Papers of William Millman, Edith Millman, and Walter Stapleton

Scope and Content

Papers, 1890-1957, of William Millman and his wife's first husband, Walter Stapleton, comprising correspondence, education and language (Lokele) material concerning missionary work in Yakusu, Belgian Congo (Zaire), Central Africa. Also includes photographs of missionaries and tribal groups, and a copy of a volume of the experiences of Edith Millman (1913-1938), taken from her letters and diaries.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Millman was born on 1 March 1872. His upbringing was strict and puritanical, his parents being devout Congregationalists. He trained as a pupil-teacher in Wolverhampton in 1885, and then moved with his family to Leicester in 1888, where he became a teacher in 1893. In 1897 he was accepted by the Baptist Missionary Society and in the same year left England for the Congo. Shortly after his arrival in Yakusu, Walter Stapleton, the missionary responsible for the station, left on furlough, leaving Millman in charge. During his own first furlough in 1901, he married. Tragically, shortly after their return to Yakusu, his wife died. In 1906, Walter Stapleton died. Millman took it upon himself to visit his widow, Edith, to return various personal effects left behind in the mission field. In 1908 Millman and Edith were married and returned together to Yakusu. In 1909 their daughter, Litwasi, was born. In 1912 Litwasi was taken to live in England while William and Edith continued their missionary work in Africa. During their time there, they undertook the building of a hospital and a church premises, and William used his language skills to translate much of the New Testament into Lokele. Upon their retirement from the mission field, they returned to live in Worthing, England. Edith died of natural causes in 1952, and William Millman died on 14 March 1956.


The collection is arranged into the following sections: correspondence of Walter Stapleton; correspondence of William Millman; reports on missionary work and projects in Yakusu; Bible study notes and sermons; language work and texts in the Lokele language; miscellaneous; photographs; J J Butterworth; Edith Millman. Material is arranged chronologically within each section.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1988.

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Unpublished handlist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

Baptist Missionary Society Archive, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford.