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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE
Section VI: Missions to India

Part 5: North India Mission, 1817-1880
Part 6: North India Mission, 1817-1880

Organisation of the Microfilm Collection

The CMS archive is held partly at CMS Headquarters in London but mainly at the University of Birmingham Library. Until recently, only the material relating up to 1949 was held in Birmingham. However in 1999 the material covering 1950-1959 was opened up for research and is now held in Birmingham. The material for later years, which is held in London, will follow in stages as the material becomes available for research.

In addition to the Overseas Archive, 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, and 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 1872-1881 published by the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society. retitled The Zenana; or Woman’s Work in India, 1893-1935 retitled The Zenana; Women’s Work in India and Pakistan, 1936-1956 published by the Zenana Medical and Bible Mission.

It also contains the Annual Reports of the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society for 1863-1879 and the Minutes of the Zenana Medical and Bible Mission 1865-1937.

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. Also included are the following periodicals from the Church Mission Library, London: The Missionary Papers, 1816-1884; CMS Monthly Paper, 1828-1829; A Quarterly Token for Juvenile Subscribers, 1856-1878 & 1888-1917; The Home Gazette, 1905-1906; The CMS Gazette, 1907-1934; General Review of Missions, 1919, continued as Annual Reports, 1922-1944; CMS Historical Record, 1944-1986; The CMS Juvenile Instructor, 1842-1890, Children’s World 1891-1900; The Round World, 1901-1958; The Church Missionary Society Record, 1830-1875; CMS Awake! - A Missionary Magazine for General Readers, 1891-1921, continued as Eastward Ho!, 1922-1940.

Section III also covers the Committee Minutes and Indexes 1799-1949 and Circular Books and Letters 1799-1921, Lives of Missionaries from the CMS Library and various other CMS periodicals.

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 Africa,1836-1843, Kenya,1841-1949, Nyanza, 1876-1886, Tanganyika, 1900-1949, Rwanda, 1933-1949, Uganda 1898-1949 and Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles, 1856-1929.

Section V - Missions to the Americas covers the papers of the West Indies Mission 1819-1861 and 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—General Secretary’s Papers

Section VIII - Home Papers contains papers covering deputation work, the field staff, candidates’ papers, the Society’s publications and publicity and  work amongst children and youth.

Section IX - Middle East Missions consisting of the following missions: Persia (Iran) 1875-1949 and Turkish Arabia (Iraq) 1898-1949 and the Mediterranean and Palestine 1811-1949.

Section X - 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 a 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 following extract is taken from the South China Mission Original Papers for 1886 and demonstrates the kind of detail found. It is taken from the Journal of Bishop Burdon in which he describes his travels through the countryside.

“The sail in the afternoon was most pleasant excepting when we had to pass a long stretch of fields just recently manured in which women were working with large hoes, wading with their bare feet and legs in the earth and filth and water and breaking up hard clods of earth, preparing the fields for the transplanting of the young rice plants....The poor women seem to do the hardest work in the fields....”

The extract below is from the Chekiang Mission Original Papers for 1896 and is from a letter from the missionary Arthur Elwin to the members of the Shanghai Municipal Council.

“Gentlemen: I write to ask if something cannot be done to mitigate the noise in the Foochow Road in which we live....It is at night that the noise reaches a climax....The carriages rumble by incessantly, their drivers bawling at the foot passengers to get out of the way....Meantime the street swarms with footpassengers, strolling or walking along...conversing in that loud tone of voice affected by the Chinese. These noises are diversified ...with the shouts and laughter of men, the screams of women, the crying of children and the barking of dogs. Our ears are assailed by the shrill voices of young girls chanting their peculiar songs, accompanied by the pipe, lute, sackbut, dulcimer or whatever may be the name of their ancient musical instruments. These sounds are interrupted from time to time by the loud shouts of men, playing the guessing gambling game, and the clashing of the cymbals at the theatre over the way....”

The next extract is from the Chekiang Mission Original Papers for 1913 and is from a printed description of a medical missionary’s work at the Hangchow Medical Mission.

“At 11am I went my daily round , first up to the small hospital for leper women...one or two are rather rebellious at present and giving Mrs Main a good deal of anxiety and care. I then went on to the Women’s Hospital where I went round some fifty patients.... In the wards there are all kinds of cases. Diseases of the spine, hip joint, heart, ovarian tumour, typhoid, rheumatic arthritis, tubercular disease, syphilis, bronchitis, fractured bones, stone in the bladder etc.... In one ward the Bible women were earnestly preaching the Gospel”.

The following extracts will give an idea of the wide ranging type of material to be found in the rest of 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 Rt Reverend John Shaw Burdon, 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 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.

The following extract in the issue for 1 December 1908 gives a flavour of the sort of material to be found. It is taken from a letter by Miss F E Oatway stationed in Keng-tau in Fuh-Kien:

“Keng-tau is a large village, densely populated, situated on the sea-coast, two days’ journey by river and chair from Fuh-chow. The scenery immediately around is extremely bare; no trees of any kind will grow…. But only twelve miles away from Keng-tau it is very different, most lovely hills and foliage of all kinds abound…. As to the people they are independent, proud and clannish. Everyone belonging to Keng-tau is called by the same surname, “Uong”. When one of this name gets into any kind of trouble, the others of his village try to do their best to help the offender out of his difficulty…. These people are most industrious, plodding and patient, rising very early in the morning and working until dark…. They are a very warm-hearted folk and once having won their respect and love, it is not difficult to keep their friendship….”

Church Missionary Gleaner 1 December 1908

 

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