The fonds contains over 1,000 handwritten, 19th century letters from family members and friends, a selection of an equally large number of his original sermons, a large selection of his biblical commentaries and lecture notes, a few photographs, and a fewer number of materials on the early development of Manitoba College.
Each of the 1,435 handwritten letters was written in the nineteenth century, dating from an 1822 letter from Rev. King's father to an older son, to a letter dated 1900 written shortly after King's death in 1899. Of these, 431 of the letters are in King's own hand, mostly written to his wife and family between 1874 and 1886. The rest are from family members and a large number of friends and professional acquaintances including a score of fellow Presbyterian ministers from Scotland, the United States and eastern Canada, including a number of the leading theologians of the day (such as Henry Calderwood, William Craven, William Kerr, James Parlane, and others), and leaders in the Winnipeg community of the early 1880s and 1890s who worked with King in developing Manitoba College (George Bryce and Daniel W. Gordon). His family correspondence includes letters not only from wife and children but also from his son-in-law, Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor).
In conjunction with King's sermons and lectures, the papers provide a good primary resource to understand the theological currents of the times, for example, Biblical criticism, the rising social gospel, and liberal theology. The letters contain descriptions of early Winnipeg and Western Canada as King took up his calling in Manitoba in 1883. The letters also include descriptions of his travels throughout Canada and the United States and discuss matters such as the U.S. Civil War, Canadian elections, and small town life.
The fonds also includes over one thousand handwritten sermons preached between 1865 and 1889. Professor Gordon Harland, a retired professor of Religion here at the University of Manitoba, transcribed several of King's most often-delivered sermons.
A small photograph collection (PC 82), mainly of family and students, is also included.
King, John M.