Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)DA29/1/2
TitleGeneral correspondence
Extent374 items
DescriptionPersonal correspondence and copy correspondence of Lesslie Newbigin, telegrams and telegram decyphers, airgraphs, printed material including circular correspondence of Newbigin as a Church of Scotland missionary, and reports of the Madras Mission of the Church of Scotland for 1944-1945. In addition, there is a small amount of correspondence of a more official nature.

The correspondence and papers originate from the time of Lesslie and Helen Newbigin's return voyage to India in Sep 1939, and relate to their settlement in Conjeeveram on Lesslie's appointment as district missionary. Much of the correspondence details the professional activities of Lesslie, his later managerial appointments for schools in the area, including his appointment to the Conjeeveram High School. The material relating to his missionary activities includes accounts of services, visits to outlaying regions, general impressions of the villagers and reflections upon broad Indian concerns including poverty and the caste system. In addition, there is material relating to his attendance at meetings (Mission Council, Church Council and General Assembly), general Church of Scotland mission affairs and, most importantly, the movement towards church union amongst the churches in South India, and Lesslie's eventual appointment to the Bishopric of Madura and Ramnad in 1947 in the newly formed Church of South India.

As the majority of the correspondence is from Lesslie to his fellow family members in England many of the letters relate to general family matters including the development of his three daughters, the health of his wife, parents, and sisters, and his personal affairs including his compensation claim for a leg injury he sustained on his previous stay in India. In addition, much of the correspondence is written during the second world war, and so contains general material relating to war time conditions in his home region of Tyneside, and the effects of the war in South India.

The correspondents include the parents, sisters and wife of Lesslie Newbigin, and professional and personal associates in Great Britain and India.


/21 Letter relating to local religious services, and the death of a local villager, including details of local mourning practices, Nov 1939;
/26 Letter containing Lesslie's reflections on the Indian caste system, Dec 1939;
/31 Letter relating to general affairs including a visit to a Jain temple in Tiruparettikunram, Jan 1940;
/56 Letter from Nancy relating to the health of their father, and war time experiences in England, including the internment of German and Austrian men in Tyneside, May 1940;
/57 The second page of this letter was previously attached to DA29/1/2/61 in error
/61 Letter relating to the death of Lesslie's father; a second page of this letter has now been replaced with its rightful first page at DA29/1/2/57
/71 Letter relating to Lesslie's tomato, poultry and vegetable growing schemes which he established in local villages, Sep 1940;
/81 Letter containing details of an epidemic in the Conjeeveram region, Dec 1940;
/91 Letter relating to the success of a study group for Hindus and Christians established in Conjeeveram, Mar 1941;
/119, 130-167 Print-outs of microfilm copies of letters, Mar 1942-Jan 1945 [Note: numbers 120-129 either not used or now wanting]
/133 Letter relating to the evacuation of Madras due to a war scare, and an annual summer school in Walajabad, May 1942;
/183 Letter relating to a Student Christian Movement camp held at Varkala, Aug 1952;
/204-218 Correspondence relating to attempts to ensure the safe return of wives of German missionaries to Germany from Japan, Jan 1945-Aug 1946;
/240 Letter relating to riots in Conjeeveram, Mar 1946;
/263-275 Correspondence relating to the church union scheme, Nov 1946-Feb 1947;
/305-374 Correspondence, telegrams, and telegram decyphers from personal and professional associates in Great Britain and India, and family members, congratulating Lesslie on his appointment to the bishopric of Madura and Ramnad, Feb-Sep 1947
ArrangementThe correspondence is arranged in chronological order, as found
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionThis file was previously numbered 1/2/1-304. It contains some fragile sheets


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