London Secretaries' Association

Reference code(s): GB 0374 F4/1
Held at: British and Foreign Bible Society's Library, Cambridge University Library
Domain: archival
Title: London Secretaries' Association
Date(s) of contents: 1819-1945
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 8 volumes, 2 files, 1 envelope.


Name of creator(s): London Secretaries' Association

Administrative/Biographical history: The Association was formed in 1819 to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of information for those Missionary Societies with headquarters in London. The founding societies were the Baptist Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society, and the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. Another three societies joined the Association before 1850, a further fifteen or so during the second half of the 19th century, and about a dozen during the 20th century. The Association seems to have ended abruptly in 1945.

See also:
J.H. Ritson and others, Records of missionary secretaries, an account of the celebration of the centenary of the London Secretaries' Association (London: United Council for Missionary Education, 1920).

Custodial history: The Association's records were kept by the Secretary for the time being, and handed by him to his successor. One volume of minutes (1924-1940) was lost, and the minutes for 1890-1891 are incomplete. In November 1944 the outgoing Secretary transfered the records to the British and Foreign Bible Society's office, in readiness for the Annual Meeting of 1945, and they have remained there ever since.

Immediate source of acquisition: The archives of the British and Foreign Bible Society were deposited in Cambridge University Library in 1985.


Scope and content/abstract: The principal record is the series of minute books. There are also three letters of 1919 about the state of the minute books, and two small files of correspondence 1939-1944 about arrangements for meetings, membership, subscriptions and so on. Members of the Association met several times a year, to discuss a topic that had been agreed beforehand. Subjects ranged from aspects of the theology of missions to the practicalities of appropriate payment and allowances to missionaries and their families. Problems relating to different types of missionary work, e.g. eduction, medical work, and to specific countries were also discussed. Details of the discussions were not usually recorded.

System of arrangement: As per the description in Scope and content.


Language: English.

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Physical characteristics: Some of the minute-books suffered minor fire-damage, thus becoming somewhat brittle, when the offices of the United Society for Christian Literature were bombed during the Second World War.

Finding aids: There is a brief typescript list of the records.
Refer also to the University of Cambridge's online archival catalogue, Janus.


Related material: Records of the Association of Church of England Secretaries of Missionary Societies are also held at the British and Foreign Bible Society's Library.

Copies: The records have been microfilmed.


Date(s) of descriptions: May 2002

Communication process
Group communication
Group discussions
Mission administration
Mission policy
Missionary societies
Missionary support organizations
Missionary work
Overseas/foreign mission administration
Protestant missionary societies
Religious activities
Religious groups
Religious organizations
Religious studies

Personal names

Corporate names
Anglo-Indian Evangelisation Society
Baptist Missionary Society
British Jews Society
British Missionary Conference
British Syrian Mission
British and Foreign Bible Society
Ceylon and India General Mission
China Inland Mission
Christian Literature Society for China
Christian Vernacular Education Society for India
Church Missionary Society
Church of England Zenana Missionary Society
Colonial and Continental Church Society
Congo Balolo Mission
Egypt General Mission
English Presbyterian Church
Evangelical Continental Society
Evangelical Union of South America
Jerusalem and the East Mission (of the Church of England)
London Jews Society
London Missionary Society
London Secretaries' Association
Mission to Lepers
Moravian Church
North Africa Mission
Primitive Methodist Missionary society
Regions Beyond Missionary Union
Religious Tract Society
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
Society of Friends
South Africa General Mission
South American Missionary Society
Strangers' Home for Asiatics (Limehouse)
Student Volunteer Missionary Union
Sudan United Mission
Waldensian Missions
Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society
Zenana Bible and Medical Mission

Western Europe