Cooper, Alfred Cecil (Bishop in Korea)

Reference code(s): GB 0151 DA59
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Orchard Learning Resources Centre
Domain: archival
Title: Cooper, Alfred Cecil (Bishop in Korea)
Date(s) of contents: 1902-1964
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 1 box of archival material.


Name of creator(s): Cooper, Alfred Cecil (1882-1964)

Administrative/Biographical history: Alfred Cecil Cooper was born in 1882. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1907, and went out as a missionary priest to the Diocese of Korea in 1908. He was consecrated as Bishop of the Diocese in 1931. Following the liberation of Korea from the Japanese at the end of the Second World War, he returned to Korea and laboured to rebuild the Church. In 1950 he refused to leave the Diocese when the Communist forces occupied the Capital (Seoul), and he was taken into captivity in North Korea. He was forced to undertake the 'Death March', when all Communist prisoners were marched north as United Nations troops pushed towards the Yalu River. Bishop Cooper spent two and a half years as a prisoner in North Korea, and was finally repatriated in April 1953. He returned to Korea in October 1953. He retired in 1954, and died on 17 December 1964.

Custodial history: The papers were acquired with the records of the Korean Mission which were deposited in 1987 and 1993 with the Selly Oak Colleges Library. It is likely that Bishop Cooper's papers had been deposited with the Korean Mission by Rose Cooper.

Immediate source of acquisition: The papers were transferred to the Orchard Learning Resources Centre which was opened in 1997 following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges Library and the Westhill College Library.


Scope and content/abstract: The collection includes private letters (1940-1955) from Alfred Cecil Cooper to his sister Rose, diaries and ephemera.

The letters provide an interesting insight into the position of the Anglican Church in Korea during World War 2 and the Korean War, 1950-1953. There is no correspondence for the period February 1941-April 1945, when foreign Mission staff were forced to leave Korea for the duration of the War, and June 1950-October 1953, during which Bishop Cooper was held as a prisoner by Communist forces in North Korea. Correspondence relates to his life and work as Bishop of the Diocese of Korea, including his trip to the USA in 1948, his return to Korea following his release from imprisonment by Communist forces in North Korea, the state of the Anglican Church in Korea upon his return to the Diocese, his repatriation to the UK, and continues to his retirement in 1954 and his return home in 1955.

The diaries (3 volumes, 1962-1964) relate to Bishop Cooper's retirement in the UK.

The ephemera (1 file, 1902-1963) includes press cuttings relating to Bishop Cooper's Consecration and order of service for his Enthronement in 1931; notebooks; CBE award granted in 1956; correspondence with family members relating to family history.

System of arrangement:


Language: English.

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: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the

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 Orchard Learning Resources Centre holds the records of the Korean Mission; it also holds a collection of papers of Constance Trollope & Mark Napier Trollope, Third Bishop in Korea.


Archivist's note: Compiled by University of Birmingham Information Services, with reference to records of the Korean Mission. Revised by Caroline Brick on behalf of the Mundus Project, November 2002.

Date(s) of descriptions: Created 30/07/2002, modified 18/09/2002 and November 2002.

Cultural conflicts
Cultural interaction
Cultural policy
Cultural relations
International conflicts
Korean War, 1950-1953
Missionary work
Ordained missionaries
Religious activities
Religious groups
Religious institutions
World War Two, 1939-1945
World war

Personal names
Cooper | Alfred Cecil | 1882-1964 | Bishop of Korea
Cooper | Rose | sister of Alfred Cecil Cooper, Bishop of Korea

Corporate names
Church of England | Diocese of Korea | Bishop (1931-1954: Alfred Cecil Cooper)

East Asia
Korea DPR
Korea R
North America
North Korea
South Korea
Western Europe