Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) archives
Name of creator(s): Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
Administrative/Biographical history: The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) was founded in 1698 by four Anglican laymen and one clergyman, Sir Humphrey Mackworth, Colonel Maynard Colchester, Lord Guilford, John Hooke and the Reverend Dr Thomas Bray, to combat the "gross ignorance of the Christian religion" by promoting Christian knowledge through evangelical philanthropy, especially by means of the printing and distribution of Christian literature. In its early days the SPCK promoted charity schools, libraries for clergy in poor parishes, and the translation of Bibles and Prayer Books into other languages. The SPCK also supported the establishment of the Church of England in "colonies and plantations", especially, in the 18th century, in America and India. In the 19th century most missionary activity passed to other societies, but the SPCK continued to send its publications overseas, to provide spiritual support to emigrants en route to the colonies by employing chaplains on ships, to endow new dioceses and provide funds for church-building, and to promote the training of medical missionaries. Today the SPCK provides financial assistance, advice and published resources for Christian education, communication and mission throughout the world.
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Immediate source of acquisition: Donated in 1998.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract: Minute books of the main meeting from 1698, and of subsidiary and ad hoc committees; printed annual reports (containing much statistical information not retained in manuscript form); account books; correspondence (mostly 18th-century: later correspondence was not retained); miscellaneous papers; records of district committees handed in at headquarters; publishing records (mostly 20th-century); records of missions to the Scilly Isles and Pitcairn Island, records of Stepney Training College; and modern administrative records.
System of arrangement: SPCK.MS A, minute books; SPCK.MS B, printed reports; SPCK.MS C, accounts; SPCK.MS D, correspondence; SPCK.MS E, miscellaneous papers; SPCK.MS F, publications; SPCK.MS G, mission papers; SPCK.MS H, district committees; SPCK.MS J, donated and deposited papers; SPCK.MS M, modern records.
ACCESS AND USE
Conditions governing access: No restrictions, except possibly for recently created archive materials.
Conditions governing reproduction: Copyright remains vested in the SPCK, whose permission must be obtained for any substantial and commercial publication based on the archives. Permission for scholarly purposes should be sought from the SPCK Archivist, Cambridge University Library.
Finding aids: A catalogue is in course of preparation.
Related material: SPCK tracts, children's books and other publications of which the Library did not possess a copy have been catalogued in the Rare Books class SPCK.
Date(s) of descriptions: 24 July 2002.