Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)DA4
TitleRecords of the Basel Mission
Extent26 boxes
DescriptionThis collection comprises copies of 'Rundbriefe', circular letters of missionaries of the Basel Mission, sent from countries including Cameroon, India, Borneo, Ghana, China, Gold Coast and South Africa, Hong Kong
ArrangementIt is organised geographically by country; within countries, individual 'Rundbriefe' are filed alphabetically by name of missionary
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers.
Finding AidsThis is a preliminary description and will be enhanced at a future date. For further information please contact Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryThe German Missionary Society (subsequently the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society) was founded in 1815. Now known as the Basel Mission, it is one of the biggest and oldest German speaking Protestant missionary societies and was international and interdenominational from the beginning. The society opened an institution for training missionaries in 1816 and was initially involved in training people from the British and Dutch mission societies which were already engaged in evangelistic work. The largest number of missionaries was supplied to the Church Missionary Society. The Basel Mission Society also began to establish centres of its own, in Western Russia and then the Gold Coast area in West Africa (1828), in India (1834), China (1847), Cameroon (1886), Borneo (1921), Nigeria (1951) and Latin America and the Sudan (1972-73).

Part of its mission activities took the form of the pioneering programmes to provide employment and these industrial activities included the establishment of a printing press, a weaving industry and tile manufacturing. It also undertook medical missionary work.

Since the Second World War, the overseas work of the Basel Mission has been conducted in partnership with local autonomous churches. About 40 members are now working overseas, as pastors in parish work and training, doctors, nurses, mid-wives and medical-technical personnel, social workers, teachers, adult education staff, agriculturalists, construction experts, technicians and administrative staff. The mission has relations with churches and Christian organisations principally in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sudan, Zaire, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Since 2000, it has been a member of a new association of missions under the banner of "mission 21", created at the Basel Mission House.

Sources: web site of the EMS (Evangelisches Missionswerk in Suedwestdeutschland /Association of
Churches and Missions in South Western Germany) Accessed May 2002
Custodial HistoryThis collection was formerly held by the Selly Oak Colleges Library although its original provenance is unknown. It was transferred to the Orchard Learning Resources Centre which was opened in 1997 following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges Library and the Westhill College Library. In 2000, the custodianship of all archive collections held at the Orchard Learning Resources Centre was transferred to the University of Birmingham
Related MaterialSpecial Collections, University of Birmingham, also holds the Church Missionary Society collection (CMS) which includes correspondence between the Society and the Basel Mission and records of missionaries who were recruited from the Basel institution. Records of former Basel students can also be found in the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers (CMS/ACC).
Associated MaterialsEarlier records of the Basel Mission can be found online at
Other copies of 'Rundbriefe' are held elsewhere