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from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Part 5: CIM Missionaries: Personal Papers

The Archives of the China Inland Mission (CIM) are one of the most interesting and revealing missiological sources that we have for the study of China in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In Parts 1 and 2 we made available the papers of James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), founder of the CIM. Part 3 covered the organisational records of the CIM and Part 4 covered both the records of the Chefoo Schools Association, 1880-1999, and memoirs and publications of the CIM.

This fifth part offers the Personal Papers of CIM missionaries – describing the lives of a wide range of missionaries active in China from 1877 through to 1951.

These individual collections of papers are extremely rich and varied and include materials such as diaries, letters, memoirs, scrapbooks, photos and ephemera.

For example, CIM/PP 2 (the papers of Olive Botham) contains a fascinating mixture of letters and pamphlets describing the historic spread of Islam and the lives of Muslims in China, 1939-1952.

There is much on women missionaries including the memoirs of Frances Clarke (CIM/PP 3), Charlotte Tippett (CIM/PP 27) and Rosie Allen (CIM/PP 480), who was active in Sichuan province, 1905-1907. In addition, there are the remarkable papers of Henrietta Withers (CIM/PP 93-118), a teacher at the Chefoo Girl’s School, which include her diaries, 1915-1943, letters, photographs, watercolours and passport. Also of interest are the notebooks of Geraldine Howard Taylor, 1919-1923, describing her last visit to China.

Male missionaries are equally well represented. The important mission of Charles Judd and James Broumton in 1877 is documented in their diary (CIM/PP 483) – they were the first Christian missionaries to visit Guizhou. There are also the memoirs of Archibald Ewing, 1887-1940 (CIM/PP 4), the papers of Percy Cunningham Mather, 1911-1933 (CIM/PP 6-13 – including an article on his life), and the papers of W H Warren (CIM/PP 28-33), who was stationed at Shaohsing, 1903-1911, and later became Principal of the Bible Training Institute, which prepared Chinese students for Christian service, then Superintendent of the Chekiang field and finally CIM Assistant China Director, 1931-1940.

Of particular interest are materials relating to Pastor John Sung (CIM/PP 24-26), the renowned Chinese Christian evangelist, who gave up a promising career in science to work as a missionary in Taiwan, mainland China and South East Asia. The papers include correspondence, notes on his life, photos and part of a journal.

A very detailed account of the peoples of South West China is provided in the research papers of Frederick Howard Taylor (CIM/PP 120-137). We also include his typescript recollections of the life of CIM’s founder, James Hudson Taylor (CIM/PP 143-157).

Finally, there is much rich illustrative material describing both the life of James Hudson Taylor and the history of the China Inland Mission (CIM/PP 158-167, 222-287, 294-326, 340-454). These include copies of interesting and hard to find background articles from newspapers and the missionary press.

Please note that we have had to omit some files. The reasons for these omissions are as follows:

  • CIM/PP 1, 15-17, 21-23, 34-35 Recent material many relating to condolences and personal finances.
  • CIM/PP 5 Number no longer used.
  • CIM/PP 38-45, 47-75, 78-81, 83-86, 88-90, 92 Recent material including extensive sermon notes and Bible notes, as well as audio tapes.
  • CIM/PP 119 Glass plates.
  • CIM/PP 185, 335-339 Copies of modern books.
  • CIM/PP 194-221 Rough working notes.
  • CIM/PP 288-291 Recent correspondence.
  • CIM/PP 476 Missing.
  • CIM/PP 481 Printed scriptures set to music.
  • CIM/PP 486-492 Recent additions to the collection.

All of these items can be viewed at SOAS.

This is an excellent source for all those interested in missiology, the progress of evangelical Christianity, interactions between East and West, and the social and cultural history of China.

Thanks are due to Susannah Rayner, Head of Archives & Special Collections at SOAS, and Lance Martin, Archivist, for their help in the preparation of this microfilm edition.

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