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Willoughby, William Charles

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 CWM/LMS Africa Personal Boxes 4, 6
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Willoughby, William Charles
Date(s): 1883-1939
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Willoughby | William Charles | 1857-1938 | missionary


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born at Redruth, Cornwall, England, 1857; studied at Spring Hill Theological College, Birmingham; appointed by the London Missionary Society (LMS) to central Africa and ordained as a Congregational minister, 1882; returned home with malaria, 1883; resumed study at Spring Hill; minister in Perth, Scotland, 1885-1887; married Charlotte Elizabeth Pountney (d 1940), 1885; engaged in deputation work for the LMS, 1887-1889; minister in Brighton, 1889-1892; appointed LMS missionary to the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana), 1892; went to Palapye to work among the Bamangwato of the Christian chief Khama (Kgama) III, 1893; accompanied Khama and other chiefs, Bathoen and Sebele, to England to help them oppose Cecil Rhodes's demands for administrative rights over the Protectorate, 1895; a member of the South African Native Races Committee, London, 1900-1908; removed with the Bamangwato tribe to Serowe, 1903; appointed first principal of the proposed LMS Central School for Bechuanaland, 1903; established the school, named the Tiger Kloof Native Institution, on a farm near Vryburg in the Cape Colony; local correspondent of the Royal Anthropological Society from 1905; gave evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of the Cape of Good Hope, 1908; resigned as principal of Tiger Kloof owing to ill-health, 1915; responsible for Molepolole mission, 1914-1917; visited Australia and New Zealand on an LMS deputation, 1917; returned to England via America, 1918; Professor of African Missions, Kennedy School of Missions of Hartford Seminary, Conneticut, USA, 1919-1931; elected Vice-President of the Fourth International Congregational Council, 1920; awarded honorary doctorate of sacred theology, Hartford Seminary, on his retirement, 1931; settled in England; Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; died in Birmingham, 1938. Publications include: Native Life on the Transvaal Border (1900); Tiger Kloof (1912); Race Problems in the New Africa (1923); The Soul of the Bantu: a Sympathetic Study of the Magico-Religious Practices and Beliefs of the Bantu Tribes of Africa (1928); Nature Worship and Taboo (1932).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, 1883-1939, of and relating to William Charles Willoughby, comprising sketches of Urambo, 1883; photographic negative of Mirambo, king of Urambo; building accounts, 1894, 1897; correspondence, 1897-1904, 1917, 1923-1924, relating to his missionary work and writing, comprising letters received and copies of letters sent; pass for travel, 1900; invitation, 1900; various undated typescript and manuscript notes by Willoughby, some for sermons and addresses, others including information about Africa and Tiger Kloof; The Congregationalist, Jan 1914, publishing a speech by Willoughby; undated article by Willoughby in a London Missionary Society (LMS) newsletter; miscellaneous photographs of people and scenes in Africa; sketch map, undated; press cuttings, 1924-1932, of articles by Willoughby and reviews of his books on race relations in Africa and African beliefs and customs; correspondence and papers relating to Willoughby and Tiger Kloof, 1938-1939 and undated, including press cuttings.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The papers were deposited with the London Missionary Society and form part of the special series of personal papers of individual LMS missionaries and officers.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the London Missionary Society by the Congregational Council for World Mission (later Council for World Mission) in 1973.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the London Missionary Society (Ref: CWM/LMS), including letters from individual missionaries, among them Willoughby (Ref: CWM/LMS Central Africa Incoming Correspondence); his candidate's papers (Ref: CWM/LMS Candidates' Papers Box 17 No 42); reports by Willoughby in Bechuanaland, 1895, 1902, 1908-1917 (Ref: CWM/LMS South Africa Reports Box 2 File 30, Box 3 File 37, Box 4 Files 43-4, 45, 47-51); photographs of William and Charlotte Willoughby and contemporary scenes, some taken by William Willoughby and appearing in his Native Life on the Transvaal Border (Ref: CWM/LMS Africa Photographs passim); photographs of William and Charlotte Willoughby and their family (Ref: CWM/LMS General Portraits Box 6); and other papers relating to Tiger Kloof (Ref: CWM/LMS Africa Miscellaneous Boxes 19-28).

Birmingham University Information Services, Orchard Learning Resources Centre, holds 29 boxes of Willoughby's papers, 1874-1936, comprising files of general papers, bibliographic papers, papers relating to his evidence for the Commission on the Uniformity of Discipline in Native Churches in South Africa, and miscellaneous material (Ref: DA 49). Other papers are held at Mansfield College Oxford; the Hartford Seminary Library, Connecticut, USA; and at archives in Botswana.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed Gerald H Anderson (1998); LMS Register of Missionaries, ed James Sibree; National Register of Archives; Birmingham University Information Services online archive catalogue at

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2002

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