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Section I: East Asia Missions

Parts 4 to 9: Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, 1880-1957

Organisation of the Microfilm Collection

The CMS archive is held partly at CMS Headquarters in London but mainly at the University of Birmingham Library. To date, only the material relating up to 1949 is held in Birmingham. The material for later years, which is held in London, will follow in stages as the material becomes available for research.

Birmingham holds the papers of the General Secretary’s Department, which includes the main committee minutes of the Society concerned with its policy and overseas missions, together with the papers of the Candidates, Finance and Medical Departments and the Home Division. It also holds the Accessions series (collections of papers relating to the Society and its missionaries, which have largely been donated to CMS and do not form part of its official headquarters archives).

Birmingham also holds the archives of the Female Education Society (FES) and the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) which were amalgamated with CMS. The CMS Gleaner is held in London. Copies of the Gleaner’s Pictorial Album, the Missionary Atlas, the Annual Letters, The History of the Church Missionary Society and the Register of CMS Missionaries can be found both in Birmingham and London. However there is only one annotated copy of the Register and this is held in London.

The microfilm publication of the CMS Archive is a major and extensive project. We have therefore divided the archive into manageable sections which largely reflect its original organisation.

Section I - East Asia Missions
This consists of the Loochoo Naval Mission 1843-1861, the Papers for Japan 1869-1949, for China 1834-1951 and the Archive of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) for 1880-1957.

Section II - Missions to Women consists of the Archive of the Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the East (or Female Education Society) (FES), 1834-1899. Also included are the following periodicals - India's Women and China's Daughters 1880-1939, retitled Looking East at India's Women and China's Daughters 1940-1957; Homes of the East 1910-1948; Daybreak 1889, 1893-94 and 1906-09 (these three periodicals were published by the CEZMS); and The Indian Female Evangelist 1872-1949 (published by the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society).

Section III - Central Records consists of the Annotated Register of CMS Missionaries 1804-1918, The History of the CMS, Catalogues to the Overseas Archive and Loochoo, CEZMS and FES Archives. It also includes the CMS Gleaner 1841-1921, retitled CMS Outlook 1922-1972; the CMS Gleaner Pictorial Album; and CMS Missionary Atlas. Also included are the Annual Letters 1887-1912 and the CMS medical periodicals Mercy and Truth 1897-1921, retitled The Mission Hospital 1922-1939, retitled The Way of Healing 1940; The Medical Mission Quarterly 1892-1896; and Preaching and Healing 1900-1906.

The latter half of Section III covers the Committee Minutes and Indexes 1799-1949 and Circular Books and Letters 1799-1921, General Secretary's Papers, Candidates' Papers, Medical Department Papers and the Card Indexes. It concludes with the papers of the Home Division whose responsibilities included deputation work, the field staff, the Society’s publications and publicity and work amongst children and youth.

Section IV - Africa Missions contains the papers of the West Africa (Sierra Leone) Mission 1803-1949, the Nigeria - Yoruba Mission papers 1844-1934, Nigeria - Niger 1857-1934, Nigeria - Northern Nigeria 1900-1934 and Nigeria Missions 1935-1949. The other papers included are the Sudan Mission 1905-1949, Egypt 1889-1949, South and East Africa 1836-1949 and East Africa 1875-1949, Mauritius and Madagascar 1856-1929, Persia (Iran) 1875-1949 and Turkish Arabia (Iraq) 1898-1949 and the Mediterranean and Palestine 1811-1949.

Section V - Missions to the Americas covers the papers of the West Indies Mission 1819-1861 and continues with the North - West Canada Mission 1821-1930 and British Columbia 1856-1925.

Section VI - South Asia Missions comprises the papers of the following Missions: North India 1811-1949, South India 1811-1949, Western India 1820-1949, India General 1811-1815 and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1815-1949.

Section VII - Australasia Missions contains the papers of the New Zealand Mission 1809-1914. These papers include those of the short-lived Australia Mission covering the period 1830-1842.

In addition to the General Guide to the Archive there are also individual guides to the different sections of the project. The guides comprise an introduction written by Rosemary Keen (ex-archivist of the CMS) covering the history of the CMS and describing the organisation of the archive, a publisher’s note and a content of reels listing.

The extracts on the following pages will give an idea of the wide ranging type of material to be found in the CMS Archive.The following are taken from the Original Papers for the Japan Mission which include letters, journals and papers of individual missionaries. The first tells of the arrival in Nagasaki of the Reverend Walter Andrews in 1879:

"We had a hearty welcome when we reached Nagasaki.....The block of Mission buildings at Deshima looks very well as one enters the harbour....the little Mission School however looks very insignificant by the side of the neat little school which is just completed".
C/J/O4 Nagasaki, 1879

The second describes a visit to Japan by the Reverend John Shaw, Bishop of Hong Kong in 1878:

"I took a short trip to one of Japan's many beauty spots called Nikko...distant from Tokio about 90 miles....Turning from the land and its natural beauties to the people of Japan, we find among them much to interest....The people as a whole seem quite kindly disposed towards foreigners and the Government would throw the whole country open to us tomorrow if we could place ourselves under Japanese law. This is a sore point with the Japanese in the matter of their foreign relations but it must ultimately work for good. By our refusal to submit to their laws the Japanese are learning the difference between Christian and Heathen laws....Then the great desire to learn English and acquire Western Knowledge and the establishment of schools for this purpose all over the country all helps to favour a kindly intercourse between the people and foreigners".
C/J/O7 1878

The third is an extract from an Annual Letter home from the Niigata Mission Station dated 31 December 1879:

"There have been few applicants for baptism...One special hindrance....has been the visitation of cholera. There were large numbers of deaths in this town....But as is so often the case, numbers of the public looked upon Christianity as the cause of the plague and the most absurd calumnies were credited....I made an attempt after the cholera had disappeared to resume the latter work but the people at the stations we formerly used to visit have declined to receive us any more at present. On the whole I cannot see any signs at present of an open door being set before us in this neighbourhood".
C/J/O12 31 December, 1879

The CEZMS periodical India's Women and China's Daughters provides a rich source of material for the researcher on the role of women missionaries. The extract below from the missionary Miss Haitz gives a feel for the educational work being carried out in Bhagulpur in India in 1894:

"Our average number of schoolchildren...has been 302 and instruction has been given in 89 Zenanas. About 82 villages have been visited...Zenana work has been carried on among Hindus and Mohammedans....and some of our native teachers.... Mrs Chalke has also done a good deal of Zenana visiting. Both we and our Native helpers need every now and then to be reminded that the Enemy is near, lest we get sleepy and careless".
India's Women and China's Daughters 1895

The Annual Reports of The Society for Promoting Female Education in the East (FES) describe the year’s missionary work, the extract below, from the Report for 1881, detailing work carried out in Hong Kong. The Report states that the missionary, Miss Johnstone, had been given permission to return home on furlough as a change was deemed necessary for her health, having worked in the trying climate of China for eight years. Two extracts from her letters are given:

"January 23rd,1881 One of my School children died a few days ago. She was a long time ill. I found her mother knew something of Christianity and several hymns that little A-King taught her.....The teacher went to see her the day before her death; she said,' I cannot bear to leave mother and you, and me but I am happy to go to Jesus'. I was too late to see her, poor thing. She wanted to see me again. I was busy the day after I came from Canton, but called the following morning. The father said. 'A-King has gone to Jesus'. I thought it so strange of him to say this, as he is a heathen. This little incident has cheered me about D'Aguilar Street School. We do not know how many of these little ones take home the glad tidings to their parents. I should like to have a dozen of such schools as I have, and I have only four".

Forty-Seventh Report of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East for the Year ending January 1st 1882

23 January, 1881

July 20th, 1881 You will be glad to hear that three women, who have been attending the School Scripture lessons, are to be baptised on Sunday. Mr Grundy has kept them on probation for three months. They seem very much interested and in earnest. I do all I can to encourage the women to come into the Schools."
20 July, 1881

The CMS Gleaner is a fascinating periodical which is heavily used by scholars. It contains a gold mine of information on every aspect of missionary work both at home and in the Missions. One regular feature of each issue was the Epitome of Missionary News with snippets of news from the Missions. The following extracts in the issue for 2 January 1905 give a flavour of the sort of information given:

"The Revs J A Maser and E Roper paid a visit in January to Abbeokuta.... They found the Native Church in a most encouraging condition.... The destroyed churches had been rebuilt, and the number of attendants on public worship and of communicants was very gratifying....The Ceylon missionaries... urge the importance of sending out more men for the work among the Singhalese population of that island, among whom the CMS has only three European missionaries.....The native youths in the Mission school at Umritsur (Punjab) have started a debating club (in English). One paper lately read was against Christianity, but it was 'unsparingly criticised ' by all the members except the reader....".
Church Missionary Society Gleaner 2 January 1905



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