Papers of Archdeacon T. J. Dennis

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the personal diaries of Thomas Dennis which were written in the form of detailed letters to his parents and friends and which were despatched at fortnightly intervals. The gaps in the chronological sequence relate to his periods of furlough in England and it therefore appears to be a continuous personal record of his service as a missionary. The collection includes a typescript of an Ibo translation of part of the Old Testament and some family photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas John Dennis (1869-1917) of St Leonards, a gardener, was accepted as a missionary by the CMS in 1893. He went to West Africa and was assigned to the Niger Mission. However, he remained for some time in Sierra Leone as acting Vice-Principal of Fourah Bay College. He was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Sierra Leone in 1894 and then proceeded to the Niger where he served at Onitsha. He was appointed as archdeacon of the Upper Niger in 1905. In 1908, he went to open a new station at Ebu where he served until 1917. He died on his way home from West Africa when the SS Karina was torpedoed. He had two sisters and a brother who were also CMS missionaries, Frances, Ellen and Edward.

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

Arrangement

Arranged into a single series: Family Papers

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The original provenance of this collection is unknown; it was transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Special Collections website: http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/ A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Special Collections Department.

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 Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.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 which includes papers to relating Dennis's service as a missionary. It also holds unofficial papers of his sister, Frances Dennis (GB 150 CMS/ACC4).

The 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.