Records of the Church of Scotland's Board of World Mission records

Scope and Content

This major and much used archive has global coverage. It gathers most of the surviving records of the constituent foreign mission organisations of all the Presbyterian churches that have been united since 1929 within the present Church of Scotland. Scottish Foreign Missions: The bulk of the material consists of the letter-books of the conveners, secretaries, and clerks of the various Foreign Mission Committees, containing their letters both to missionaries and to supporters and others in Britain. Incoming correspondence, mainly from missionaries, is the next largest group. Finally there are a few minute-books (but the main series of minute-books of the various Foreign Mission Committees are MS.Dep.298), account-books, diaries, volumes of newspaper cuttings, and other miscellanea.

Administrative / Biographical History

Church of Scotland. Board of World Mission and Unity.


While the letter-books are generally in continuous series, with only a few gaps, the incoming letters are preserved only for brief periods. The collection has been arranged by denomination (because of the office arrangements of the Untied Free Church, the Free and United Presbyterian Churches had to be regarded as continuing separately); within this, Women's Foreign Mission papers have been separated from those of the Foreign Mission Committees. The incoming correspondence is arranged chronologically under the mission field of origin. As the collection relates entirely to the Colonial period in Africa, the Colonial names have been used throughout.

Conditions Governing Access


Lists of contents have been inserted in most volumes; in the case of the letter-books these are revised replacements for the lists made by the clerks as they copied the letters (the original lists are preserved as MS.8990A); in the case of incoming letters they have been compiled in the library. The volume number alone, without folio references, is therefore given in the majority of index entries. Approximately two-thirds of the total index is here printed: the remainder, consisting of entries for persons who could not be adequately identified and now occur in less than four volumes, is preserved as MS.8990B. All volumes of letters are folio and under, and all letter-books are quarto, unless otherwise stated.

Custodial History

Since 1953 the Library has been the repository for the records of the Church of Scotland's Board of World Mission. Scottish Foreign Missions: This collection contains the surviving foreign mission records to 1929 (with a few documents of the early 1930s) of the churches which in that year reunited to form the Church of Scotland, viz. the (Established ) Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland, the latter itself the product of the union in 1900 between the Free Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church.