Papers of the Reverend Dr Harry Parkin

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The research and teaching papers of the Reverend Dr Harry Parkin were deposited by his wife after his death in 1990. They comprise basically his research material and finished work on the Toba Batak religion and his research and teaching work into comparative religions. During the course of his work he collected valuable Batak bark books and these are now catalogued as part of the artificial collection of DSE or are in the Centre for South-East Asian Studies.

Dr Parkin's papers in more detail are as follows: doctoral thesis on Batak religion (1975); an unpublished monograph on Batak proverbs (circa 1980s); articles and papers on Batak books and literature (1970s and 1980s); papers and studies on Indian religions (1970s and 1980s); teaching materials on world religions (1970s and 1980s); a paper on personal theology (1984); two papers and related material on Asian theology (1983); notes for courses of religious studies (1979-1985); pamphlets and offprints of articles by other people (1827-1923); papers on a variety of topics in Asian studies by other authors (1967-1985).

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry Parkin was born in 1926 and trained for the Methodist ministry at Hartley Victoria College in Manchester before becoming a missionary. He was ordained in the Church of South India in 1952 before returning to England with his wife in 1956 and preaching on the Essex Methodist church circuit until 1968. In that year he was appointed to the Batak university (Nommensen University) in Pematang Siantar in Northern Sumatra. He lectured there in comparative religion and continued his work at the same time with the Methodist Missionary Society. He took the opportunity to study Batak religion in more depth and in 1975 submitted, to Serampore College, his doctoral thesis. `The extent and areas of Indian/Hindu influence on the ideas and development of the Toba Batak religion, and its implications for the Christianisation of the Toba Batak people of North Sumatra'. The edited version appeared in 1978 as Batak fruit of Hindu thought, an important source of description of Batak religion including divination, astrology and the cosmic tree of the Batak. During this period he also worked on the unpublished monograph on Batak proverbs which is to be found at DPN/2.

In 1979 Dr Parkin was appointed as Director of Religious Studies at Trinity Theological College in Singapore where he taught courses on the world's religions and on comparative religion. In 1985 he returned to England and spent the last five years of his life as Methodist preacher on the Beverley circuit in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He continued to collect work on Asian religions and was heavily involved in ecumenical activities. He died in 1990.

Conditions Governing Access



Originally published by Access to Archives - A2A. The data in this finding aid is in the copyright of the place of deposit.

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Related Material

DSE (Batak bark books)


Marrison, Geoffrey, A catalogue of the collections of the Rev. Dr Harry Parkin on Asian religions and Batak studies in the Brynmor Jones Library (1993)

Geographical Names