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Collection 072 Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Identifier: CN 072

Scope and Contents

Microfilm edition of the published reports, sermons, and miscellaneous documents that were issued under the auspices of the S.P.G. office in London. Sporadic gatherings of pamphlets arranged chronologically in earlier years; regular annual publications in later years. Subjects covered include missionary activity in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

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.


  • Created: 1701-1844

Conditions Governing Access

The copyright to the materials in this collection is retained by the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and permission to quote, publish, or distribute the materials in any way must be secured from the rights holder.

Historical Information

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).

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.


7.00 Reels of microfilm

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were purchased by the Billy Graham Center Archives.

No accession number

October 9, 1980

Galen R. Wilson

S. Kouns

Collection 072 Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Eighteenth Century Handwriting

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US