Papers of Alexander Mackay

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the personal papers of Alexander Mackay relating to his service as a CMS missionary in Uganda. It largely consists of correspondence including letters to his family, 1876-1890, other letters to and from Mackay and his journal for the period May-July 1886.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Murdoch Mackay (1849-1890) of Rhyme, Scotland was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and Edinburgh University and worked as a mechanical engineer in Berlin. He was accepted as a Church Missionary Society missionary in 1876 and was sent to the Eastern Equatorial Africa Mission. He was detained on and near the coast by illness and in making a road to Mpwapwa but ultimately reached Uganda late in 1878. He died at Usambiro in 1890, never having left Eastern Equatorial Africa. Heconverted the vernacular of Uganda to writing, translated St Matthew's Gospel into Luganda and was engaged in preparing a catechism.

Reference: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 ( Church Missionary Society, 1905 ).


This collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into a single series: Family Papers.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

These papers of Alexander Mackay were presented to the CMS by executors of Rev. J. Harrison, October 1949; transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Special Collections Department holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society (GB 150 CMS), which includes papers relating to Alexander Mackay's service as a CMS missionary. There are also other accessions in the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers which include material relating to Mackay (GB 150 CMS/ACC73, CMS/ACC74).

The University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department and the Orchard Learning Resources Centre hold a rich collection of archives relating to missions, charities and other religious and ecclesiastical organisations and individuals.