South China Incoming Correspondence

Scope and Content

Incoming correspondence from LMS missionaries in the South China mission field. The letters have been written predominantly by missionaries, but there are also letters from the wives of missionaries; LMS officials, including directors and secretaries; local converts and evangelists, most significantly the Chinese minister whom Robert Morrison called Leangafa [spelling variations include Leang A Fa, Leang A-Fa, Leung A-Fa] (letters from 1826 to 1852); representatives of other missionary societies operating in the field, and representatives of private concerns, including local and colonial officials.

Detailed cataloguing has been completed at file level for the period [1803?]-1874 for South China, and 1845-1871 for Fukien [Fujian]. Catalogue entries provide the names of correspondents, dates, places and a summary of the subject matter. Letters for the later period have yet to be catalogued.


Incoming correspondence for the South China mission field is divided into two sequences. The first sequence is identified simply as South China and includes Canton [Guangzhou], and Hong Kong. The second sequence relates to the province of Fukien [Fujian], and includes correspondence from Amoy [Xiamen], and Changchow [Zhangzhou].

Until 1927, the LMS kept all correspondence received from the mission field in strict chronological order. From approximately the last quarter of the 19th century, each letter has a cover sheet, which gives it a unique number, date sent, date received by the Home Office, the appropriate governing region (Eastern, Southern etc) and a precis of contents. The arrangement of incoming correspondence changed in 1928, when the administrative decision was made to file incoming and outgoing correspondence together in alphabetical files from individuals.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Detailed lists of Incoming Correspondence for South China, 1807-1874 (list G2), and Fukien, 1845-1871 (list G3), are available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room, SOAS Library.

Archivist's Note