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Church Missionary Society Periodicals

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Editorial Board:

Professor Phil Cantrell
Associate Professor of World, Asian and African History, Longwood University

Dr Emily Manktelow
Lecturer in British Imperial History, University of Kent

Professor David Maxwell
Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University

Professor R. David Rightmire
Professor of Historical Theology, Asbury University

Professor Wilbert R. Shenk
Senior Professor of Mission History and Contemporary Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

Professor Brian Stanley
Director, Centre for the Study of World Christianity, Edinburgh University

Lane Sunwall
Learning Technologies Teaching Assistant and Doctoral Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Paul Jenkins
Private scholar, formerly Basel Mission archivist and lecturer in African History at the University of Basel

Source Archives:

Module 1 The Church Mission Society collection at the Crowther Mission Studies Library

Module 2 The Church Mission Society collection at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham

Nature of the Material:

Module 1 is comprised of periodicals published by the Church Missionary Society and South American Missionary Society from 1804-2009.

Module 2 contains periodicals and annual reports published by the Church Missionary Society and its auxiliaries, and the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, from 1816-1986.

Documents are indexed by places (region, city, and mission station), countries, names and key search terms.terms.

Scope of the Collection:

Click titles below to expand:

Module I: Global missions and contemporary encounters, 1804-2009

Sourced from the Crowther Mission Studies Library in Oxford, Church Missionary Society Periodicals digitises publications from the CMS and the South American Missionary Society from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It includes the Church Missionary Gleaner, CMS Outlook, CMS Intelligencer, Ruanda Notes (MAM News) and the South American Missionary Magazine, encompassing issues from 1804-2009.

Against the backdrop of colonialism and its decline, themes such as conflict, medicine and health, education, gender and families can be explored through the news, journals, correspondence and fiscal reports in the various publications. Detailed woodcut illustrations and thousands of photographs offer a further perspective on the societies’ work as well as thought-provoking presentations of indigenous cultures.

The geographical reach of missionary activity is reflected in the breadth of the material, with Africa, Asia, South America and Oceania all strongly represented with relevant documents accessible through a fully interactive map. An interactive chronology further contextualises the publications by placing them on a timeline with the history of the societies, key figures, world Christianity and global political history.

This extensive collection enables new research opportunities in the fields of missiology and world Christianity, as well as a unique perspective on global history and cultural encounters.

Module II: Medical Journals, Asian Missions and the Historical Record, 1816-1986 

The focus of this module is on the publications of CMS medical mission auxiliaries, the work of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society among women in Asia and the Middle East, newsletters from native churches and student missions in China and Japan, and ‘home’ material including periodicals aimed specifically at women and children subscribers. Articles, often in the form of letters authored by missionaries abroad, are enhanced by detailed illustrations and photographs of their surroundings, the mission community and the people among whom they worked. Also included are long runs of The Church Missionary Society Record, CMS Historical Record and CMS Annual Reports, covering the period from 1830-1986 and offering an overview of CMS work in different spheres around the world.

The second module is primarily sourced from the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, with some additional material from the CMS archive holdings at the Crowther Mission Studies Library, Oxford. Digitised titles include: India’s Women and China’s Daughters (later Looking East at India’s Women and China’s Daughters), Mercy and Truth, The Mission Hospital, CMS Japan Quarterly, The Bulletin of the Diocese of Western China, A Quarterly Token for Juvenile Subscribers, CMS Home Gazette and CMS Historical Record.

Articles include:

  • Serialised journals and letters
  • Reports on missionary work
  • News of philanthropic and charitable work
  • Profiles of key figures (both historical and contemporary to the publications)
  • Lists of new missionaries sent to the field
  • Family news including marriages, births and deaths
  • Appointments including indigenous priests and bishops
  • Reflections on (and approaches to) worship
  • Fiscal reports
  • Annual reports of missionary activity across the world
  • Details of medical treatments, new hospitals and work among the blind and deaf
  • Descriptions of effects of global events on missionaries and their communities, from natural disasters to wars and revolutions.

Additional Features:

The resource also features a number of innovative ways to access and understand the documents, including:

  • A gallery showcasing illustrations, photographs and maps from the periodicals
  • An interactive chronology contextualising the documents
  • Biographies of key figures
  • An interactive map enabling searching by region or country
  • Topical academic essays from leading scholars