El Couffa magazine

Scope and Content

Typescript issues of 'El Couffa', with original photographs adhered inside.

Administrative / Biographical History

'El Couffa' ['The Basket'] was the internal organ of the Algiers Mission Band from 1912-1917, edited by Blanche Haworth. The concept was of a basket into which items could be put and from which items could be taken. It was circulated to the mission stations: Dar Naama, Miliana, Blida, Dar El Fedjr, Relizane and El Haima. It was illustrated with drawings, small paintings, postcards, with some pieces written in Arabic script.

The contents reveal the high standard expected of members, with exhortations carefully formulated by Lilias Trotter, e.g. in 'The Letter M', but also in the many quotations and reflections on Scripture. Numerous poems are included, some written by Band members, others by e.g. George MacDonald. Accounts of Rally Days and summaries of talks given are also included, but there is also practicality: recipes, samples of the children's work, ideas for ministry, illustration, etc.

There is commentary on world events, with extracts from 'The Times', accounts of significant speeches, discoveries and obituaries of prominent figures. The Band also seems well abreast also of what is happening in the wider Christian world: the big missionary conferences, the writing of Roland Allen, Keswick [a dominant spiritual influence?], Kikuyu. The last few issues focus on the Great War and its progress.

In terms of the work, station reports and AMB News catalogue actual activity. The Praise Record gives encouragement. There is a strong emphasis on 'the south land' [i.e. the south of Algeria]. There are quite a few extracts from Lilias' journals of tours made.

Another striking feature is the close link with Samuel Zwemer, Temple Gairdner and the work of the Nile Mission Press in Egypt, which results in a tract-writing and publishing collaboration. The Literary Supplements give accounts of this, as well as providing study material from the Cairo Study Centre and language training and translation furnished by Percy Smith of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Access Information


Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Pages in some volumes are fragile and have been water damaged in the past.

Archivist's Note

Material inthis series conserved by Graeme Gardiner, 2018.


Custodial History

The complete set has been compiled from a variety of sources [i.e. from different stations and from individual sets]. There is no one complete set from one source.