Guillebaud Papers

Reference code(s): GB 1835 GUI
Held at: Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide (formerly known as the Henry Martyn Centre)
Domain: archival
Title: Guillebaud Papers
Date(s) of contents: 1953 -1988
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: One box of personal papers.


Name of creator(s): Guillebaud, Philippa

Administrative/Biographical history: The collection consists chiefly of the correspondence of Philippa Guillebaud from Southern Sudan and Uganda as well as items relating to the translation of the Bible into Kirundi, the language of Burundi, by her sister, Rosemary. In 1925 Harold and Margaret Guillebaud went to serve as missionaries in Uganda, taking their three eldest daughters with them. The family came back to England and lived in Cambridge but Harold went back to Burundi to further his work in translating the Bible into Kirundi, only to die in 1941. Peter Guillebaud, the only son, went to Africa in 1939, followed by Rosemary in 1940. Peter became involved in the East African Revival. Philippa went to Yei, near Juba, in Southern Sudan as a Church Missionary Society teacher in 1945. She taught at a girls' boarding school as well as running health clinics. In 1955, at the advent of civil war in Sudan, Philippa took refuge in the countryside but eventually returned to Yei. She finished teaching in 1959 in order to concerntrate on translating the Bible into Bari, the local language. Three years later she was expelled to Uganda but continued the translation work. The translation was published in 1979. Rosemary meanwhile was working as a translation advisor to the Bible Society, at one point supervising eleven translations. She completed her own translation of the Bible into Kirundi, work begun by her father in the 1920s, in 1961. In 1979 both sisters returned to Cambridge, making the occasional visit to Africa. Philippa died c 2000.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition: The letters were donated to the Henry Martyn Centre by Philippa and Rosemary Guillebaud in February 1997. Some of the itmes relating to the translation of the Bible into Kirundi were found in the Henry Martyn Hall in Cambridge.


Scope and content/abstract: The collection consists of 123 letters written from CMS Yei by Philippa Guillebaud to her mother, Margaret, in Cambridge from 1953 to 1959. A few letters were written from Nairobi, Kenya. These letters describe her work as a teacher and missionary. Some reference is made to the political situation in the Sudan. A second folder contains letters from Philippa to her sister Lindesay, after the death of their mother. These cover the years 1964 to 1969 and were written from Uganda. The third folder contains items donated by Rosemary. These consist of an account of a trip from Burundi into Zaire taken in 1970, as well as papers relating to the translation of the Bible into Kirundi. A final folder has two articles concerning the Church Missionary Society hospital at Mengo, Kampala.

System of arrangement: The collection consists of four folders: two containing letters from Philippa Guillebaud to her mother Margaret and to her sister Lindesay, one containing items relating to Rosemary's translation of the Bible and a fourth containing two articles from missionary magazines.


Language: English Kirundi

Conditions governing access: The papers are closed until 2011. In exceptional circumstances, they can be opened for post-doctoral researchers with the permission of the librarian or the archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: A handlist is available.


Related material:
The Henry Martyn Centre also holds the Billington Papers, and the Leech Papers.
The British and Foreign Bible Society's Library (part of Cambridge University Library) holds some papers of the Guillebaud family within the files of the Society's Translation Department.

Copies: Refer to the repository.


Date(s) of descriptions: April 2002

Bible Translations
Health care
Mission schools
Missionary societies
Missionary work

Personal names
Guillebaud | Harold | d 1941 | Church Missionary Society missionary and translator
Guillebaud | Philippa | d ? 2000 | Church Missionary Society missionary, teacher and translator

Corporate names
Bible Society
Church Missionary Society