South Seas Photographs

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

This class contains photographic and other visual material connected with the work of the of London Missionary Society in the South Seas [Pacific]. Images depict general subjects relating to more than one island group, including photographs taken on the 1897 Deputation to New Guinea and the South Seas, images relating to specific areas including Samoa, Fiji, Gilbert Islands [later Kiribati], Loyalty Islands, Cook Islands, Niue [formerly the Savage Island and part of the Cook Islands until 1922, when it became a dependent state of New Zealand], Ellice Islands [now Tuvalu], Nauru, and images of missionary ships and sailing vessels used for missionary work in the South Seas.

Subject matter includes individuals, groups, buildings and local scenes, missionaries, local Christians, schools, etc. Particularly well represented are images of educational establishments including Samoa's Papauta Girls' School, established by Elizabeth Moore in 1892, and the Malua Theological College, established in 1844. There are significant collections of images by commercial photographers, including Alfred John Tattersall, resident in Samoa from 1886 to 1951 and George Crummer, working in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Photographs of the mission work of James Edward Newell (Samoa 1880 - 1910), and Rev William were taken by Harry Strong Griffin, LMS printer at Malua from 1900 and a missionary from 1905 to 1921, when he became Government Secretary for Native Affairs, a post he held until 1927. There are also photographs from the London Missionary Society Print Library relating to the Pacific region.

Note re place names:

Where possible, each place name has been identified by the contemporary standard form (generally taken from Norman Goodall 's, 'A History of the London Missionary Society, 1895-1945', or from the 'Report of the Deputation to New Guinea and South Seas, April to August 1897', by Ralph Wardlaw Thompson and William Crosfield), and also by a current modern standard form (generally taken from the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Place Names), where this is different. The modern standard for the Ellice Islands is Tuvalu, the Gilbert Islands are now Kiribati, Lifu in the Loyalty Islands is now Lifou. Rarotonga has been used in place of Raratonga and Mangaia for Magnaia.


Photographs have been transferred to the archive in three separate deposits and catalogued in three phases. The arrangement of photographic material reflects this, with sections repeated for the different deposits.

Conditions Governing Access


Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

There are few major conservation concerns. Many cardboard mounts are crumbling, and albums require careful, supervised handling.

Archivist's Note