Papers and photographs of Miss Mary Ellen Brighty

Scope and Content

This collection comprises a letter book containing copies of her letters to England, 1899-1902, together with notebooks, diaries, bible and photographs of and collected by Mary Brighty relating to her service as a CMS missionary in Persia. One of her diaries and a notebook contain notes about Persian customs and traditions; other diaries contain records of journeys she undertook; and the diary which covers the period of the First World War makes reference to the withdrawal of missionaries from Yezd to Tehran, 1915-1916. One diary also includes entries which predates her involvement with the CMS and some of the photographs also appear to relate to this period. The Persian bible in the collection formerly belonged to Mary Bird, another CMS missionary in Persia, who died in 1914.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Ellen Brighty (b. c. 1874) of St Helen's, Lancashire was accepted as a Church Missionary Society missionary in 1899 at the age of 25. She departed for the Persia Mission in 1899 after training at The Olives and was stationed at Yezd. She appears to have served with the Persia Mission from 1899 until 1937.

Reference: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 ( Church Missionary Society, 1905 ).


This collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into two series: Family Papers and Miscellaneous Papers.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the CMS in 1963; transferred to the Special Collections Department in the 1980s.

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further information.

Alternative Form Available

Mary Ellen Brighty's letter book, notebook and diaries (CMS/ACC113 F1-3) have been microfilmed and micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications in 1996 as part of a publication entitled Women's Language and Experience, 1500-1940. Women's Diaries and Related Sources

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

The Special Collections Department holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society , (GB 150 CMS), which includes papers relating to Ellen Brighty's service as a CMS missionary.

The University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department and the Orchard Learning Resources Centre hold a rich collection of archives relating to missions, charities and other religious and ecclesiastical organisations and individuals.