Records of the Korean Mission

Scope and Content

Records of the Korean Mission deposited by the Mission's home office, which reflect the role of the Organising Secretary as the central point of contact for Mission staff. Includes minutes of the Central and Executive Committees, 1900-1979; ledgers and cash books, 1949-1967; indexes of financial contributors to the work of the Mission; indexes of orphans and "adopters", involved in the Mission's sponsorship scheme; correspondence files; Korean bibles, scripture, liturgy, prayer and hymn books; printed material including annual reports, 1889-1910, and issues of the Mission's quarterly magazine Morning Calm , 1891-1987; press cuttings; over 2,000 photographs, slides, films and sound recordings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

In response to appeals from the neighbouring churches in China and Japan, the Archbishop of Canterbury established the Anglican diocese of Korea and consecrated Charles John Corfe as its first Bishop in 1889. Before leaving England in 1890, Bishop Corfe founded the Korean Mission. He also began the publication Morning Calm , originally as a quarterly intercession paper. The work of the Mission was funded by an annual grant of 600 from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and for many years the diocese depended on this block-grant for the salaries of its European workers. To help train priests for the Mission Corfe founded the Korean Missionary Brotherhood, led by Father Alfred Kelly. The Brotherhood provided some of the first priests for Korea, but Father Kelly found that his Brotherhood [later known as the Society of the Sacred Mission] was shaping into a Religious Community and Bishop Corfe waived any further claim to services of its members in Korea. In 1892, the Sisters of the Community of St. Peter, Kilburn [later at Woking], accepted an invitation to work amongst women in Korea. In 1925 they helped to establish an indigenous Community, the Society of the Holy Cross. The Mission's medical work was supported by the Navy through the Hospital Naval Fund, until 1941.

Bishop Corfe arrived at In'chon [Chemulpo], Korea, in 1890. By 1891, a hospital and the first Anglican Church had been built at In'chon, and a year later a church at Seoul. The first Korean baptisms took place in 1897, including Mark Kim of Kanghwa, later to be ordained as the first Korean Anglican priest (in 1915). In 1910, Korea became subject to Japanese rule, and Bishop Mark Napier Trollope returned to Korea after his consecration to find himself Bishop of the Japanese Christians in his Diocese as well as of the Koreans. At this time Japanese-speaking priests and lay-workers were added to the staff. In 1922, Trollope began the composition of a Korean liturgy. In 1925, a cathedral for Seoul, the Church of St Mary & St Nicholas, was consecrated. At the time of Trollope's death in 1930, there were 20 native priests in Korea. During the Second World War, hostility towards the British meant that by early 1941 most of the foreign staff of the Mission had been withdrawn from Korea. However, the Anglican Church in Korea survived and Mission staff gradually returned at the end of the War in 1945. However, the Diocese had been divided at the 38th parallel, with the USSR in control of the North and the USA military government in control of the South. Communications with North Korea were severed after the 1950-1953 Korean War, although some Korean priests were permitted to continue their ministry.

Diocesan Bishops of Korea between 1889 and 1965 have included Charles John Corfe (1889-1904), Arthur Beresford Turner (1905-1910), Mark Napier Trollope (1911-1930), Alfred Cecil Cooper (1931-1954), and John Charles Sydney Daly (1955-1965). The Diocese was divided in 1965, when Paul Ch'on-Hwan Li [Paul Lee] was consecrated Bishop of Seoul and John Charles Sydney Daly was translated to the newly created Diocese of Taejon. The Diocese of Busan was created in 1974, out of the south-eastern part of Taejon. On the 16th April 1993, after 103 years as an extra-provincial church under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Korea became an autonomous province within the Anglican Communion. The Korean Mission was renamed The Korean Mission Partnership. The Korean Mission was run by an Executive Committee, which met in London. The Secretary of the Mission also continues to be based in London.

Reference: Deposit information


The papers have been grouped into minutes; account books; indexes of contributors and sponsors; correspondence files; religious texts (Korean); publications; press cuttings and audio-visual material, including photographs, slides and sound recordings. Lists of missionaries, lay workers and church dedications can be found towards the end of the sequence, with ephemera.

Access Information

Access Conditions

: Access to parts of the collection is restricted. This includes correspondence, which is embargoed for 30 years. In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 records relating to the Korean Mission's adoption scheme, which include personal data relating to individual orphans and sponsors, are closed for the lifetime of the individual where known, or 75 years. All papers held at the Orchard Learning Resources Centre will be viewed at the Birmingham University Information Services, Special Collections Department. Please contact the University Archivist for further information.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was deposited by the Korean Mission in October 1987 and in 1993.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

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.

Custodial History

Following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges and the University of Birmingham in 1999 the custodial ownership of collections belonging to the Selly Oak Colleges and held at the Orchard Learning and Resource Centre (OLRC) was transferred to the University. These collections now form part of the University's Special Collections Department and are available for consultation at the Main Library on the University's Edgbaston Campus.

Related Material

The University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department holds a rich collection of archives relating to missions, charities and other religious and ecclesiastical organisations and individuals. These include papers of Alfred Cecil Cooper, Bishop of Korea 1931-1954 (GB 150 DA59) and papers of Constance Trollope and Mark Napier Trollope, Bishop of Korea 1911-1930 (GB 150 DA60).

Corporate Names