Max Warren Collection

Reference code(s): LO/S31 Max Warren Collection
Held at: Partnership House Mission Studies Library (now the Crowther Library at CMS)
Domain: printed
Title: Max Warren Collection
Date(s) of contents: -1945
Level of description: Collection
Extent and medium: c7,700 books (including bound collections of pamphlets), c1,500 loose pamphlets, and c900 volumes of bound periodicals.


Name of creator(s):

Church Mission Society
Church Missionary Society
Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East

Administrative/Biographical history:

The Church Mission Society (CMS) was founded in 1799, by members of the evangelistic Eclectic Society, in recognition of the need to evangelise areas such as Africa and the South Pacific, as existing missionary societies such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel were confining their efforts to the Americas and the Caribbean. The first formally adopted name of the Society (in 1812) was the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East; prior to this it was known variously as the Missions Society and the Society for Missions.

One of the first missions established by the CMS was in Sierra Leone in 1804, followed by stations in India in 1813, New Zealand in 1814, Sri Lanka in 1817, North West Canada in 1822, and following accessibility rendered by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, the Society's Mid-China Mission was established in 1844. 1845 saw the commencement of mission work in East and West Equatorial Africa, and in 1850 the Fo-kien mission was established at Fuzhou in China. A mission in Palestine was begun in 1851, as were missions in Pakistan. Missions in British Columbia and Mauritius were both established in 1856; 1862 saw the CMS's work spread to south China, followed by missions in 1869 to Japan and Iran. These were augmented in 1876 by the Uganda Mission, in 1882 by work in Egypt and Iraq, and in 1892 in west China. The CMS was also active in much of the Caribbean.

The work of the CMS was characterized by its emphasis on involvement of the laity, and by the establishment of auxiliary societies, it being the policy of the Society to form such auxiliaries wherever there was sufficient practical support, in order to nurture localized interest. Such auxiliary societies included the Missionary Leaves Association, the Gleaners Union, the Savers Band, the Lay Workers' Union and the Younger Clergy Union. Emphases of the CMS's work included the establishment of medical missions (the medical department being fully organized by 1894), and its Women's Department in 1895 (though single women had previously been engaged in educational work in its service). Shortly after its centenary, in 1902, the CMS's annual report showed that it had 1,276 missionaries, 8,290 native workers and 2,274 schools and educational institutions.

The Max Warren Collection is named in honour of the Reverend Doctor Max Warren, General Secretary of the CMS from 1942 to 1962.

See also:
C. Hole, Early history of the Church missionary society for Africa and the East to the end of AD 1814 (Church Missionary Society, 1896).
Eugene Stock, The history of the Church Missionary Society: its environment, its men, and its work (London: Church Missionary Society, 1899).

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Max Warren Collection remains the property of the Church Missionary Society. It came under the auspices of the Partnership House Mission Studies Library upon the latter's foundation in 1987.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection reflects the diverse range of interests of the staff of the Church Mission Society from its foundation in 1799 until 1946. Although it includes some general religious material, such as bible commentaries and general theological works, its main focus is mission studies, particularly the activities of the CMS in the countries to which it sent its staff. These included India, China, West and East Africa, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Canada and the Middle East.

The collection includes works by CMS missionaries on both their methods of evangelization, and also the countries and societies in which they were active. The collection therefore covers the history, customs, governance, and religous practices of the aforementioned regions. The collection also includes missionary accounts of dealings with colonial officials, and reports of mission conferences.

The collection is also strong in works on non-Christian religions, particularly Islam. Another strength is material on the status of women in Muslim, Indian and African societies. Also included are works by non-missionary travellers and explorers. There is a small collection of works translated from English into local languages. There is also a large biographical collection, and early journals such as The Church Missionary Intelligencer.

System of arrangement: *



Conditions governing access:

The Max Warren Collection remains the property of the Church Missionary Society.

Conditions governing reproduction: No material published before 1900 may be photocopied.

Finding aids:

The Max Warren Collection is searchable via the Library's online catalogue at:


Related material:

Partnership House Mission Studies Library also holds the Partnership for World Mission Modern Collection of printed material, which consists of the post-1945 libraries of the Church Mission Society and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

The archives of the Church Mission Society are held at the University of Birmingham.

The Church Missionary Society Photographic Collection is held by the Royal Commonwealth Society Library, at the University of Cambridge.

New College Library of the University of Edinburgh holds the Missionary Register (1813-1855) of the Church Missionary Society.



Compiled using:
Henry Otis Dwight, H. Allen Tupper, Edwin Munsell Bliss, The encyclopedia of missions (New York and London: Funk & Wagnall Company, 1904).
CMS web page:

Date(s) of descriptions: 5th March 2002.

African cultures
Amerindian cultures
Ancient religions
Asian cultures
Caribbean cultures
Colonial administration
Colonial countries
Cultural heritage
Customs and traditions
Educational missionaries
Educational missionary work
Evangelistic missionary work
Geographical exploration
Islamic culture
Literary forms and genres
Medical missionaries
Medical missionary work
Missionary work
National cultures
North American cultures
Oceanic cultures
Political systems
Religious activities
Religious groups
Travel abroad
Women missionaries
Women's missionary work
Women's status

Personal names
Warren | Alexander Cunningham x Warren | Max
Warren | Max | 1904-1977 | historian and General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society 1942-1963

Corporate names
Church Mission Society
Church Missionary Society
Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East
Missions Society
Society for Missions

British Columbia
East Africa
East Asia
Iran, Islamic Republic
Middle East
New Zealand
North Africa
North America
Sierra Leone
South Asia
Sri Lanka
West Africa