Papers of Archdeacon Owen

Reference code(s): GB 0150 CMS/ACC83
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Special Collections Department
Title: Papers of Archdeacon Owen
Date(s) of contents: 1909-1945
Level of description: Sub-fonds
Extent and medium: 24 vols., 33 files


Name of creator(s):

Administrative/Biographical history: Walter Edwin Owen (1880-1945) was Assistant Secretary in the CMS Office in Belfast. He was accepted as a missionary in 1904 and ordained as a deacon in 1904 by the Bishop of London and as a priest in 1905 by the Bishop of Uganda. He served in Uganda for 14 years and then succeeded Walter Chadwick as Archdeacon of Kavirondo where he identified with the life and aspirations of the peoples of Nyanza. He was a skilful administrator. He died in 1945. His brother, Owen John Simpson was also a CMS missionary in West Africa.
References: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 (Church Missionary Society, 1905); Gordon Hewitt, The Problems of Success: a history of the Church Missionary Society 1910-1942 (SCM Press Ltd, 1971)

Custodial history: This collection was deposited with the CMS but the original provenance is unknown; it was transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: This collection comprises both official and personal papers of W. E. Owen as a CMS missionary and Archdeacon of Kavirondo in Kenya from 1918 up to 1945. His official correspondence relates to a wide range of political and social issues in which he concerned himself including forced marriages and marriage customs, ownership of land and the Native Lands Trust ordinance, the discovery of gold in the Kavirondo reserve and its implications for native life and customs, and compulsory labour. The collection also includes an almost complete sequence of his pocket diaries from 1920 to 1945 and files of materials assembled for a biography of Owen.

System of arrangement: This collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into three series: Official Papers, Family Papers and Miscellaneous Papers


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Open Access to all registered readers

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: A catalogue of this collection to file and item level is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Information Services Online Archive Catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation in the Special Collections Department reading room.


Related material: The Special Collections Department holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society (GB 0150 CMS), which includes papers relating to Owen's service as a CMS missionary


Date(s) of descriptions: Created 23/08/2001, modified 16/09/2002

Customs and traditions

Personal names
Owen | Walter Edwin | 1880-1945 | missionary

Corporate names
Church Missionary Society

East Africa