|Description||When incoming papers from the North-West America Mission arrived at the CMS UK office ['CMS headquarters'], they were copied into mission books, so that a legible copy was available for the use of the committee in London. Most of the mission books have an index of names and/or subjects. The later volumes include copies of incoming papers from the CMS North Pacific Mission as well as the North-West America Mission; this is indicated at file level.|
A numbering system was begun in 1820 with documents being numbered in the order in which they arrived, the numbering for each year running from May to April in line with the committee year. From 1822 to 1834, they are numbered but not entered in numerical order and from 1835 to October 1861 they are not numbered but are entered in order of receipt. There is some confusion in the ordering up to April 1862; some items from September 1860 onwards can be found entered after October 1861. From January 1868 until October 1880, numbered items are entered in strict order.
The mission books consist of gatherings bound into volumes. The copying clerks in London wrote gathering by gathering, so that the handwriting and the individual items are split between gatherings or even in the middle of a word in the middle of a page [for example, CMS/B/OMS C1 M4, p417].
Incoming papers received 1820-1849:
The letters and journals from 1820 to those received May 1849, are copied out in full. Financial papers [as distinct from finance letters] and printed papers are not copied out in full but a brief note is made recording when they were received.
Incoming papers received 1849-1876:
From 1849 onwards only letters are copied out in full.
Annual Letters from those for 1871/2 onwards, are entered in full at the back of the mission books, either copied out or, if printed, pasted or sewn in. The Annual Letters are a yearly account by missionaries of their activities; they cover a period from August to July.