Basel Mission Records

Reference code(s): GB 0151 DA4
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Orchard Learning Resources Centre
Domain: archival
Title: Basel Mission Records
Date(s) of contents: 1928-1972
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 27 files and 5 pamphlet boxes.


Name of creator(s):

Administrative/Biographical history: The German Missionary Society (subsequently the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society) was founded in 1815. Now known as the Basel Mission, it is one of the biggest and oldest German speaking Protestant missionary societies and was international and interdenominational from the beginning. The society opened an institution for training missionaries in 1816 and was initially involved in training people from the British and Dutch mission societies which were already engaged in evangelistic work. The largest number of missionaries was supplied to the Church Missionary Society. The Basel Mission Society also began to establish centres of its own, in Western Russia and then the Gold Coast area in West Africa (1828), in India (1834), China (1847), Cameroon (1886), Borneo (1921), Nigeria (1951) and Latin America and the Sudan (1972-73).

Part of its mission activities took the form of the pioneering programmes to provide employment and these industrial activities included the establishment of a printing press, a weaving industry and tile manufacturing. It also undertook medical missionary work.

Since the Second World War, the overseas work of the Basel Mission has been conducted in partnership with local autonomous churches. About 40 members are now working overseas, as pastors in parish work and training, doctors, nurses, mid-wives and medical-technical personnel, social workers, teachers, adult education staff, agriculturalists, construction experts, technicians and administrative staff. The mission has relations with churches and Christian organisations principally in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sudan, Zaire, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Since 2000, it has been a member of a new association of missions under the banner of Mission 21, created at the Basel Mission House.

Custodial history: The collection was formerly held by the Selly Oak Colleges Library although its original provenance is unknown.

Immediate source of acquisition: The collection was 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: This collection comprises copies of 'rundbriefe', circular letters of missionaries of the Basel Mission, sent from countries including Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, India, Borneo, China and Hong Kong.

System of arrangement: The collection is organised geographically by country; within countries, individual 'rundbrief' are filed alphabetically by name of missionary.


Language: English.

Conditions governing access:

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 with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Finding aids: This collection is uncatalogued. Please address any enquiries about the collection to the University Archivist.



Archivist's note: Compiled by University of Birmingham Information Services, with reference (May 2002) to the web site of the EMS (Evangelisches Missionswerk in Suedwestdeutschland /Association of Churches and Missions in South Western Germany).

Revised by Caroline Brick on behalf of the Mundus Project, November 2002.

Date(s) of descriptions: Created 17/10/2001, modified 17/09/2002 and November 2002.

Industrial missionary work
Medical missionaries
Medical missionary work
Missionary societies
Missionary work
Nondenominational missionary societies
Protestant missionary societies
Religious activities
Religious groups
Religious organizations

Personal names

Corporate names
Basel Evangelical Missionary Society
Basel Mission
German Missionary Society

Brunei Darussalam
Central Africa
East Asia
Gold Coast
Hong Kong
South Africa
South Asia
South East Asia
Southern Africa
West Africa