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Section II: Missions to Women

Part 1: Society for Promoting Female Education (FES) in China, India and the East, 1834-1899

"The Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the East was interdenominational, it was staffed by women and it employed only women agents. Its object was the establishment and superintendence of schools in China, India and the countries adjacent. "
Rosemary Keen
Consultant Editor and
Ex-Archivist of the Church Missionary Society

Section II: Part 1 is devoted to the original manuscript records of the Society for Promoting Female Education (FES) in China, India and the East, 1834-1899. These provide a detailed record of the interaction between Western and Eastern women in India, China and other Asian countries. The papers throw much light on life in closed female communities in Asia and on the status of women in such a gender dominated society. The papers also document the lives of the many women missionaries involved.

The Annual Reports of The Society for Promoting Female Education in the East (FES) give much detail on the work of the missionaries during the year and the extract below from the Report for the year 1881 gives detail on the work carried out in Hong Kong. The Report states that the missionary in question, a Miss Johnstone, had been given permission to return home on furlough as a change was deemed necessary for her health as she had worked in the trying climate of China for eight years. Two extracts from her letters are given:

"January 23rd,1881 One of my School children died a few days ago. She was a long time ill. I found her mother knew something of Christianity and several hymns that little A-King taught her.....The teacher went to see her the day before her death; she said,' I cannot bear to leave mother and you, and me but I am happy to go to Jesus'. I was too late to see her, poor thing. She wanted to see me again. I was busy the day after I came from Canton, but called the following morning. The father said. 'A-King has gone to Jesus'. I thought it so strange of him to say this, as he is a heathen. This little incident has cheered me about D'Aguilar Street School. We do not know how many of these little ones take home the glad tidings to their parents. I should like to have a dozen of such schools as I have, and I have only four".
Forty-Seventh Report of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East for the Year ending January 1st 1882
23 January, 1881

July 20th, 1881 You will be glad to hear that three women, who have been attending the School Scripture lessons, are to be baptised on Sunday. Mr Grundy has kept them on probation for three months. They seem very much interested and in earnest. I do all I can to encourage the women to come into the Schools."
20 July, 1881

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