Collection 72 [February 6, 2001]
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; 1701-1965
7 Reels of Microfilm
Copyright is retained by and permission to quote must be secured from:The Archivist
From the beginning of English colonization, a need for spiritual guidance for colonists and missionary work among natives was perceived by church leaders, but performance fell short of the hazily perceived goals. In 1675, an official inquiry was undertaken by the Church of England, but it was not until 1698 that the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge was formed, and even then, its scope was limited. In 1701, a special committee was appointed by the Lower House of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury to inquire into "ways and means for Promoting Christian Religion in our Foreign Plantations." This committee sent a petition to King William III, who returned a charter founding the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. A summation of the Society's achievements in its far-flung mission empire in North-Central-South America, the West Indies, Africa, Asia, Australia, India, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe, through the close of the nineteenth century can be found in The Encyclopedia of Missions (New York: Fund and Wagnalls, 1904 [BGC LIBRARY (now Evangelism & Missions Collection of the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collection) Ref BV 2040 E53]).
In 1965, the S.P.G. merged with the Universities' Mission to Central Africa to form the United
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In the last years of its operation as an independent
entity, the S.P.G. worked with an annual budget of over two million dollars.
Scope and Content
The microfilm in this collection consists solely of the bound volumes of published material that
appeared under the auspices of the S.P.G. between 1701 and 1844. Each reel is entitled "Annual
Reports and Sermons." In addition to these types of documents, Reel 1 is prefaced by a printed
copy of William III's royal charter incorporating the S.P.G. in 1701, and by printed instructions
for the clergy, ca. 1706. The early volumes of material are simply periodic binding, in
chronological order, of pamphlet sermons preached by S.P.G. missionaries in the field and
reports. Toward the end of the series, each volume is a regular annual publication and contains
reports and sermons published in tandem as an entity.
The materials for this collection were purchased by the Center.
No accession number
October 9, 1980
Galen R. Wilson
Retyped, May 21, 1987
No accession number
Type of Material: Microfilm
The following items are located in the CENTER LIBRARY MICROFILM ROOM.
Reel 1 - Charter, Instructions; Annual Reports and Sermons, 1701-1739
Reel 2 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1739-1768
Reel 3 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1768-1793
Reel 4 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1793-1821
Reel 5 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1821-1828
Reel 6 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1828-1834
Reel 7 - Annual Reports and Sermons, 1834-1844