Church Missionary Society Periodicals

Discover hundreds of years of world history with this vital collection for students, researchers and teachers of missiology, world Christianity and 19th and 20th century colonial and post-colonial history.

The rich and diverse publications of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) shed light on key events since the beginning of the 19th century. With active mission stations in every continent, the published journals, letters and reports represent a truly global perspective on not only evangelism and mission history but conflict, colonialism and globalisation.

Founded in 1799 as an Anglican evangelical movement, the CMS has been active across the globe, proving one of the key agents of evangelism in the non-Western world. The publications featured in Church Missionary Society Periodicals were key in promoting the work of the society, fundraising and reporting from a great number of countries.

  • An essential resource for teaching and research on World History; an instructive essay by Phillip A Cantrell II explains how
  • Trace the lives and postings of all men and women employed as missionaries from 1804-1928 in the unique annotated Registers of Missionaries Yes Magazine (continuation of The CMS Gleaner) up to 2009, representing contemporary missionary work
  • Letters and serialised accounts of indigenous peoples, practices and missionary encounters
  • Core society records such as The Church Missionary Society­ Record, Historical Record and CMS Annual Reports
  • Newsletters from native churches and student missions from key stations in China and Japan
  • Learn about the Society’s role in vaccination programmes in Africa, campaigns against foot-binding in China and against child-marriage in India
  • A rich source of illustrations and photographs
  • Publications aimed at specific demographics such as women and children.

Modules include

Module Summary Date
Module I: Global Missions and Contemporary Encounters

This module features publications from the Church Missionary Society and the South American Missionary Society between 1804 and 2009. The Church Missionary Gleaner, started in 1838 by Charles Hodgson, was adopted by CMS as a two-penny magazine with rich woodcut illustrations to record and inform the public of its activities; it went on to become Yes Magazine and was published until 2009.

Highlights include region-specific periodicals, such as The South American Missionary Magazine and Ruanda Notes, and the Register of Missionaries, unique annotated volumes listing the men and women of the CMS from 1804-1928. With publications ranging in period, style and focus, this module aims to offer a global view of missionary activity across three centuries and to facilitate research within a vast range of disciplines.

Module II: Medical Journals, Asian Missions and The Historical Record

This module focuses on the publications of CMS medical mission auxiliaries, the work among women in Asia and the Middle East, newsletters from native churches, student missions in China and Japan, and 'home' material including periodicals aimed specifically at women and children subscribers.

CMS medical journals encompass the work of medical missionaries and mission hospitals across Africa, the Middle East, India and China. Learn about the Society's role in vaccination programmes in Africa, campaigns against foot-binding in China and against child-marriage in India, and the effects of natural disasters, revolution, war and changing political regimes on Christian communities and Europeans far from home.


Key data

Period covered


Source archives

  • The Church Mission Society collection at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham
  • The Church Mission Society collection at the Crowther Mission Studies Library
  • History
  • Missiology
  • Medicine and health
  • Education
  • Gender and women's studies
  • Cultural encounter
  • Politics and conflict
  • Social reform
  • World history
  • 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.
  • Phil Cantrell, Longwood University
  • Paul Jenkins, Private Scholar, formerly at the University of Basel
  • Emily Manktelow, University of Kent
  • David Maxwell, Cambridge University
  • David Rightmire, Asbury University
  • Wilbert R Shenk, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Brian Stanley, Edinburgh University
  • Lane Sunwall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • African Studies
  • Communities, Peoples and Nations
  • East Asian Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Thousands of issues, full-text searchable for the first time
  • Thorough metadata detailing people, regions, countries, towns, cities and mission stations
  • Volume indices digitally recreated for easy browsing
  • Popular searching terms to aid interaction with the material
  • Contextualising secondary features such as an interactive chronology and an extensive biographies page
  • Essays addressing key research topics
  • A gallery showcasing illustrations, photographs and maps from the periodicals
  • Biographies of key figures
  • An interactive map enabling searching by region or country


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