CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE
Section I: East Asia Missions
Part 20: East Asia General, 1935-1949, and Annual Letters for Japan, China and Canada 1917-1949
The majority of this Part is devoted to bound volumes of Annual Letters sent by missionaries and others to CMS headquarters in London. The first reel does, however, contains general information for the East Asia missions, covering the period 1935-1949. There is a wide range of material to be found on:
- Correspondence re wills of missionaries and "the abominable behaviour" of Colonel Skinner, Secretary of CEZMS in Madras who refused to send to England the luggage of Miss Isabel Frodsham, a CEZMS missionary in Madras
- Reports on the former CMS Children's Home in England
- Circulars re grants
- Missionary housing
- CMS funds
- Evacuation of missionaries from China in 1949
- Emergency plans for the China missions in 1948
- Donations to Chinese schools
- Demos re conferences
- CMS work in the missions
- the functions of the Executive Committee
- the filing system of the Foreign Department
- Property insurance
- Applications to the Henry Venn Fund and Walter Jones Native Pastorate Fund.
There are also papers concerning outside organisations such as the Church Army, Dublin University Fukien Missions and the Presbyterian Episcopal Church in the USA.
The Annual Letters, 1917-1949, are from both male and female missionaries, bishops, nurses, doctors and native ministers relating their work and experiences in China, Japan and Canada. The majority of the letters are from China, due to the fact that the Society posted the most workers there. However, there are also many letters from Japan. Though small in number, letters from Canada are also included in 'East Asia Missions', primarily because the Canada mission was administered by the East Asia Committee in London.
As well as relating a missionary's evangelical, medical or educational work the letters contain much on the customs and everyday life of the people they worked among and also on the political events which they lived through - for example the war between Japan and China, World War I, World War II and Communist China.
The letters are arranged alphabetically in each volume whilst the typed lists also give the dates the letters were written, in chronological order. To be added shortly to this description of the project will be these lists of names with dates and the country the missionary worked in.
The following extract is from an annual letter for 1918 by Rev W P Buncombe, Japan, Tokyo:
"Coming back to Japan after an absence of three and a half years I am struck with a great change in the general atmosphere and in the attitude of the people, Christians and Workers. The position of the foreign missionary is distinctly more difficult than it was four years ago.I am surprised at finding myself up against a kind of opposition and questioning I had not before experienced.The outbreak of almost hostility on the part of many of the younger workers at the Summer School at Gotemba came as the climax of the surprise: with the demand that henceforth the Mission should be ruled and conducted by a Conference or Committee largely consisting of members elected by themselves."
Earlier Annual Letters from CMS missionaries, covering the period 1886-1912, can be found in CMS, Section III, Part 4.