Mather, Percy Cunningham
Name of creator(s): Mather | Percy Cunningham | 1884-1933 | missionary
Administrative/Biographical history: Born in Fleetwood, England, 1884; employed by the railways; converted to Wesleyan Methodism, 1903; became a Sunday school teacher and local preacher; applied to join the China Inland Mission, 1908; pioneering missionary to central Asia; sailed to Shanghai, China, 1910; moved upriver to Anking (Anqing) language school; proceeded to Ningkwo (Ningguo) in Anhwei (Anhui) province, 1911; influenced by Roland Allen's Missionary Methods: St Paul's or Ours? (1912) and volunteered to join George Hunter (1861-1946) among the Islamic peoples of Urumchi (Urumqi), Chinese Turkestan (later Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) and arrived, 1914; with Hunter, itinerated in Outer Mongolia among Mongol tribes and Chinese traders and border settlers, 1914-1926; pursued intensive medical studies on furlough, 1927; subsequently concentrated on medical work and on translations, grammars, and dictionaries of Mongolian languages; to Kashgar, 1928; became involved in hostilities in China and was accused of political intrigue; died of typhus during the siege of Urumchi, 1933. Publication: letters published as The Making of a Pioneer: Percy Mather of Central Asia, ed Alice Mildred Cable and Francesca Law French (1935).
Custodial history: The papers form part of the series of personal and private papers of individual missionaries among the records of the China Inland Mission.
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated with the records of the China Inland Mission from 1991.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract: Papers, 1911-1938, of and relating to Percy Cunningham Mather, comprising letters to Mather from various correspondents, 1911-1931; letters of condolence on his death, 1933; letters from Mather, 1911-1933, largely to his sister Edith, including his experiences in China; typescript letters from Mather in Chuguchak (Tacheng), Sinkiang (Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu), to prayer companions, 1930-1932, describing his impressions and activities; six journals, 1911-1917, recording his activities; articles by Mather in Young China, 1928-1929; articles on Mather's life, 1933, 1938 and undated.
System of arrangement:
ACCESS AND USE
Conditions governing access: Unrestricted. Readers should order the documents as CIM box 2 in SOAS Special Collections Reading Room.
Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.
Finding aids: Database and unpublished handlist.
Related material: The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the China Inland Mission (Ref: CIM). SOAS also holds press cuttings of the Conference of British Missionary Societies relating to Mather's death in China, 1933 (Ref: CBMS/H/PB23/88).
Archivist's note: Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed Gerald H Anderson (1998); A J Broomhall, It is not Death to Die! (1989), vol vii of Hudson Taylor and China's Open Century, p 671; British Library OPAC.
Date(s) of descriptions: Mar 2002