Scope and Content

An extensive photographic collection of over 7,000 photographs, comprising the official photographic records of the China Inland Mission (later the Overseas Missionary Fellowship). Includes photographic depictions of notable CIM missionaries, mission workers, Christians of European and Chinese descent, in addition to photographs of government and political officials. Photographs of leading Chinese missionaries and envangelists such as Wang Mingdao [Ming Tao, Ming-Dao], John Sung, Marcus Cheng, Pastor Hsi, and Watchman Nee are also to be found within this collection. While a diverse range of subjects are documented throughout the collection, there are of note, a series of photographs collected from missionaries in the field concerning medical work and scenes of daily life across diverse ethnic groups in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Tibet.

The photographs in this collection number are from three different sources. The first is Frederick Howard Taylor, James Hudson Taylor's son, who collected particularly photographs associated with his father's early life in England, some of which he himself took in the early 1900's. The second source is the official records of the China Inland Mission/Overseas Missionary Fellowship. These include albums and loose photographs, often produced for special occasions, and a series of photographs collected from missionaries working in the field and arranged under subject headings. These include medical work and scenes of everyday life in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Tibet. The medical work is mostly concentrated in photographs 248-295. The third source is the records kept by A.J. Broomhall, the mission's historian, to facilitate and illustrate his research into the work of Taylor. These photographs are very varied, dating back to the 1860's, and include original photographs of the 'Lammermuir' party and also some of the missionaries who preceded it to China. There are many duplicates in this section, which is divided into two, general photographs and those selected for use in A.J. Broomhall's work, Hudson Tay for and China's Open Century.

The collection contains varying sized black and white prints (mostly silver gelatin). It also includes a smaller quantity of other visual formats such as postcards, illuminated addresses, glass plate negatives, albums and other oversized items.


Photographs are arranged according to the core CIM function or activity from which they were generated. The main organising categories for the photographs consist of: 'Photographs used as research material by Frederick Howard Taylor (FHT)'; 'Photographs used as official records by CIM/OMF'; 'Photographs used by A.J. Broomhall'; and 'Photographs chosen for volumes of Hudson Taylor and China's Open Century'. In some instances, the photographs within these main administrative groupings are further subdivided into subjects or regions. Note that many photographs remain undated.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

A hardcopy version of this catalogue, with index is also available for consultation within the Special Collections Reading Room, SOAS Library.

Alternative Form Available

A small sampling of digital versions of CIM photographs are accessible via The International Mission Photography Archive (IMPA)

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Mostly good condition. Some prints show signs of silver mirroring.

Archivist's Note

Descriptions compiled by SOAS Library, August 1993; added to SOAS Archive Catalogue January 2015.


Conditions Governing Use

Private study only. For publication or broadcast please refer to Archivist.

Copyright mainly held by the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). The collection also contains some individual and private copyright holders.

Related Material

See additional photographs and other visual materials (e.g. postcards, sketches) that have been retained in their original context as part of the official written archives of the China Inland Mission at SOAS. There are further photographs in CIM/PP LIBERTY, CIM/PP WITHERS and CIM/PP FHT NOTES.