Gützlaff Collection

Reference code(s): GB 0151 DA19
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Orchard Learning Resources Centre
Domain: archival
Title: Gützlaff Collection
Date(s) of contents: 1827-c 1850
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 2 manuscript boxes containing 1 volume and 9 files of papers containing 188 items.


Name of creator(s):
Ball, Richard
Gützlaff, Karl (Charles) Friedrich August (1803-1851)

Administrative/Biographical history: Dr Karl (Charles) Frederich August Gützlaff was born in Pomerania in 1803. He attended Janicke's Mission School in Berlin, 1821-1823, and studied at Berlin University. He then travelled to Holland and joined the Netherlands Missionary Society, 1826-1828. Having spent some time working in the Chinese Diaspora he left the Netherlands Missionary Society to work as an individual missionary in China. In 1844 he established his own 'Chinese Union' at Kwangtung with which he was involved until his death in 1851. Whilst pursuing his missionary work, Gützlaff was also employed as an official of the British Government, having been appointed in 1834 interpreter for the British Commercial authorities and Chinese Secretary of the Department of Trade. He was also responsible for a programme of Bible translation and printing, rendering Biblical scripture into Chinese and Japanese which he disseminated as part of his missionary work. He also published monographs, and contributed to monthly periodicals.

See also:
George A. Hood, Mission accomplished? The English Presbyterian Mission in Lingtung, South China: a study of the interplay between mission methods and their historical context (New York, 1986).

Custodial history: It is not known whether the Ball materials and Gützlaff's own materials were acquired from the same source, at the same time. The terms of the deposit are also unknown, but both sets of materials were held by Selly Oak Colleges Library in the early 1980s, when they were used by George A. Hood for the purposes of his doctoral research. Initial sorting and numbering was then undertaken by Hood in July 1999. Photocopies of materials relating to Gützlaff and the Chinese Union in the archive of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship of the China Inland Mission were acquired by Hood during the course of his doctoral research from Dr A. J. Broomhall of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship. Hood presented these to Selly Oak Colleges Library in 1987.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of, and relating to, Gützlaff, comprising the papers of Gützlaff, the papers of Richard Ball (from 1850 the Secretary of the Chinese Association (later known as the Chinese Evangelisation Society)), and photocopies of papers held in the China Inland Mission relating to Gützlaff.

The papers include correspondence, and research notes relating to Gützlaff's missionary activity in China in the mid-19th century, most especially the activities of the Chinese Union, otherwise known as the Christian Society for Propagating the Gospel and the Chinese Christian Union, which he founded in 1844, the Chinese Association, founded in England in 1850 to support Gützlaff's Chinese Union, and the endeavours of fellow European missionaries in China and associated regions.

System of arrangement: The collection is arranged according to what is thought to be the original provenance of the material: the papers of Dr Karl Gützlaff, the papers of Richard Ball, and photocopies of papers held in the China Inland Mission relating to Gützlaff; the item numbering undertaken by George A. Hood has been retained.


Language: English, plus some Dutch, Hebrew, Danish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.

Conditions governing reproduction: Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections (email: special-collections@bham.ac.uk). Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Physical characteristics: The papers were deposited in a metal storage case, 45cm x 18.7cm x 26cm; this has been retained.

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


Related material:
The University of Birmingham Special Collections Department contains the official Church Mission Society Archive which includes material relating to Gützlaff.

The Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World holds papers relating to Gützlaff and the Chinese Union.

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the archive of the China Inland Mission, which includes material relating to Gützlaff.

Herman Schlyter's Der China-Missionar Karl Gützlaff und Seine Heimatbasis (Lund : CWK Gleerup, 1976) has a comprehensive list of sources.


Archivist's note: Compiled by University of Birmingham Information Services; revised by Caroline Brick on behalf of the Mundus Project, November 2002.

Note: Cataloguing of the papers was undertaken by the Special Collections department, University of Birmingham, in May 2000, as a result of the University of Birmingham's relationship with Selly Oak Colleges' endowment trust.

Date(s) of descriptions: Created 05/17/2000, modified 09/5/2002 and November 2002.

Asian languages
Missionary societies
Missionary work
Religious activities
Religious organizations
South and Southeast Asian languages

Personal names
Ball | Richard | Secretary of the Chinese Association
Gützlaff | Karl (Charles) Friedrich August | 1803-1851 | doctor, missionary in China, writer, and interpreter

Corporate names
Chinese Union
Christian Society for Propagating the Gospel and the Chinese Christian Union

East Asia