Shaw, Mabel

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the miscellaneous papers of Mabel Shaw including her correspondence (1930-1973) and circular letters; personal papers; prayer texts and poems; reports, including Decenial Report on the Women's and Girl's Work in Mbereshi, (1930-1940), and miscellaneous photographs from Mbereshi.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mabel Shaw was born in December 1889, at Bilston. She trained at the Women's Missionary College, Edinburgh. In 1915, she was appointed to Mbereshi, central Africa with the London Missionary Society and sailed on 6 March 1915. She was the first single woman missionary to be sent by the London Missionary Society to Central Africa. Her work was chiefly educational, but also evangelistic. She founded the Girl's Boarding School, which later became known as the Livingstone Memorial School in Mbereshi, and which marked a significant new chapter in the education of African girls in Northern Rhodesia. In 1931 she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her missionary work in central Africa. She retired from the London Missionary Society in 1941. In 1942 she was appointed to temporary service with the Church Missionary Society, and sailed once more for Africa on 9 April. She retired from the Church Missionary Society in 1952. She died on 25 April 1973 in Guildford.

Books written by Mabel Shaw included Children of the Chief, (LMS Gift Book for 1921); Dawn in Africa, (Edinburgh House Press, 1927); God's Candlelights: An Educational Venture in Northern Rhodesia, (Edinburgh House Press, 1932); A Treasure of Darkness: An Idyll of African Child Life, (Longmans, 1936).


The collection has been arranged into the following sections: correspondence; personal papers; circular letters; addresses; prayer texts, poems and reports etc. Within each section, material is arranged chronologically where possible.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1981

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Separated Material

Associated Material held elsewhere: Circular letters (1927-1946) concerning missionary work in Rhodesia held at Wolverhampton Archives & Local Studies, 42-50 Snow Hill, Wolverhampton, [see summary of collections, 6th edn.1993]; Church Missionary Society Archive, University of Birmingham Library, PO Box 363, Birmingham, B15 2TT.

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance

Related Material

Related Collections at SOAS: Council for World Mission [ref. CWM] Sabin, Margaret Katherine [ref. MS 380320]