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Section III: Central Records

Part 2: CMS Gleaner, 1841-1921 (also CMS Gleaner Pictorial Album, 1888 and CMS Missionary Atlas, 1879)

Parts 2 and 3 offer a full run of the CMS Gleaner, 1841-1921 (also CMS Gleaner Pictorial Album, 1888 and CMS Missionary Atlas, 1879) and the CMS Outlook, 1922-1972 (a continuation from the CMS Gleaner). These are fascinating periodicals with articles on CMS work all over the world. They are richly illustrated and provide a good overall view of the range of activities carried out by the CMS at home and abroad.


In 1838 a small paper called the Missionary Gleaner was started by Charles Hodgson, who was a CMS Association Secretary in Yorkshire. In 1841 CMS adopted it as a twopenny magazine, twelve pages octavo, with a woodcut on the first page. At that time there were only three other CMS publications, the Annual Report which provided a succinct account of the Society's proceedings at home and abroad, the Church Missionary Record, which aimed to be an "authentic and permanent record" of the Society's proceedings particularly of the work in its missions, and lastly the Quarterly Paper which aimed at the "poorer classes and contributors of small sums".

The Gleaner filled a gap between the Record and the Quarterly Paper, providing "a selection of the most interesting facts from the Record and information from other sources, to illustrate the proceedings of the Society". Ten years later it was enlarged in size while the price was reduced to a penny.

In the 1860s there was a gradual drop in sales partly because of the general decline in missionary interest, but also because of the old-fashioned appearance of the periodical. In 1870 it ceased publication.

Three years later, however, when Henry Wright was appointed Hon Secretary, he was eager that CMS should have a new magazine of a more popular and attractive kind than anything the Society had previously produced. He asked Eugene Stock to join the staff in June 1873 as Editorial Secretary and with the production of the new magazine as his first priority. It duly appeared on 1 January 1874 with the revived title Church Missionary Gleaner. Stock had sole responsibility for the Gleaner for the next seventeen years until in 1890 the editorship was passed to Miss Georgina Gollock, one of the first women to work at headquarters.

The 1874 Gleaner consisted of a sixteen page quarto sheet with the outer four pages serving as a wrapper. The first frontispiece was designed by Henry Wright himself, but after a few years was changed to the figure of a woman gleaning in the fields, while the outer pages of the original wrapper were incorporated into the magazine itself and were replaced by a plain wrapper. This provided space to incorporate information appropriate for the many localised editions which were later produced, such as the Madras Gleaner or the Berkshire Gleaner. The numerous illustrations which made the magazine particularly attractive were originally all woodcuts, many of them copied from original sketches and from photographs. But the Gleaner was one of the earliest English magazines to use the new American method of process blocks, the first occasion being the reproduction of a photograph in 1887.

The contents of the Gleaner remained basically unchanged over the years with the emphasis on missionary news. Sometimes books were serialised, such as the original autobiography of Dr Krapf, the linguist, missionary and explorer in 1881. Journals of tours by individuals, such as Bishop Bickersteth in India 1882, or by headquarters staff such as the 1921-1922 Delegation to India were often printed in full. In the earlier years there was a serial story and regularly there were short expositions on the Bible and devotional articles. There was also much about work within the British Isles mainly about CMS matters but also about important relevant events for the Church of England both at home and abroad.

The circulation of the Gleaner reached its peak in the 1890s when 82,000 were in monthly circulation, with half of the editions being localised. In 1922 it changed its name to the Church Missionary Outlook.

The volumes of the magazine contain a mass of information much of which is not recorded elsewhere in the Society's archives. Each volume contains its own individual index of contents divided into sections eg index of articles, editorial notes, mission news, headquarters notes etc. Within each individual index relating to mission news the material is arranged by country. The index to illustrations is likewise arranged by country, but with the home material listed under miscellaneous. Note that the archive card indexes include indexes of the illustrations by names, places and subjects.


The CMS Pictorial Gleaner contains a selection from the illustrations (engravings) which had appeared in CMS publications, together with brief explanatory notes and a short introduction to each mission area illustrated.

It was published in three volumes between December 1887 and November 1888 and comprised Africa and the Middle East; India, Ceylon and Mauritius; and China, Japan, New Zealand and Canada.


The CMS Missionary Atlas published in 1896 contains a brief history of the CMS missions with maps on which the CMS mission stations are marked. The maps also include the stations of other Protestant and some Roman Catholic missions. The volume has language maps for Africa and India, concise chronological tables for India, West and East Africa and table of Protestant missions in Africa. It has an index of principal places as well as a general index. For research purposes it is particularly valuable for giving the current spelling of place names as well as the exact location of some of the smaller mission stations.

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