Schon MSS

Reference code(s): GB 0150 CMS/ACC726
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Special Collections Department
Title: Schon MSS
Date(s) of contents: 1840-1938
Level of description: Sub-fonds
Extent and medium: 114 docs. and 1 file


Name of creator(s):

Administrative/Biographical history: James Frederick Schon, (CMS missionary in Sierra Leone 1832-1847) was renowned for his linguistic work, particularly in Hausa for which he produced a dictionary (1876) and grammar (1862). He accompanied the first Niger Expedition in 1841. In 1848 he became chaplain to the Melville Hospital, Chatham. In 1877 he was awarded the Volney Prize for his linguistic work and in 1884 received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. He died at Chatham 30 March 1889. Schon married Anne Elizabeth Nylander in 1835 who died in Sierra Leone 5 Nov 1837. In 1839 he married Cordelia Irving who died the following year. On 5 February 1841 he married Catherine White (nee Drake), the widow of James White CMS missionary 1839-1840. Catherine survived her husband, dying 26 Oct 1892. One daughter, Annie Catherine married Edward Thomas Higgens, CMS missionary in Ceylon, in 1858.
Reference: Finding aid to the collection

Custodial history: Purchased by the University of Birmingham, April 1995 and added to the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: This collection comprises papers of James Frederick Schon, CMS missionary in Sierra Leone, 1832-1847, together with associated Schon and Buxton family papers and correspondence. It includes the incomplete original of Schon's journal of the first Niger expedition in 1841; nine letters he wrote to his third wife Catherine, 1840-1842; letters received by Schon, one of which, dated 1843, is from Samuel Crowther, the remainder relate largely to his linguistic work and include letters concerning his award of the Volney prize, 1875-1886. Other family papers include some letters to and from Catherine Schon, 1857-1865; and letters to and from their daughter Emily Schon. Many of these are from members of the Buxton family, who included Thomas Fowell Buxton, a Vice-President of the CMS

System of arrangement: This collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into one series: Family 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 Schon and his service as a CMS missionary. There are also other papers relating to Schon's translation work in the Church Missionary Society's Unofficial Papers (GB 0150 CMS/ACC78)


Date(s) of descriptions: Created 11/02/2002, modified 17/09/2002


Personal names

Corporate names

Sierra Leone