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Section I: East Asia Missions

Part 7: Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, 1880-1957

These papers and the CEZMS periodicals (see Section II) enable scholars to study the role of women, the literature of the empire and the process of cross-cultural assimilation.

The CEZMS was founded in 1880 when it separated from the Indian Female Normal School Society which had been founded in 1852. It worked closely with the CMS until 1957 when they amalgamated.

A Zenana is a harem and the CEZMS specialised in sending missionaries to educate and evangelise the women of such closed communities. Its main aim was to convert the women of India by means of normal schools (teacher training colleges), Zenana visiting, medical missions, Hindu and Muslim female schools and the employment of Bible women.

The overseas work of the Society started in India but spread to China in 1884, Japan in 1886 and Ceylon in 1889. Work in China ended in 1950 when the missionaries had to leave, but from 1952 they worked among the Chinese in Malaya. Work in Japan was given up in 1892 and handed over to CMS. When the Female Education Society closed down in 1900, CEZMS took over their work in Singapore.

There is very strong source material for India, China, Japan, Ceylon, Malaya and Singapore. Many researchers are now turning to look at aspects of "world history" and the material to be found in the CEZMS Archive will open up many new research opportunities.

The main periodical of the CEZMS was India’s Women and China’s Daughters, 1880-1939 which was renamed Looking East at India’s Women and China’s Daughters, 1940-1957. This has been filmed as Section II Part 2 of this microfilm series and it is the main source for research into the early work of the CEZMS.

Also filmed in Section II in Part 3 are the issues of Daybreak 1889, 1893-1894. This magazine of CEZMS was published for the younger readers. Included in the same part are the issues for 1910-1948 of the CEZMS periodical Homes of the East. Interesting articles on and letters from missionaries are included.

The CEZMS archive contains the years 1872-1880 of the periodical The Indian Female Evangelist which was published by the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society, in 1880 to become the Zenana, Medical and Bible Mission and later Interserve, The issues for 1872-1880 have been filmed in Section II Part 3. The years 1881-1956 are held at Interserve in London and have been filmed as Part 4 of Section II. The Minutes of the Zenana, Medical and Bible Mission for 1865-1937 and the Annual Reports of the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society for 1863-1879 are filmed as Part 5 of Section II.

The complete catalogue to the CEZMS archive can be found in the Web information for Section I Part 4 after the Contents of Reels and it has also been filmed on the first reel of Section I Part 4.

The material to be found in Section I Part 7 continues the Clerical Secretary’s papers with material on Conferences and Administration. It then begins the Foreign and Candidates Secretary’s papers with outgoing and incoming correspondence with missions in Australia and New Zealand, Ceylon, China and the Bengal mission in India. The India mission material is continued in Part 8.

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