Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/C2
Title'British Columbia Mission'
DescriptionRecords of the British Columbia Mission (initially 'North Pacific Mission'). compiled by the committees of the CMS Overseas Division, London.

Comprising papers under the Committee of Correspondence 1856-1880, and under the East Asia (initially 'Group 1') Committee 1881-1925. Including incoming correspondence from the mission to CMS, London 1856-1925, outgoing correspondence from the CMS in London to the mission c 1856-1925, office copies of the incoming correspondence 1856-1876, and office summaries of the incoming correspondence 1881-1925.

The letter-books and mission books under the Committee of Correspondence and the individual letter-books under the East Asia (Group 1) Committee include records of the North-West Canada Mission (known as the 'North-West America Mission' before 1896) as well as records of the British Columbia (North Pacific) Mission.
NotesWork is underway to address outdated, discriminatory, and offensive language in finding aids used by the Cadbury Research Library, and to improve accessibility of the CMS online catalogue in line with current standards (2024).
ArrangementThe clerks in the CMS London office working under the Committee of Correspondence used the same volumes for both of the CMS missions to what is now Canada. One set of individual letter-books, letter-books, and mission books contain the outgoing correspondence of the British Columbia (North Pacific) Mission and North-West Canada (America) Mission.
To a lesser extent, the same practice continued under the Group 1 Committee – there is only one set of individual letter-books for the missions to Canada. In the CMS Archive, these shared volumes are filed with the North-West Canada Mission papers [finding numbers CMS/B/OMS/C C1 and CMS/B/OMS/G1 C1].

Letter-books started under the Committee of Correspondence continued to be used for the first years under the Group 1 Committee.

Papers under the Committee of Correspondence are arranged as:

I: Individual letter-books (outgoing): [see CMS/B/OMS/C C1/I1-2]
L: Letter-books (outgoing): [see CMS/B/OMS/C C1/L2-4]
M: Mission books (incoming: copies): [see CMS/B/OMS/C C1/M6-10]
O: Original papers 1856-1880 (incoming)

Papers under the East Asia (Group 1) Committee are arranged as:

I: Individual letter-books (outgoing): [see CMS/B/OMS/G1 C1/I3-4]
L: Letter-books 1881-1925 (outgoing)
O: Original papers 1881-1925 (incoming)
P: Précis books 1881-1925 (incoming: summaries)
Access ConditionsDigital or microfilm copies are made available in place of the originals.
Finding AidsClick on the Finding Number to display the full online catalogue of the Overseas Division: mission series up to 1934, including the lower level entries for the British Columbia (North Pacific) Mission.

Alternatively, the original paper catalogues for the mission series can be consulted in the Cadbury Research Library and CMS (Oxford). The British Columbia (North Pacific) Mission papers are listed in the ‘East Asia (Group 1) Missions’ catalogue, volume one.

Guides to the Adam Matthew microfilm and digitally published copies are available online and in CMS (Oxford), Cadbury Research Library, and other subscribing institutions.
Access StatusOpen, but subject to some access restrictions
Administrative HistoryInitially called the 'North Pacific Mission' and renamed 'British Columbia Mission' in September 1896.

Following a suggestion by Captain Prevost in 1856, CMS sent William Duncan to begin work amongst the Tsimshean (also 'Ts'mysen') peoples in 1857. Duncan founded the village of 'Metlakatla' in 1862. The work then spread to 'Kincolith' (1866), 'Masset' (1876), 'Alert Bay' (1878), 'Hazelton' (1880), 'Giatwangak' (1882), 'Aiyansh' (1883),' Kitkatla' (1887) and 'Tahl Tan' (1898).

All CMS work was handed over to the Missionary Society of the Canadian Church in 1920.
Custodial HistoryPapers catalogued by Rosemary A. Keen, CMS 1982-1983. Copied to the University of Birmingham online archive catalogue by A. Needham, 2000. Revisions underway, I. Frlan, Cadbury Research Library, 2024.
CopiesAvailable on microfilm and online.

'Church Missionary Society Archive': Section V: Missions to the Americas, Part 4.
Publisher: Marlborough: Adam Matthew Publications, 2003.
Location in the Cadbury Research Library: microfilm drawers B3, B7 and B8.

Digital publication:
'AM Scholar-Church Missionary Society Archive': Missions to the Americas: British Columbia and North West America Mission papers
Publisher: Adam Matthew Digital.
Access: by institutional subscription: free to members of the University of Birmingham and visitors to the Cadbury Research Library and other subscribing institutions.
Microfilm in the Public Archives of Canada:

The original organisation of the papers under the overall superintendence of the Committee of Correspondence was divided into two chronological sequences. For the period before 1868 there were groups of papers relating to such matters as correspondence with bishops, medical certificates, indents and printed papers; there were also papers and journals for the individual missionaries and agents. From 1869 to 1880, the documents were arranged roughly in years in the order in which they were entered in the mission books. With no detailed indexes or finding aids, this arrangement is awkward and the first archivist (1951-53) decided to incorporate the 1869-80 documents in the pre-1868 method of arrangement. This re-arrangement had not been done for Canada when the bulk of the series (mainly pre-1990) was microfilmed in 1955 for the Public Archives of Canada, but had been completed by 1959 when the then archivist was appointed. The catalogue of the series now, therefore, bears no relationship to the order of the documents on the 1955 microfilm [as listed in the transcript of the film A-480 'CMS Finding Aid']*. Although an attempt has been made with the small British Columbia section to identify each individual item on the microfilm, the magnitude of the task has prevented a similar attempt being made for the North West Canada mission. Some items on the microfilm list were not found when the present catalogue was compiled.

*A copy of this was presented to the CMS Archives Office in 1965 by the Ecclesiastical Province Of Rupert's Land and may be consulted by researchers.


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