Papers of Betty D. Gibson (fl. 1928-1960)

Scope and Content

The collection consists of letters (1928-1938) from Gibson to her family written while on missionary business in Europe, Palestine, Africa, and India; notes made by Gibson on African missions visited, on their activities, histories and records, and on meetings about missions (1933-1944) and on continental missions (ca. 1937-1948 including financial status); circulars and printed reports by the International Missionary Council and the Conference of Missionary Societies, and on Nyasaland and Leopoldville (1959-1960); pamphlets on Africa, Christianity, race and colour questions (1907-1958); sketches and photographs of Africa (c 1933); and a German missionary bibliography and German periodicals (1931-1969).

Administrative / Biographical History

Betty D. Gibson was one of the secretarial staff of the International Missionary Council (IMC) in which she played a significant role acting as secretary and administrator for both the IMC and for Joseph Oldham. A graduate in French and German, in 1916 she joined the staff of Oldham's Continuation Committee which had been set up after the 1910 World Missionary Conference. She made several trips overseas for missionary conferences or to investigate the state and extent of missionary activity in various countries. She frequently wrote letters home, or kept diaries and notes of her visits and findings, some of which survive in this collection.


The material is arranged in four boxes, the first (GIBS-01) contains letters from Gibson to her family and printed circulars; the second (GIBS-02) notes by Gibson; the third (GIBS-03) printed pamphlets and sketches; and the fourth (GIBS-04) German periodicals.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

The collection was presented to New College Library by Betty Gibson in 1979.


The biographical history was compiled using: (1) information from the collection. (2) Clements, Keith. Faith on the Frontier. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999.

Compiled by Caroline Brown, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division. Revised by Graeme D Eddie.

Other Finding Aids

The Index to Manuscripts held at New College Library mentions the collection. A handlist is filed in the New College Inventory of Manuscripts under MSS GIBS.

Conditions Governing Use

Contact the repository for details.

Custodial History

Not all of the surviving Gibson papers are in this collection. Gibson gave some of her papers to Katherine Bliss who was researching a life of Joseph Oldham.

Related Material

New College Library also holds the papers of Joseph Oldham, the founder and secretary of the International Missionary Council. The collection includes material such as letters and journals created by Betty Gibson and added by her to the Oldham archive when his biography was being written. The National Library of Scotland has an extensive missionary collection including some Gibson correspondence.