South Seas Subject Files

Administrative / Biographical History

The exact provenance of the series of 'subject files' found for each LMS/CCWM region is unknown, i.e. whether the organisation of files into subject groupings is contemporary, or whether the files were put together at a later date to create 'artificial' series for greater ease of reference. Brief references found in descriptions of the historical organisation of the archive suggest that a new series of 'subject files' was introduced in 1936, which ran concurrently with missionary personal files, with some initial overlap in content. Looking through the files, much of the correspondence is with the Foreign Secretaries for each of the regions, suggesting that the creation and organisation of the files was originally theirs.

In terms of content, papers in the subject files cover a broad spectrum. Files across all regions include correspondence and papers relating to Secretarial Visits or Deputations; minutes, correspondence and papers of district committees, missionaries' committees, mission councils and bodies representing different stages in the development of independent indigenous churches, and the transition of authority from the LMS/CCWM; papers relating to particular people, places or issues, such as theological education, teacher training, youth movements such as the Boys' Brigade, printing presses, land ownership and other legal matters, local situations arising from the Second World War (1941-1950 accrual) and its aftermath, initiatives and programmes such as the New Advance, local anniversaries and jubliee celebrations, relations with other missionary societies and organisations, natural disasters and relief work, and some publications.

Arrangement

Subject files are found from the 1940s onwards, and were transferred to SOAS in 10-yearly batches along with reports and correpondence by region. Thus the accruals to the archive for 1941-50, 1951-60 and 1961-70, all include subject files. Prior to 1940, similar types of material can be found in the home and regional 'Odds' series. Material from 1971 has yet to be listed, but it is likely that the regional grouping of 'subject' files will be retained to 1977, and the creation of the Council for World Mission.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Archivist's Note

Catalogued