Alexander Gillon Macalpine. Malawi missionary papers and linguistic studies

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers consist of biographical notes on African and missionary colleagues dating from 1893; diaries from 1897 onwards; wayside and journey notes and jottings; extracts from newspapers; notes on folklore; letters; film strip showing pictures of missionary work; notebooks; and, correspondence with church ministers in Scotland. There are printed items, including the catechism and hymns in the Chitonga language; psalms in Tonga; dictionaries; the grammar of the Bemba language; notes on Tumbuka syntax; notes for a Tonga grammar, and notes of Chitonga grammar; Tonga-English vocabulary; and, items on the building of Nyasaland and on the Church in the region.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Gillon Macalpine was born 11 June 1869 in Linlithgow. He was educated in Linlithgow and at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, then went to Edinburgh University and Glasgow Free Church College. He was ordained in 1893. With the exception of 1914-21 when he was Minister of Monquhitter and New Byth, Aberdeenshire, he was a missionary in Nyasaland (Malawi), mainly at Bandawe, Chintechi, and later on Livingstonia. In his earliest years in the country Macalpine did some administrative and postal work. He became the first Clerk of the Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian. He prepared a dictionary of the Chitonga language, and translated and revised the New Testament in Chitonga. Two manuscript copies of the dictionary are said to be in the libraries of Glasgow and Witwatersrand Universities. Macalpine died in Glasgow, 8 September 1957. The material constituting the Macalpine Malawi missionary papers and linguistic studies, was presented by the Rev. Alexander Gillon Macalpine, jr., in 1964 and 1993, and by Dr. H. B. Auld in 1993.

Conditions Governing Access

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Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H48