International Missionary Council and Conference of British Missionary Societies Archive

Scope and Content

Joint archive, largely dating from 1910-1945, of the International Missionary Council and Conference of British Missionary Societies, relating to co-operative missionary endeavours in Africa (chiefly British Africa, but also including areas under Belgian, Portuguese and French control) and India, in the form of correspondence, memoranda, pamphlets and reports, including material relating to various other missionary societies, comprising original files on Africa, and microfiche copy of files on India.

Administrative / Biographical History

The archive dates from the period after the World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910. The Conference of British Missionary Societies was founded in 1912 with over 40 member missionary societies of various denominations. The International Missionary Council (IMC) was founded in 1921 and its members comprised interdenominational associations of missionary societies in various countries and interdenominational field bodies. The two bodies shared premises at Edinburgh House, near Sloane Square, London, until the IMC became part of the World Council of Churches in 1961.


The archives comprise two sub-collections (sub-divisions): records of work in Africa and records of work in India.

Access Information

For files relating to Africa, originals may be issued and ordered via the IMC/CBMS number indicated on the handlist. To order and access files on India, please quote the microfiche reference (ie FBN number).


Acquisition Information

The original files on Africa were deposited with the archive of the Conference of British Missionary Societies in 1977.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist for Africa (2 volumes) and India (1 volume).

Alternative Form Available

Published on microfiche by IDC Publishers.

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds records of the Conference of British Missionary Societies (Ref: CBMS); records of the Christian Literature Bureau for Africa and its succession by the International Committee on Christian Literature for Africa (part of the International Missionary Council) (Ref: ICCLA);

SOAS also holds a microfiche copy of the archive, 1910-1961, of the International Missionary Council, including records relating to early history and committees; staff and officers' correspondence; Committee on the Church and the Jewish People; papers on mission field subjects, industrial and social questions, war and missions, orphaned missions, intermission aid, missions and governments, alien missionaries, religious liberty, religious education, and Christian literature; finance papers; papers relating to the International Review of Missions; records of the Research Department, Department of Missionary Studies, and Study Centres; country files on Europe, Asia, East Asian Christian Conference, Burma, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Near and Middle East, Africa, North America, Latin America, Australia and the Pacific; records of the IMC assemblies at Jerusalem, 1928, Tambaram, 1938, Whitby, 1947, Willingen, 1952, and Ghana, 1957-1958; records of the Joint Committee relating to the integration of the IMC into the World Council of Churches; Commission on World Mission and Evangelism conferences at New Delhi, 1961, Mexico City, 1964, Bangkok, 1972-1973, and Melbourne, 1980; questionnaires and responses in preparation for the World Missionary Conference (Edinburgh, 1910). Also the archive of the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches, 1906-1948.

Location of Originals

The original files on India are deposited at the offices of the World Council of Churches in Geneva.