Correspondence of Samuel Pollard

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers, 1888-1970, of and relating to Samuel Pollard, used by R Elliott Kendall for his work on Pollard, and comprising 12 letters from Pollard, 1888-1915, during his time in China, 11 of them to H W Horwill; four letters concerning Pollard, 1915-1916, 1970; three articles by Pollard on China, c1911-c1913; notes by H W Horwill on Pollard, undated; 50 press cuttings, 1908-1915, including some by Pollard in religious publications; 21 press cuttings, 1915-1921, mainly obituaries and reviews of Pollard's publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Camelford, Cornwall, 1864; his father, Samuel Pollard, and his mother were preachers with the Bible Christian Church (from 1907 part of the United Methodist Church); converted, c1875; initially prepared for a career in the civil service, but a London conference influenced him to become a missionary, 1885; appointed Bible Christian missionary, 1886; sailed for China, 1887; attended Ganking Language School, 1887; posted to Yunnan province, 1888; went to Chaotung (Zhaotong), where a new station was opened, 1891; married Emmie (née Hainge), 1891; assigned to the provincial capital (now Kunming); engaged in evangelistic work; worked with the Flowery Miao (A-Hmao, a minority tribe), among whom started in Anshun, Kweichow (Guizhou) province, a religious movement which spread to Chaotung, from c1905; Pollard became its most prominent missionary leader; established a centre for thousands of new believers at Shihmenkan; travelled extensively, planting churches, training leaders, and soliciting justice for Miao Christians from officials and landlords; developed a new script which he used to translate the New Testament into the Miao language; died from typhoid fever while in service as a missionary, 1915.

Further reading:

Grist, W.A., Samuel Pollard: Pioneer Missionary in China (1971);

Hayes, E.H., Sam Pollard of Yunnan (1947);

Kendall, E., Eyes of the Earth: the Diary of Samuel Pollard (1954);

Kendall, E., Beyond the Clouds: the Story of Samuel Pollard of South-west China (1948);

Pollard, S., In Unknown China : a Record of the Observations, Adventures and Experiences of a Pioneer Missionary during a Prolonged Sojourn amongst the Wild and Unknown Nosu Tribe of Western China (1921);

Pollard, S., Tight corners in China (c1910);

Pollard, W., The Life of Sam Pollard of China; an Account of the Intrepid Life of Adventure, Danger, Toil & Travel of a Missionary in the Far & Little Known Interior of the Vast Chinese Empire (1928).


The material has been arranged in chronological order.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1998.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society (MMS), including the minutes of the Bible Christian Missionary Society for 1861-1873, 1882-1891 and 1903-1909 (MMS/Home/Minutes/ Bible Christian/FBN 8), the papers of Samuel Pollard (MMS/Special Series/ Biographical/China/FBN 29-30) and the papers of Clement Noble Mylne who worked amongst the Nosu (MMS/Special Series/Biographical/ China/Box 643A). Additionally, we also hold the papers of the Parsons family (MS 380686), missionaries who worked among the Miao tribe using the script devised by Pollard, as well as the research papers of Frederick Howard Taylor on the tribes of south-west China, including notes on the life of Samuel Pollard (CIM/PP Box 11 File 124).