Correspondence of Mary Mitchell Slessor

Scope and Content

Typescript transcriptions, 1986, of letters of Mary Slessor in West Africa, written between 1877-1913 to various recipients, the subjects including her missionary work, life in Africa, religious reflections and Presbyterian church matters, fellow missionaries and other Europeans, and Indigenous inhabitants.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Aberdeen, 1848; moved with her family to Dundee; began work in the linen mills aged 11, c1859; came under the influence of a local minister and became leader of a Christian youth club; felt a call to serve in Calabar, Nigeria; the United Presbyterian Church Mission Committee eventually agreed to send her to Calabar as a mission teacher, 1876; went to work alone among the Okoyong, 1888; lived in traditional housing with outcast women and twins she had rescued, dressing simply; pioneered an alternative way of engaging in mission; as British colonial authority proceeded inland she worked among the people affected, 1903; as a result, new stations were created; continued to live as head of a household of African women and children until her death at Use, 1915.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Acquired in 1986 from Dundee Archive and Record Centre.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds a press cutting on Mary Slessor, 1936 (Ref: CBMS/H/PB39 Box 104 File 39 no 10), and photographs of the Mary Slessor Memorial Window, Dundee (Ref: CBMS/H/PB55 Box 120 File 55, CWM/LMS Home Photographs Box 1).

Further papers of Mary Slessor are at Dundee Museums and Art Galleries, Dundee Central Library, Dundee City Archives, and the National Archives of Nigeria. For further details see the National Register of Archives. Edinburgh University, New College Library, holds records of the Calabar Mission, including material relating to the work of Mary Slessor.