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Christian Missions in Africa - Research Guide

This research guide has been superseded by Christian Missions in Africa. LO, 11/2017.

Reference works on missions

World Christian encyclopedia: a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world / David B. Barrett et al. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Oxford University Press, 2001.

Location: Van Pelt Reference stacks: BR157 .W67 2001
Evangelical dictionary of world missions / A. Scott Moreau, gen. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.
More than 1,400 articles covering mission history, academic and applied missiology, biographies, relevant theological and social science topics, with reports on Christianity in countries worldwide.
Location: Van Pelt stacks: BV2040 .E92 2000
For a review of EDWM, see:
"Review" / Robert Schreiter. International bulletin of missionary research 25, 1 (January 2001): 36.
Cambridge history of Christianity. 9 vols. Cambridge University Press, 2006-2009.
Recent multivolume history, each volume with extensive bibliographic apparatus. See especially:
Location: Cambridge Histories Online (see entries above for links).
Biographical dictionary of Christian missions / Gerald H. Anderson, ed. Paperback [revised] ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999.
Informative entries with bibliographies, with a special emphasis on native-born missionaries. Appendices list subjects by time period, gender, martyrdom, region of service, agencies and orders, and type of missionary work.
Location: Van Pelt Reference stacks: BV3700 .B56 1999
For an appreciation of Anderson, an overview of its arrangement and use, and comments on related works, see:
"Review" / William R. Burrows. U.S. Catholic historian 18, 2, Reference works (Spring 2000): 87-94.
Dictionary of African Christian biography.
An ongoing collaborative dictionary.
Location: Overseas Ministries Study Center web

Bibliographic indexes and abstracts

Bibliotheca missionum. 30 vols. (Veroffentlichungen des Internationalen Instituts fur Missionswissenschaftliche Forschung.) M|nster i W., Aachen, 1916-1974.
Also referred to as Streit-Dindinger. Produced under the auspices of Pontificia Bibliotheca Missionaria. A mammoth retrospective bibliography, in German, for the bravest. Volumes are devoted to regions, with indexes (to page numbers) for authors, subject persons, places and ethnic groups, and languages. See especially:
  • 15. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1053-1599.
  • 16. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1600-1699.
  • 17. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1700-1879.
  • 18. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1880-1909.
  • 19. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1910-1940. 1. T.
  • 20. Bd. Afrikanische Missionsliteratur, 1910-1940. 2. T.

Location: Van Pelt stacks: BV2130 .B425 [Bd. 1-30]
For an appreciation of Streit-Dindinger and an overview of its arrangement and use, see:
"Bibliotheca missionum: a case of benign neglect" / David Henige. History in Africa 5 (1978): 337-344.
International mission bibliography, 1960-2000 / Norman E. Thomas, ed. (ATLA bibliography series, no. 48.) Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2003.
A one-volume work updating Streit-Dindinger. Annotated listings of books in topical chapters. See especially:
  • "Africa" / Walter Cason and Adrian Hastings, subeditors. pages 479-570.
    This 1,375-item chapter is arranged in subsections for reference works, significant compilations of primary sources, biographies, African theologies, Christianity in relation to other religions (including Christianity and African Religions), and individual countries.

Location: Van Pelt stacks: BF2061 .I58 2003
ATLA Religion database with ATLA serials. 1949-present. American Theological Library Association.
The principal bibliographic database on religious studies, including missiology. Fulltext is provided for many titles. Use these subject terms as a first search step:
SU (missions OR missionary OR missionaries)

Location: EBSCOhost
African Studies Centre (Leiden) catalogue = African studies abstracts.
An excellent library catalog, describing books, journals, and articles within journals. Remember that ASC (Leiden)'s library is not the Penn Libraries! Use these subject terms as a first search step, then "restrict" your second search for geography or additional topic:
ASC subject heading (containing) missions OR "missionary history"

Location: ASC Library web
Anthropology PLUS.
Combining Anthropological literature (from Harvard's Tozzer Library) and Anthropological index (from the Royal Anthropological Institute) creates some confusion, but this is the most comprehensive index to the book and journal article literature for anthropology, with coverage starting in the 1800s. AnthroLit records will include subject terms for specific ethnic groups.
Location: EbscoHOST
Historical Abstracts.
Location: EbscoHOST

Primary sources on African missions - the Penn Libraries

Empire Online.
Not strictly a complete archival collection, but a sampler of documents from many collections, with contextual essays. See especially:
African missions, education and the road to independence: the SUM in Nigeria, the Cameroons, Chad, Sudan and other African territories. Part 4, Lantern slides, slides and photographs, and Part 5, Publications in Hausa. Adam Matthew.
A subset of materials from the Sudan United Mission archive. Part 5 includes English-language Christian education materials. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfilm 4582
Archives of the Council for World Mission, 1775-1940. H-2130, South Africa ; H-2131, Central Africa ; H-2132, Matabeleland.
Includes Commonwealth Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, and Congregational Council for World Mission materials, archived at the School for Oriental and African Studies. See digital guide at Brill Publishers web, with additional details and some general description of contents and arrangement in the archives' SOAS guide.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfiche 1025
Board of Missions, Sierra Leone, 1911-1948.
Records of missions from the United Methodist Church. Includes board minutes, reports and correspondence, diaries and scrapbooks. Consult print guide at Van Pelt Microtext Center.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfilm 4376
Church Missionary Society archive. Section IV, Africa missions. Pt. 14, Egypt mission, 1889-1934 and Pt. 15, Egypt mission, 1889-1949.
A small subset of an enormous missionary archive. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfilm 4499
Church Missionary Society archive. Section 3, Central manuscript records. CMS medical journals.
A collection of medical journals published for missionaries and the British general public. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfilm 4468
Church Missionary Society Periodicals
Searchable page-image fulltext for the magazines, newsletters, and journals of the Church Missionary Society, 1804-2009. Includes Church Missionary Gleaner (now Yes), Church Missionary Intelligencer, the CMS Annual Report, other CMS periodicals including regional magazines, e.g., Ruanda Notes. Reference works in the collection include Register of Missionaries (1804-1928), Church Missionary Atlas (8th ed., 1896), and the Gleaner Pictorial Album (1887-1888). During Spring 2016, this collection will include the CMS Historical Record (successor to the Annual Report, CMS medical journals. and periodicals from the CMS's Asian missions.
Location: Adam Matthew Digital web
Evangelism in Africa: correspondence of the Board of Foreign Missions, 1835-1910.
Incoming correspondence from West African missions, primarily in Liberia, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon, and outgoing correspondence from the Board of Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A, held at the Presbyterian Historical Society (Philadelphia, PA) . Corresponds to microfilm set, Board of Foreign Missions Correspondence and Reports, 1833-1911 (Africa Missions subset) (Scholarly Resources), where each microfilm reel corresponds to a digital file. See digital guide to microfilm set at Scholarly Resources online guides (Gale Cengage web).
Location: Archives Unbound (Gale Cengage web)
Africa through western eyes: manuscript records of traders, travellers, soldiers, missionaries and diplomats in Africa. Parts 1 & 2.
A sampler of materials, including Uganda: missionary history, 1876-1927 / George K. Baskerville (CMS), and six letters, 1858-1859, from David Livingstone on exploration. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: Van Pelt Microtext Center: Microfilm 4423
19th Century UK Periodicals: Empire.
Searchable fulltext for popular periodicals on travel, anthropology, missionaries, colonialism, and economics published in the UK during the 19th century. Includes Central Africa (Universities' mission), Church Missionary Gleaner (CMS), Medical Missions at Home and Abroad, and many more titles.
Location: Gale Cengage web
British Periodicals. Collections 1 and 2.
Searchable fulltext for popular periodicals published in the UK during the 18th and 19th centuries. Includes church periodicals, e.g., London quarterly and Holborn review (Methodist, 1853-1906), Methodist magazine (Wesleyan Methodist, 1778-1900) as well as general magazines that report on missionary activities.
Location: ProQuest web
Christian Mission - Boston University Digital Common.
A fulltext collection of more than 200 books, pre-1923, on missionary activities. Includes Christian missions and social progress: a sociological study of foreign missions / James S. Dennis (3 vols., 1898-1906), missionary manuals, lectures, and personal narratives.
Location: BU web
eHRAF World Cultures.
A fulltext collection of classic ethnographies, some contributed by missionaries. Individual paragraphs are indexed by subject. Use the Search:Advanced Search interface, search for the Subject = Missions (797), then "Create Another Sub-Group ..." to add other subjects, e.g. Subject = Acculturation and culture contact (177). Results will display sorted by Continent and Culture.
Location: eHRAF web

Primary sources on African missions - the Center for Research Libraries

Use the collection's finding aid to identify what you want. Then request specific parts, microfilm reels, or microfiche parts through the Penn Library Web's Interlibrary Loan-Book Request online form.

Church Missionary Society archive.
CRL's holdings of CMS materials is comprehensive but complicated. Older materials were microfilmed on commission for CRL, post-World War I materials have been acquired from Adam Matthew Publications.
Location: CRL web
African missions: papers of the Mission of the United Presbyterian Church from the National Library of Scotland.
UPC mission activities in Calabar, Nigeria and several missions in South Africa, including Lovedale, 1870s-1928. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web
Location: CRL catalog
Archives Aequatoria.
Focused on the mission archive of theMissionaries of the Sacred Heart (Missionnaires du Sacre-Coeur, MSC) in Bamanya, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1897-1991. For an overview of the archives, see Presentation of the Aequatoria Archives.
Location: CRL catalog
Archives of the Council for World Mission, 1775-1940.
Includes Commonwealth Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, and Congregational Council for World Mission. Features the correspondence of David Livingstone, and journals, reports and correspondence from other missionaries in Mauritius, Madagascar, and Southern and Central Africa.
Location: CRL catalog
Ghana archive of the Basel Mission (Evangelische Missionsgesellschaft in Basel).
Very helpfully includes English transcriptions of incoming Ghana correspondence, 1829-1914.
Location: CRL catalog
Joint IMC/CBMS (International Missionary Council, Conference of British Missionary Societies) archives: Africa and India, 1910-1945.
The joint archives deal with national and international co-operation among missionary organizations.
Location: CRL catalog
Livingstonia Mission archives, 1874-1934: the Rev Dr Robert Laws and missionary activity in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia from the Scottish Foreign Missions Archive at the National Library of Scotland.
The Free Church of Scotland mission. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: CRL catalog
Methodist Missionary Society archives, London.
Covering minutes, correspondence, journals, diaries, and other materials, 1791-1948, from the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, the Women's Work Collection, and the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society. See digital guide at IDC Publishers web.
Location: CRL catalog
Paris Evangelical Missionary Society archives, 1822-1947.
The records of Societe des missions evangeliques de Paris, active throughout Africa, especially Madagascar, Senegal, Congo, Gabon, and Lesotho.
Location: CRL catalog
Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, 1833-1911.
Correspondence and other records, primarily on the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.'s mission work in Liberia and Gabon, and West Africa generally, held at the Presbyterian Historial Society. See digital guide at Gale Cengage web.
Location: CRL catalog
Documents relating to the Universities' Mission to Central Africa from the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
Documents the Anglo-Catholic mission society's activities in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and parts of Mozambique, 1861-1929.
Location: CRL catalog
Scottish missionary archives from the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World.
Minutes of the Church of Scotland Foreign Missions Committee, 1900-1929, and the periodical Missionary record of the United Free Church of Scotland, 1901-1929. See digital guide at Adam Matthew web.
Location: CRL catalog

Primary sources on African missions - not held at Penn or at the Center for Research Libraries

White Fathers. Missionnaires d'Afrique - Chroniques Trimestrielles et Rapports Annuels. Rome: Societe des Missionaires d'Afrique. Archives.
Quarterly reports (1879-1909) gradually superseded by annual reports (1905-1960) from White Fathers missions worldwide.
Location: SMA Archives web
Evangelische Missionsgesellschaft in Basel. BM Archives: Basel Mission / Mission 21.
Images, maps, sketches, plans from Basel Mission activities and programs, and archival descriptions of documents held by the BM Archives.
Location: BM Archives web
Southern Baptist Convention. Foreign Missions Board / Southern Baptist Convention. International Missions Board. SOLOMON databases.
USE CHROME. Firefox does not work properly. Scanned page images with searchable fulltext interface from Foreign Mission Board periodicals, 1845-1970. Includes Southern Baptist Missionary Journal (1846-1851), The Commission (1849-1970), Home and Foreign Journal (1851-1874), Foreign Mission Journal (1874-1916), and Home and Foreign Fields (1916-1937). Other SOLOMON databases include FMB board meeting minutes (1845-1979), FMB annual reports (1846-1953), searchable transcripts of missionary accounts of Liberia and Sierra Leone (1846-1881), and Lottie Moon's correspondence from China.
Location: IMB Archives web
International Mission Photography Archive University of Southern California Libraries.
A very large collection of digitized missionary photographs, ca. 1860- ca. 1960.
Location: USC Libraries web

We are trying to identify likely lenders for these:

Papers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
A subset of the United Church of Christ missionary collection held at Harvard. Unit 2, Letters from missionaries to Africa, 1834-1919, covers missions in South Africa, Gabon, Angola, and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). See the digital guide at Gale Cengage web and the more detailed finding aid prepared for the complete archival collection at Houghton Library, Harvard University web.