|Administrative History||The Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) was founded in 1880 when it separated from the interdenominational Indian Female Normal School Society founded 1852. 'Zenana' comes from the Persian word for woman; in India it refers both to the women's quarters in a Hindu home and has the more general meaning 'belonging to women'. The zenana was accessible only to women and the CEZMS was predominantly staffed and supported by women and girls, and worked through women missionaries (source: CEZ/G/EA 5F). Its main aim was to evangelise the women of India by means of normal schools [teacher training colleges], zenana visiting, medical missions, Hindu and Muslim female schools and the employment of Bible Women. From the start, CEZMS worked in close co-operation with the Church Missionary Society (CMS), for example, in deciding where to extend work overseas, sending missionaries to work in CMS mission areas and in sharing some candidates' facilities; the two Societies also shared local overseas secretaries and had a joint Women's Committee. In 1957 CEZMS amalgamated with CMS although a board of trustees continued to administer the transfer of property and trust funds until 1968. |
The overseas work of the Society started in India but spread to China in 1884, Japan in 1886 and Ceylon in 1889. Work in China ended in 1950 when the missionaries had to leave, but from 1952 they worked amongst the Chinese in Malay. When the Society's work in Japan ceased in 1892 it was handed over to CMS. When the Female Education Society (founded 1843) closed down in 1900, CEZMS took over their work in Singapore, though the Singapore School Sub-Committee (Secretary 1904-1912 Lady Gage Brown; 1913 Miss E. Gage Brown) was not fully integrated until 1913. CEZMS missionaries began teaching in zenanas and day schools. The chief stations were Trivandrum, Palamcotta (Sarah Tucker College), Masulipatam and Madras in South India, Meerut (handed over to CMS 1893), Jabalpur, Calcutta (Normal School) and Amritsar (Alexandra School) in North India. Medical work was of great importance. The Society had taken over the work at Amritsar (St Catherine's Hospital) and other hospitals and dispensaries were established in Bhagalpur, Srinagar, Peshawar (Connaught Hospital), Batala, Narowal and Tarn Taran. Work was also done by 'village missions', a central village from which evangelists visited dozens of villages grouped around the centre. The chief places for these in the 1880s were Jandiala, Ajnala, Narowal, Tarn Taran and Nadiya. Industrial work was begun in 1883 with a class at Amritsar. There was also work amongst the 'deaf and dumb' in India (at Palamcotta from 1900, Mylapore from 1914) and amongst the blind in China at Kucheng, and Nantai, Foochow. Source: Rosemary A. Keen, Catalogue of the papers of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, 1987.
Work at home focussed on supporting the missionaries and their work overseas: directly, through recruitment, training, on-going support, liaison with mission stations and overseas stakeholders, fundraising and promotional work (exhibitions, deputations, conferences, and publication); indirectly, by working through networks of local Associations, Working Parties, Unions and individual supporters ('friends') in England, Ireland, Wales, Belgium, France, Italy, Australia and Tasmania, New Zealand and Canada. Associations acted as the official representative of the Society at a local level; they fundraised, promoted the work of the Society by disseminating CEZMS literature, organising local conferences, exhibitions and deputation work and kept local members in touch with headquarters. Working Parties made work for sale, organised gifts to be sent out to mission stations etc. By the late 1890s, supporters in Ireland had founded the Hibernian Auxiliary of the CEZMS. The Society's 'Mothers' Own Missionary Scheme', launched in 1900, encouraged members of Mother's Meetings and similar groups to raise funds to support special CEZMS 'Mothers Own Missionaries' who in turn kept in touch with the groups through twice yearly letters circulated as printed leaflets. The Society encouraged support in the form of prayer and a Fellowship of Intercession was established whose members responded to specific requests from missionaries in the Field for 'converts, enquirers and others, in urgent need of prayer' and those with whom they were working. The Daybreak Worker's Union (Girls Guild 1908; Girls Auxiliary 1921) had its own library, stamp fund and a department for copying letters from missionaries; it supported its 'Own Missionary' and published 'Daybreak' (a quarterly periodical for girls) and 'Terminal letter to Girls' (for schools who joined the Union). A junior branch was established under the name 'Torchbearers'. The industrial work of the Society overseas was supported by the Indian Widows' Union 1889-1946/1947. This was an independent group but worked in connection with the CEZMS. It operated through a central committee and local 'bands' of English widows. The aim of the Union was to support Hindu and 'Muhammadan' widows by raising funds to establish industrial schools and support vocational training initiatives, by helping to dispose of work produced through the industrial schools and by pursuing other means of promoting the widows' welfare. The Society's Editorial Department produced a number of printed leaflets and publications to support and promote the activities of its home network, including 'Hints to Helpers' for people wishing to establish or reorganise Working Parties and the quarterly periodical 'Homes of the East' intended for circulation to members of Mothers' Meetings, local Bible classes and similar groups. Source: CEZMS literature and printed Annual Reports.
The first headquarters of the Society was at 38 Tavistock Road, Westbourne Park, London. It served both as office and residential base for missionaries on leave, prospective candidates, deputation workers, members of the annual Spring conference and other visitors. In 1881 the office moved to 9 Salisbury Square, while the Central Home and Depot for work moved in 1883 to 5 Maresfield Gardens, Fitzjohn Avenue, Hampstead. The office subsequently moved to 27 Chancery Lane, 1898-1929; 19 and 21 Southampton Street (renamed Conway Street 1938), 1929-1952, and Cromwell House, Highgate, 1952-57. The Home was at Manor House, 20 Leigh Road, Highbury 1888-1938, The Lodge, Gibson's Hill, Streatham (sold to Croydon corporation) 1938-1951, and Cromwell House, 1952-1957.
CEZMS office organisation was very similar to that of CMS. The Society was run by committees, each Secretary of the main committees being head of a department at Headquarters. The Clerical Secretary served the General and Executive Committees which were responsible overall for Society affairs. He was also in charge of the Editorial Department. The Lay, or Financial, Secretary was responsible for the raising of funds and all financial and property matters. The Foreign and Candidates Secretary corresponded with the missionaries and churches overseas and was responsible for recruiting and training candidates. In 1952 her title was changed to Foreign and Home Secretary and she additionally took responsibility for the House (Home and Depot) Committee (previously served by the Lady Superintendent of the Home) as well as the Home Organisation Committee.
Secretary: 1880-1891 James Stuart; 1880-1897 Colonel G. R. Stewart Black; 1894-1897 Major General C. G. Robinson.
Clerical Secretary (General Secretary): 1889-1907 Reverend George Tonge; 1908-1912 Reverend C. H. Stileman; 1912-1916 Reverend H. P. Napier-Clavering; 1917-1919 Reverend C. E. Paterson; 1919-1929 Reverend Douglas H. G. Sargent; 1930-1939 Reverend A. J. Mortimore; 1940-1944 Reverend J. P. Heaton; 1945-1957 Reverend J. Bates.
Lay Secretary (Financial Secretary): 1880-1891 Mrs James Stuart; 1891-1897 Colonel R. F. Lowis; 1898-1901 R. G. Macdonald; 1902-1904 J. B. Braddon; 1905-1919 H. L. Hebbert; 1919 R. Swinburne; 1920-1924 Colonel A. H. van Straubenzee; 1925-1927 Major J. A. McQueen; 1928-1946 Major C. J. Everard; 1947-1957 Colonel C. D. O. Pugh.
Central Association Secretary (Home Organisation Committee): 1881-1909 Miss Mulvany; 1910-1913 Miss L. M. H. Nash; 1914-1919 Miss E. M. Plumptre; 1920-1935 Miss M. E. Pell; 1936-1949 Miss R. B. Rhodes; 1950-1951 Miss Enock; 1952 joined with Foreign and Candidates Secretary.
Editor and Superintendent of Publication Department (Secretary to Publication Committee): 1895-1898 Miss Dona Woolmer; 1898-1901 Miss Irene H. Barnes; 1902-1905 Miss J. S. Jameson; 1906-1910 Miss M. Cave; 1911-1912 Miss C. H. Tod; 1913-1915 Miss M. C. Outram; 1916-1919 Miss Lilian Seeley; 1920-1924 Mrs Hanson; 1925 Miss L. G. Dowdall; 1926-1949 Miss A. M. Robinson; 1950-1952 Miss M. D. Morris; 1952 Department closed.
Secretary to Candidates Committee: 1880-1901 Mrs Sandys; 1902-1905 Mrs Tonge; 1906-1907 Miss L. S. Bayley.
Foreign and Candidates Secretary (Foreign and Home Secretary 1952): 1908-1915 Miss A. M. L. Smith; 1916-1923 Miss M. I. Millner; 1924-1937 Miss C. Priscilla Smith; 1938-1957 Miss Winifred M. Chapman.
House (Home and Depot) Committee: Secretary: Lady Superintendent: 1882-1891 Miss Cockle; 1892-1897 Miss Turner; 1898-1916 Mrs Bardsley; 1917-1919 Miss E. S. Tiley; 1919 Miss E. Wilson; 1920-1923 Miss C. Priscilla Smith; 1924-1952 Miss A. E. West; 1952 Committee closed.
In addition to the main committees in London, the Society maintained contact with its field workers at home and abroad through a network of officers and committees. Mission stations overseas had a local office and an Honorary Corresponding Secretary. Local 'home' based Associations had a Secretary (generally appointed by Headquarters) who served as the main point of contact with London. The Daybreak Workers' Union operated through 'bands' of local workers each with their own Secretary (from 1921 the Union became autonomous and elected its own committee). The Hibernian Auxiliary worked through an all female Committee and a Consultative Council of clergy and laity. Source: printed Annual Reports.
|Custodial History||The Records of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society passed into the custody of the Church Mission Society (formerly Church Missionary Society) on the amalgamation of the two societies and were subsequently retained as part of the wider Church Missionary Society Archive. |
|Copies||Almost all of this collection is available on microfilm and online. The only materials that are open for consultation in the Cadbury Research Library but not available either on microfilm or online, are: artefacts (CEZ/G EL8 and CEZ/H Z3); two fragile guard book volumes (CEZ/G/EA 1/3-4) and ten of the books (CEZ/G/EL 1/6/18; /19; /21; /25; /42; /65; /83; /83a; /89; /99). |
With just a few exceptions, all of the materials in this collection that are open for research were micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications Ltd as part of a major project to micropublish records from the Church Missionary Society Archive.
The microfilming was in two parts. In 1997, microfilms of periodicals from the collection were released under the title 'Church Missionary Society Archive: Section II: Missions to Women, Parts 1-3'. In the following year, other records were micropublished as 'Church Missionary Society Archive: Section I: East Asia Missions, Parts 4-9'.
The Missions to Women microfilm comprises copies of periodicals from Interserve, London as well as those in the Records of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society held by Cadbury Research Library and includes a more extensive set of 'The Indian Female Evangelist' and successor titles than are held in the CEZMS archive.
Copies of the microfilms have been purchased by libraries and other institutions around the world. The full text of the printed guides to the microfilm are available online through the Adam Matthew Publications website at http://www.ampltd.co.uk/ and paper copies of the guides are also available in Cadbury Research Library.
Reference copies of the microfilms are available in Cadbury Research Library in microfilm drawers E2, E3, E4, E5, E7 and E8.
Apart from a few issues of 'The Indian Female Evangelist', digital copies of all of the materials which were micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications are also available online through the website of Adam Matthew Digital. Released as: 'Research Source - Church Missionary Society Archive: Missions to Women', 'Research Source - Church Missionary Society Archive: East Asia Missions', 'Church Missionary Society Periodicals' and 'Empire Online'.
The digitally published materials can be seen online by members of, and visitors to, the University of Birmingham and other institutions that subscribe to the Adam Matthew products. All visitors who have registered for a Cadbury Research Library Reader ticket can view the online copies on the public access computers in the Cadbury Research Library Reading Room. Staff and students of the University of Birmingham may also access the products when off campus by logging in to the University’s eResources through FindIt@Bham.
Links to the Adam Matthew Digital copies are given in the URL field of the online catalogue (added September-October, 2021). You will only be able to open the digital copy if you are authorised to use the Adam Matthew products. To find out more about how to access records through Adam Matthew Digital, or to request a free trial, go to https://www.amdigital.co.uk/.