London Secretaries' Association
Name of creator(s): London Secretaries' Association
Administrative/Biographical history: The Association was formed in 1819 to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of information for those Missionary Societies with headquarters in London. The founding societies were the Baptist Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society, and the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. Another three societies joined the Association before 1850, a further fifteen or so during the second half of the 19th century, and about a dozen during the 20th century. The Association seems to have ended abruptly in 1945.
Custodial history: The Association's records were kept by the Secretary for the time being, and handed by him to his successor. One volume of minutes (1924-1940) was lost, and the minutes for 1890-1891 are incomplete. In November 1944 the outgoing Secretary transfered the records to the British and Foreign Bible Society's office, in readiness for the Annual Meeting of 1945, and they have remained there ever since.
Immediate source of acquisition: The archives of the British and Foreign Bible Society were deposited in Cambridge University Library in 1985.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract: The principal record is the series of minute books. There are also three letters of 1919 about the state of the minute books, and two small files of correspondence 1939-1944 about arrangements for meetings, membership, subscriptions and so on. Members of the Association met several times a year, to discuss a topic that had been agreed beforehand. Subjects ranged from aspects of the theology of missions to the practicalities of appropriate payment and allowances to missionaries and their families. Problems relating to different types of missionary work, e.g. eduction, medical work, and to specific countries were also discussed. Details of the discussions were not usually recorded.
System of arrangement: As per the description in Scope and content.
ACCESS AND USE
Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Physical characteristics: Some of the minute-books suffered minor fire-damage, thus becoming somewhat brittle, when the offices of the United Society for Christian Literature were bombed during the Second World War.
Finding aids: There is a brief typescript list of the records.
Related material: Records of the Association of Church of England Secretaries of Missionary Societies are also held at the British and Foreign Bible Society's Library.
Copies: The records have been microfilmed.
Date(s) of descriptions: May 2002