Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/ACC78
TitleAccession 78: Papers of James Frederick Schon
Extent68 docs., 1 vol.
Datec 1850-1893
DescriptionThis collection comprises papers of James Frederick Schon, CMS missionary, particularly concerning his translation work. It includes letters he received from CMS headquarters, from native clergy in West Africa and from colleagues and friends. It also includes a translation of the gospel of St Matthew into Hausa
ArrangementThis collection forms part of the Church Mission Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into one series: Family Papers.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection (forming part of the wider CMS/ACC unofficial papers catalogue) is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryJames Frederick Schon (b c 1802) of Ober Weiler, Baden, Germany attended the Basel Seminary and, in 1831, the Church Missionary Society College. He was ordained a deacon in 1831 and priest in 1832 when he went to Sierra Leone in 1832. He accompanied the first Niger Expedition 1841. His connection with the CMS ceased in 1853 after 20 years service. He was renowned for his African linguistic work, particularly in Hausa, and he continued to be engaged in this work after ceasing to be a missionary. He was the author of numerous works including Journal of the Niger Expedition (1842); Vocabulary and Elements of Grammar of the Haussa Language (1843); Translations of Genesis, Exodus, the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles into the Haussa Language (1857-1861); Grammar of the Haussa Language (1862); Dictionary of the Haussa Language (1876). In 1848 he became chaplain to the Melville Hospital, Chatham. In 1877 he was awarded the Volney Prize for his linguistic work and in 1884 received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. He died at Chatham 30 March 1889. Schon married Anne Elizabeth Nylander in 1835 who died in Sierra Leone 5 Nov 1837. In 1839 he married Cordelia Irving who died the following year. On 5 February 1841 he married Catherine White (nee Drake), the widow of James White CMS missionary. Catherine survived her husband dying 26 Oct 1892. One daughter, Annie Catherine married Edward Thomas Higgens, CMS missionary in Ceylon, in 1858.
Reference: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 (Church Missionary Society, 1905
Custodial HistoryPresented to the CMS by a member of the Schon family in 1948; transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s
Related MaterialThe Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers includes another collection of papers of James Frederick Schon, including correspondence and the incomplete original of Schon's journal of the first Niger expedition in 1841 (GB 0150 CMS/ACC728). The Special Collections Department also holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society (GB 0150 CMS), which includes papers relating to Schon's service as a CMS missionary


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