North China Incoming Correspondence

Scope and Content

Incoming correspondence from LMS missionaries in the North China mission field.

Detailed cataloguing has been completed at file level for the period 1860-1900. 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.

Correspondence comes initially from Peking [Beijing] and Tientsin [Tianjin] which were major centres of LMS work, strongly staffed with both ministerial and medical staff as well as teachers through most of the years covered. Another station which gained steadily in strength was Hsaio Chang [later Siaochang, probably Xiaochang now]. Jonathan Lees (Tientsin) 1862-1900, Alexander King (Tientsin) 1880-1900, William Hopkin Rees (mainly in Hsaio Chang) 1884-1900, Joseph Edkins (Peking) 1861-1881, Samuel Meech (1871-1900) are among the most prolific correspondents for the period to 1900. By the end of this period over a hundred letters a year were being received from North China – well in excess of that number in the Boxer uprising of 1899-1900 when most missionaries evacuated for some months. Other correspondents during this period include Dr William Lockhart (Peking) to 1864, Dr John Dudgeon (Peking) 1864-1884, Dr John Mackenzie (Tientsin) 1880-1887, and Dr Lillie Saville (Tietsin) from 1895.

Arrangement

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.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Other Finding Aids

Detailed list for North China Incoming Correspondence, 1860-1898 (list G4), available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room, SOAS Library.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued