Josephine May Sewell

Scope and Content

Photographs of mission work at Bankura, India; commercial images of Agra & Fatehpur Sikri, India; two publications on Jesus for children in Bengali; miscellaneous correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Josephine May Sewell was born on 22 July 1900 and educated at schools in Goole, Yorkshire. She qualified for a teaching certificate in 1920 and obtained an MA in History and Latin from Leeds in 1921. She taught history and Latin at Euclid Street secondary school in Swindon, Wiltshire, from 1921 to 1926. She applied to the women's section of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society and was accepted as a candidate in 1926. After a year of missionary training at Kingsmead College, Birmingham, she was appointed to the WMMS Bengal District in India for 'educational and evangelistic work in the villages'.

Between 1927 and 1940 (excluding 2 furloughs) Sewell worked in Bankura in the Board, Day, Bazaar and Zenana schools. Ill health in her family forced her to return to England in 1941 where she remained for the next six years. In 1948 she returned to Bankura but taught in the Christian College and in 1949 was also acting superintendent of schools. In 1958 she returned to England on furlough and the following year was appointed to the new co-educational high school in Bathurst, Gambia, where she remained for two years. Sewell left the missionary society soon after. She died on 8th August 1986.


This collection has been arranged into three sections: correspondence; visual material; publications. Items have been catalogued chronologically within each section.

Access Information


Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Various copyrights

Related Material

Any extant correspondence by Jospehine Sewell will be in the Women's Work Bengal District correspondence (MMS/Women’s Work/Correspondence/India/FBN 9 & Box 1311)