1960's which chronicle some of the research into the Nelles' family history carried out by a descendent, F.C. Gullen. A file of notes made by Gullen contains a sketch map of Mount Pleasant, a typescript of a family history, and assorted family trees. A photograph of Nelles' birthplace was transferred to the Nelles file in the Archives' photograph collection.


Series consists of manuscripts of sermons, 1848-1887 (some undated), delivered at Victoria College and at other Ontario places.

The two and a half boxes of sermons were delivered between 1848 and 1887, although a majority of them were composed during the 1840's and 1850's. Unfortunately about half the sermons are undated. They vary in form from extremely rough notes to polished drafts and are identified in the finding aid by their given title, their text, or their main theme. Naturally enough, many of the sermons focus on education, frequently dealing with the question of the relationship between intellect and religion.

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