Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/ACC928
TitleAccession 928: Papers of John Guy Bookless
Extent2 boxes
DescriptionA small collection of personal papers of Rev J. G. Bookless, CMS missionary in North and South India 1953-1972, Anglican clergyman and lecturer. Largely comprising an incomplete sequence of pocket diaries dated 1942-1982. Although brief, and written with many abbreviations, the diary entries provide an insight into the pattern of Rev Bookless' day to day life spanning the period from student days through missionary training and active service as a missionary, to the decade following the end of his service with CMS in which he returned to minister in the UK. They include names of people and places visited, contact addresses, and working notes, for example, a list of what he took with him on his first trip out to India in 1953. The diaries written whilst he was serving as a CMS missionary continue during periods of furlough in the UK.

The collection also includes a few photographs taken in India, nd [mid 20th century]; a postcard about the Christian painter Vinayak Masoji; a Christmas card illustrated with a photograph of Bishop's College Chapel [Calcutta, India] dated 1958; a notebook in which Bookless recorded walks and activities undertaken during school holidays 1932-1933; and a Collins' pocket New Testament.
ArrangementThis collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
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.
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionA packet of Anacin medicine, found in the pocket at the front of the 1953 diary, was placed in a sealed pouch during accessioning to protect the contents and prevent access (content not to be removed from the pouch). Some of the diaries show signs of water damage and have covers which are partially detached; several of the pages in the notebook are loose.
Administrative HistoryRev (John) Guy Bookless (d 2006), graduated with an MA from Cambridge and underwent missionary training with the CMS at Liskeard Lodge. Having been accepted as a missionary in 1952, he sailed for North East India in 1953 where he was based at Bhagalpur (1953) and later Calcutta (1961) before moving to Mysore, South India (1966). In 1961 he married Rosemary Harris, BA London, a missionary with the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) later CMS, who went out to Bhagalpur under CEZMS in 1957. He lectured at Bishop's College, Bengal, Calcutta 1961-1965 and, from 1966, at United Theological College, Bangalore, Mysore, South India and was CMS representative of the local diocese 1959/60 and 1970/71-1971/72.

After returning to the UK, Bookless and his wife and children lived in Painswick, East Sussex (1972) and then moved to St Albans, Herts, (1973-1976) where he served as a curate before ministering as a vicar in Harlow, Essex (1977-1979) and Wysall, Nottinghamshire (early 1980s). He continued his interest in teaching into retirement, lecturing at St Johns College, Nottingham after moving to Loughborough in 1985.

He was the author of 'Spotlight on India' 1961 and 'Spotlight on North India' 1966 (published as part of the People and Places series, London: Highway Press).

Sources: the records; CMS Annual Report, Year Book and name card index; alumni pages of Clare College, University of Cambridge website at ( last checked August 2014).
Archival NoteFonds level entry prepared by I. Frlan, August 2012; fully catalogued by J. Childs, August 2014.
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections holds the official archive of the Church Missionary Society (GB 0150 CMS) which includes records relating to Rev Bookless' service as a CMS missionary and the archives of St John's College, Nottingham (GB 0150 SJC).


    Some of our most significant collections