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Hill, David

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MMS/Special Series/Biographical/China/FBN 24-29 (Boxes 630-636)
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Hill, David
Date(s): 1822-1917
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 boxes
Name of creator(s): Hill | David | 1840-1896 | Methodist missionary in China


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in York, England, 1840; trained at the theological college, Richmond; ordained as a Wesleyan Methodist minister; posted to the Central China mission field, based in Wuchang, Hupeh (Hubei) province; sailed to China, 1864; visited Japan for health reasons, but returned to missionary work in China; his single status made him more mobile than most Protestant missionaries; with a few other missionaries, including the Baptist Timothy Richard, engaged in famine relief work in Shansi (Shanxi) province, 1878-c1880; the experience expanded Hill's ministry in terms of social vision and ecumenism; instrumental in the conversion of Hsi Sheng-mo (Xi Shengmo, d 1896), who was to become an important independent pastor, 1879; visited England, 1881-1882; influential in recruiting other missionaries to China; established a hospital and homes for the aged, the blind, and orphans; helped to found the Central China Religious Tract Society; his evangelistic work extended outside the boundaries of existing Methodist circuits in China, resulting in the formation of the Central China Lay Mission, of which he became superintendent; chairman of the Central China Lay Mission, 1885; elected a member of the Legal Conference, 1888; played a central role in the Shanghai missionary conference as English president, 1891; appointed deputy to the British consul in the investigation into a riot at Wusueh, 1891; attended the Ecumenical Conference in Washington, 1891; visited England, 1891-1893; died of typhus fever at Hankow, 1896. Publication: Mission Work in Central China: a letter to Methodist young men (1882).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, 1822-1917, of and relating to the Rev David Hill, including journals, 1865-1889 (some gaps); Hill's notes, sermons and addresses, 1863-1875 and undated, including some lantern slides, the subjects including the Old Testament, missionary work, China, including the opium trade and Chinese literature, and Hill's visit to America; letters from Hill to various members of his family, 1847-1896, and other correspondents, 1873-1895; various letters, 1847-1917, some to Hill, but including miscellaneous others; photographs of Hill and other subjects, including Chinese costumes; books belonging to Hill, 1857-1895, such as Bibles, a prayerbook, and hymnbooks; woodcut for visiting card; correspondence and papers, 1858-1897 and undated, some printed, relating to missionary work and other affairs in China, including anti-foreign riots, 1891; papers, 1877-1881 and undated, relating to the opium trade; Central China Lay Mission cash book, 1894-1899; printed papers, 1822-1917, including material relating to missionary work in China and to Methodism, including Methodism in York.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and Chinese

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Unrestricted, but only to be viewed on microfiche.

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 Methodist Missionary Society and form part of the special series of biographical papers of individual missionaries.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the Methodist Missionary Society from 1978.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (Ref: MMS/WMMS), including Hill's official correspondence (Ref: MMS/WMMS China Correspondence).

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); Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan Methodist Ministers (1892); Wesleyan Methodist Church Minutes of Conference (1896, pp 47-9); British Library OPAC.

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:
Mar 2002

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