Friends of Vellore

Reference code(s): GB 0059 Mss Eur F219
Held at: British Library, Asia Pacific and Africa Collections, India Office Private Papers
Domain: archival
Title: Friends of Vellore
Date(s) of contents: 1916-1997
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: Approximately 630 files


Name of creator(s): British Board of the Christian Medical College, Vellore Friends of Vellore in the United Kingdom and Eire

Administrative/Biographical history: In 1918, Dr Ida S Scudder founded the Missionary Medical College for Women to train Indian women doctors. Dr Scudder was the daughter of an American missionary family in India, and after training in the United States she returned to India to give medical care to Indian women who could not by custom be treated by male doctors. In 1902, she had established the Mary Taber Schell Hospital for women, but the shortage of women doctors led her to found a training college for them. The College was financed and controlled by Missionary Societies in America and Britain whose representatives constituted the Board of Governors which sat in separate American and British sections. In 1938, to help meet the need to upgrade the qualifications offered by the hospital, it was decided to appoint men as well as women to the faculty, and in 1947 male students were also admitted. Its name was therefore changed to the Christian Medical College, Vellore, and in 1968 this was changed to the Christian Medical College and Hospital. In 1940, the Friends of Vellore Society was founded to co-ordinate the activities of several small support groups in Britain and Ireland, and was administered until 1948 by its own Executive Committee. In that year, the American and British Boards transferred legal control and ownership of the College to an Association representing the Indian Churches. Management of the College became the responsibility of the College Council on which the two Boards continued to be represented. The two Boards now functioned as supporting agencies of the College, and the Friends of Vellore Society was merged with the British Board. The Society’s Executive Committee became the Friends of Vellore Committee of the Board. However, in 1954 the British Board was renamed the Friends of Vellore in the United Kingdom and Eire, and the Friends of Vellore Committee became the Promotion Committee. Further minor changes in committee structure took place in the following years. Similar developments took place in the American Board, and Canadian and Australian Boards were also formed.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: The collection comprises archives accumulated in the United Kingdom by the secretariat of the Friends of Vellore and of its predecessor the British Board. The archives contain two main types of material: firstly administrative records (minutes, financial papers, correspondence, subject files and personnel files), and secondly promotional materials (books, leaflets, photographs, slides, films and tape recordings) including material relating to fund raising events the chief of which is an annual concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The administrative records reflect primarily the work of the British Board and later of the Friends of Vellore, but they also help to chart the historical development of the College and Hospital. They include copies of the American Board’s minutes and of the minutes of the College’s Council and Association. The promotional materials, though used for fund raising activities in the United Kingdom, chiefly reflect the work of the College and Hospital in India. The archive includes papers of the Vellore Rural Communities Trust (1970-1984). There are also a number of publications relevant to the College including biographies of Ida Scudder, Collected Reprints of scientific articles by Hospital staff, reports on the College, and newsletters issued by the Friends of Vellore.

System of arrangement: By record series


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Access unrestricted except for recent accruals

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: Handlist


Publication note: ‘The Administrative Origins of the Friends of Vellore and List of the Friends of Vellore Collection' by Oliver Hugh Wooller (MA thesis, University of London, 1991). Available as: GB 0059 Mss Eur C545


Date(s) of descriptions: 18 July 2002

Educational missionaries
Educational missionary work
Home Mission administration
Medical missionaries
Medical missionary work
Mission administration
Mission educational institutions
Mission policy
Missionary societies
Missionary support organizations
Missionary work
Rural missionary work
Women missionaries
Women’s missionary work

Personal names
Scudder | Ida Sophia | 1870-1960 | American medical missionary

Corporate names
British Board of the Christian Medical College, Vellore
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India
Friends of Vellore in the United Kingdom and Eire
Vellore Rural Communities Trust, India

South Asia