Mitchell, John Murray

Reference code(s): GB 0237 Edinburgh University New College Library MSS MIT 4
Held at: Edinburgh University New College Library
Domain: archival
Title: Mitchell, John Murray
Date(s) of contents: 1857-1897
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 1 volume


Name of creator(s): Mitchell, John Murray (1815-1904)

Administrative/Biographical history: John Murray Mitchell, missionary to India, was born in 1815 in Aberdeen. He gained an M.A. from Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1833 and while studying there he first met Alexander Duff who interested him in mission work in India. He went on to study divinity at Aberdeen then at Edinburgh where he was a distinguished student and active in the Edinburgh University Missionary Association. Mitchell was ordained in 1838 and was appointed a missionary to Bombay where his first post was in the school of John Wilson and Robert Nesbit. Based mainly in Bombay, he had a long and varied service in India, travelling widely helping to establish missions in Nagpur, Jalna and Rajputana and spending much time in Pune (Poona) where he acted for a while as interim principal at the Government College. He retired in 1863 and became a minister of the Free Church at Broughty Ferry but returned to India in 1868 at the request of Duff. He worked in Calcutta and formed the 'Union Church' at Simla until becoming secretary of the Free Church's Foreign Mission Committee in 1873. By 1880 Mitchell had returned to India preaching and lecturing. He retired again in 1888 when he went to the Scottish church in Nice for ten years before accepting the Duff Missionary Lectureship at Edinburgh. He died in 1904 and his The Great Religions of India was published posthumously a year later. Mitchell was interested in Indian languages, particularly Marathi. He read Marathi poetry and assisted in the revision of the Marathi Bible translation as well as translating parts of the Book of Common Prayer. He was made an honorary LL. D of Aberdeen in 1858. His wife, Mary Hay Flyter, wrote several accounts of their life in India which were published and Mitchell himself wrote recollections of his early life including In Western India (1899).

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: The volume is a commonplace book with entries written by Mitchell dealing mainly with Indian culture, religion and missions.

System of arrangement:


Language: English.

Conditions governing access: Contact the repository for details.

Conditions governing reproduction: Contact the repository for details.

Finding aids: The volume is mentioned in the Index to Manuscripts and the Inventory to Manuscripts at New College Library.


Related material: The James Cunningham collection at New College Library has three letters from Mitchell (1859-1866, MSS CM/M54-56). The National Library of Scotland has an extensive missionary collection including letters from Mitchell.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Caroline Brown, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives.

Note: The biographical information was compiled using Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology N.M. de S. Cameron (ed.) (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993).

Date(s) of descriptions: 7 July 2000

Social life and customs

Personal names
Mitchell | John Murray | 1815-1904

Corporate names
Free Church of Scotland

South Asia