Smith, Edwin


IDENTITY STATEMENT
Reference code(s): GB 0102 MMS Boxes 609, 610, 611A-C
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies Library
Domain: archival
Title: Smith, Edwin
Date(s) of contents: 1877-1949
Level of description: Super-collection
Extent and medium: 5 boxes

CONTEXT

Name of creator(s): Smith | Edwin William | 1876-1957 | missionary, anthropologist and linguist

Administrative/Biographical history: Born at Aliwal North, Cape Colony, 7th September 1876; son of the Rev John Smith (1840-1915) and his second wife Fanny Jeary (married 1874), Primitive Methodist missionaries; studied at Elmfield College, York; accepted for the ministry, 1897; Primitive Methodist missionary in Basutoland [Lesotho], South Africa, 1898-1902; married Julia Anne (née Fitch), 3rd October 1899; joined the mission to the Baila-Batonga in northern Rhodesia [Zambia], 1902; at Nanzela, 1902-1908; at Mexborough, 1908-1909; pioneered the mission at Kasenga, 1909-1915; reduced the Ila language to written form, made a grammar and dictionary, and translated most of the New Testament; returned to England, 1915; military chaplain in France, 1915-1916; seconded to the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1916-1939; initially its secretary in Rome, Italy; later at the Society's headquarters giving editorial supervision to Scripture translations in many languages; editorial superintendent, 1933-1939; a prominent anthropologist and pioneer of the study of indigenous African religious beliefs; founder member of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (later the International African Institute), 1926; President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1933-1935; retired from the church, 1939; taught in north America, at the Kennedy School of Missions, Hartford Seminary, and at Fisk University, 1939-1944; editor of Africa, journal of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures, 1945-1948; honorary Doctor of Divinity from University of Winnipeg, c1937; honorary Doctor of Divinity, University of Toronto, 1942; died at Deal, Kent, 1957. Publications: works on the Ila language and people, anthropological works, works relating to inter-racial relations, and research on missionary history and biography, including: Handbook of the Ila Language (1907); with A M Dale, The Ila-speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia (1920); Robert Moffat (1925); The Golden Stool (1926); The Secret of the African (1929); Aggrey of Africa (1929); African Belief and Christian Faith (1936); The Mabilles of Basutoland (1939); The Life and Times of Daniel Lindley (1947); edited African Ideas of God (1950); biography of Roger Price, Great Lion of Bechuanaland (1957).

Custodial history: The papers were deposited with the Methodist Missionary Society and form part of the special series of biographical papers of individual missionaries, including an additional deposit (Boxes 611B-C) made by Smith's grandson in 1997.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the Methodist Missionary Society from 1978.

CONTENT AND STRUCTURE

Scope and content/abstract: Papers, 1877-1949, of Edwin Smith, comprising Smith's typescript and manuscript translations from religious texts into the Ila language, 1905-c1915, manuscript account of Ila, 1902, and manuscript account of Primitive Methodist missions in Africa, c1929 (Ref: Box 609); Smith's general official correspondence files, 1901-1913, the subjects including mission activities and finance (Ref: Box 610/1-3); press cuttings, notes, and manuscript by Smith on the Baila-Batonga mission, 1890s-1900s (Ref: Box 610/4); press cuttings on African, missionary, and Methodist affairs, 1897-1907, Smith's journal, 1898-1901, notes, typescripts and printed material, 1877-1924 and undated, by Smith and others on Ila and missionary work, and two manuscripts in Afrikaans, 1877 and undated (Ref: Box 611A/1); copy letters of the Rev John Smith, 1885-1886 (Ref: Box 611A/2); undated photographs of Aliwal North, Basutoland, Nanzela and Kasenga missions (Ref: Box 611B); a letter from Smith in Aliwal North to his mother, 1900 (Ref: Box 611C/1); diary and pamphlet concerning Smith's journey to Nanzela, 1909 (Ref: Box 611C/2); Smith's diaries of trips to Egypt, Palestine, the Sudan, USA, Canada, and South Africa, 1929-1949 (Ref: Box 611C/3).

System of arrangement:

ACCESS AND USE

Language: English, Ila, Afrikaans

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted, but only to be viewed on microfiche where copies exist. Originals to be consulted only with written agreement from the Methodist Church. Where copies do not exist (Boxes 611B-611C), researchers should request original material.

Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids: Unpublished handlist to item level.

ALLIED MATERIALS

Related material: The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society (Ref: MMS/PMMS), including files relating to Smith's work, 1898-1924, largely comprising letters from Smith relating to his time as a missionary in Africa (MMS Box 1184). SOAS also holds the Council for World Mission Library (Ref: CWML), which includes publications by Smith.

Copies: Boxes 609-611A published on microfiche by IDC Publishers (SOAS ref: Fiche Box Number Special Series 13-14).

DESCRIPTION NOTES

Archivist's note: Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed Gerald H Anderson (1998); Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan Methodist Ministers (1947); Wesleyan Methodist Church Minutes of Conference (1958), p 182; British Library OPAC.

Date(s) of descriptions: Mar 2002


INDEX ENTRIES
Subjects
African cultures
African languages
Ancient religions
Anthropologists
Bantu languages
Christianity
Christians
Clergy
Diaries
Documents
Ethnic groups
Evangelistic missionaries
Evangelistic missionary work
Linguists
Literary forms and genres
Methodism
Methodists
Mission administration
Mission policy
Missionaries
Missionary societies
Missionary work
National cultures
Newspaper press
Nonfiction
Ordained missionaries
Photographs
Press
Press cuttings
Prose
Protestant nonconformists
Protestant nonconformity
Protestantism
Protestants
Religions
Religious activities
Religious doctrines
Religious groups
Religious institutions
Religious movements
Religious organizations
Religious texts
Social scientists
Theology
Translations
Travel
Travel abroad
Tribes
Visual materials

Personal names
Smith | Edwin William | 1876-1957 | missionary, anthropologist and linguist
Smith | Fanny | née Jeary x Jeary | Fanny
Smith | John | 1840-1915 | missionary

Corporate names
Primitive Methodist Missionary Society

Places
Africa
Aliwal North
Basutoland
Canada
Central Africa
East Africa
Egypt
Kasenga
Lesotho
Middle East
Nanzela
North Africa
North America
Palestine
Province of the Eastern Cape
South Africa
Southern Africa
Sudan
USA
Zaire
Zambia