Council for World Mission Library - manuscripts

Scope and Content

Unpublished material in a variety of formats, including typescript and manuscript copies of journals, memoirs and autobiographies written by missionaries, and biographical accounts prepared by their descendants; histories of particular churches/chapels and missions; manuscript vocabularies, dictionaries and grammars prepared by missionaries in the field; scrapbooks, cuttings and collections of articles; book catalogues; photograph albums, and art work including bound collections of watercolours, paintings and scrolls. The collection represents material accumulated by missionaries and staff of the London Missionary Society during the course of their work from the early 19th century to the mid-1970s, with some material donated at a later date.

As with the published material, the manuscripts in the Council for World Mission Library are an important resource on the history of the London Missionary Society. More broadly, the material illustrates many aspects of Christian mission and the experience of western missionaries in their fields (Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific). Subjects covered include theology, history, anthropology and cultural studies, politics and linguistics.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited as part of the Council for World Mission Library in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

Entries on the SOAS Archive Catalogue represent the only finding aids available.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

There are a number of fragile items in the sequence, including sets or volumes of watercolours.

Custodial History

The manuscripts found in this collection were originally part of the Council for World Mission Library (reference: CWML), which in itself comprises the 'general library' of the London Missionary Society and the extensive collection of works donated by the medical missionary William Lockhart (1811-1896), in addition to material added incrementally at later dates by the then London Missionary Society Librarian & Archivist, Irene Fletcher. During the process of cataloguing the Library a quantity of unpublished items came to light, and the decision was taken to separate these from the printed collection and reference and catalogue them as a discrete collection in their own right.