William Charles Willoughby Papers

Scope and Content

Papers, 1883-1939, of and relating to William Charles Willoughby, comprising sketches of Urambo, 1883; building accounts, 1894, 1897; correspondence, 1897-1904, 1917, 1923-1924, relating to his missionary work and writing, comprising letters received and copies of letters sent; pass for travel, 1900; invitation, 1900; various undated typescript and manuscript notes by Willoughby, some for sermons and addresses, others including information about Africa and Tiger Kloof; The Congregationalist, Jan 1914, publishing a speech by Willoughby; undated article by Willoughby in an LMS newsletter; miscellaneous photographs of people and scenes in Africa; sketch map, undated; press cuttings, 1924-1932, of articles by Willoughby and reviews of his books on race relations in Africa and African beliefs and customs; correspondence and papers relating to Willoughby and Tiger Kloof, 1938-1939 and undated, including press cuttings.

Images include:

Black & white photographs, including 'Mirambo, King of Urambo, the "Robber Chief" of "the mountains of the moon", and negative of the same image (original taken by Willoughby 1882/3); Willoughby with a group of Wanyamwersi [Wanyamwerzi] at the door of the Mission House, Urambo; group of Wanyamwersi women in fala costume ready for dance; Kapya, son of Mwinyamsiriwa [?] Prime Minister of Urambo; missionary groups.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born at Redruth, Cornwall, England, 1857; studied at Spring Hill Theological College, Birmingham; appointed by the London Missionary Society (LMS) to central Africa and ordained as a Congregational minister, 1882; returned home with malaria, 1883; resumed study at Spring Hill; minister in Perth, Scotland, 1885-1887; married Charlotte Elizabeth Pountney (d 1940), 1885; engaged in deputation work for the LMS, 1887-1889; minister in Brighton, 1889-1892; appointed LMS missionary to the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana), 1892; went to Palapye to work among the Bamangwato of the Christian chief Khama (Kgama) III, 1893; accompanied Khama and other chiefs, Bathoen and Sebele, to England to help them oppose Cecil Rhodes’s demands for administrative rights over the Protectorate, 1895; a member of the South African Native Races Committee, London, 1900-1908; removed with the Bamangwato tribe to Serowe, 1903; appointed first principal of the proposed LMS Central School for Bechuanaland, 1903; established the school, named the Tiger Kloof Native Institution, on a farm near Vryburg in the Cape Colony; local correspondent of the Royal Anthropological Society from 1905; gave evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of the Cape of Good Hope, 1908; resigned as principal of Tiger Kloof owing to ill-health, 1915; responsible for Molepolole mission, 1914-1917; visited Australia and New Zealand on an LMS deputation, 1917; returned to England via America, 1918; Professor of African Missions, Kennedy School of Missions of Hartford Seminary, Conneticut, USA, 1919-1931; elected Vice-President of the Fourth International Congregational Council, 1920; awarded honorary doctorate of sacred theology, Hartford Seminary, on his retirement, 1931; settled in England; Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; died in Birmingham, 1938.

See also:

William Charles Willoughby, Native Life on the Transvaal Border (London: Marshall & Co., 1900).

William Charles Willoughby, Tiger Kloof (1912).

William Charles Willoughby, Race problems in the New Africa: a study of the relation of Bantu and Britons in those parts of Bantu Africa which are under British control (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923).

William Charles Willoughby, The Soul of the Bantu: a Sympathetic Study of the Magico-Religious Practices and Beliefs of the Bantu Tribes of Africa (1928).

William Charles Willoughby, Nature Worship and Taboo (1932).

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the London Missionary Society by the Congregational Council for World Mission (later Council for World Mission) in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Archivist's Note

Compiled using:

Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. by Gerald H. Anderson (Cambridge: William B. Erdmans, 1998).

A Register of Missionaries, Deputations etc from 1796-1923, ed. by James Sibree (London: London Missionary Society, 1923).

National Register of Archives: http://www.hmc.gov.uk/nra/nra2.htm

Birmingham University Information Services online archive catalogue: http://calm.bham.ac.uk/DServeA


Custodial History

The papers were deposited with the London Missionary Society and form part of the special series of personal papers of individual LMS missionaries and officers.

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the London Missionary Society (Ref: CWM/LMS), including letters from individual missionaries, among them Willoughby (Ref: CWM/LMS Central Africa Incoming Correspondence); his candidate’s papers (Ref: CWM/LMS Candidates’ Papers Box 17 No 42); reports by Willoughby in Bechuanaland, 1895, 1902, 1908-1917 (Ref: CWM/LMS South Africa Reports Box 2 File 30, Box 3 File 37, Box 4 Files 43-4, 45, 47-51); photographs of William and Charlotte Willoughby and contemporary scenes, some taken by William Willoughby and appearing in his Native Life on the Transvaal Border (Ref: CWM/LMS Africa Photographs passim); photographs of William and Charlotte Willoughby and their family (Ref: CWM/LMS Missionary Portraits Box 6); and other papers relating to Tiger Kloof (Ref: CWM/LMS Africa Miscellaneous Boxes 19-28).

Birmingham University Information Services, Orchard Learning Resources Centre, holds 29 boxes of Willoughby's papers, 1874-1936, comprising files of general papers, bibliographic papers, papers relating to his evidence for the Commission on the Uniformity of Discipline in Native Churches in South Africa, and miscellaneous material (Ref: DA 49).

A collection of photographs by Willoughby of Bechuanaland Protectorate during the 1890s are held in the Botswana National Archives.

Other papers are held at Mansfield College Oxford; the Hartford Seminary Library, Connecticut, USA; and archives in Botswana