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Biographical Note

Scope and Content


Preferred Citation

Restrictions on Access

Subject Terms

Container List [ + ]

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Guide to the Herbert Cookman Withey Papers

Prepared by Robert Drew Simpson, Assistant Archivist, and Mark C. Shenise, Associate Archivist.

United Methodist Archives and History Center
General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church


Overview of Collection

Record Creator: Withey, Herbert Cookman
Title: Herbert Cookman Withey Collection
Date Span: 1891-1939
Abstract: Herbert Cookman Withey was a missionary to Angola. The collection is made up of material relating to his work in Angola.
Extent: 1.64 cubic feet
Resource ID: gcah.ms.2327

Biographical Note

Herbert Cookman Withey (1873-1937) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on June 8, 1873. At twelve, he went with his parents, Amos E. and Irene Withey, to the interior of Angola, with the original Bishop William Taylor party in 1885. From his early youth he, like his parents, was devoted to mission work. Withey combined evangelistic, educational, and industrial service in his Christian ministry to the Angolans. He learned the local languages and translated Pilgrims Progress, the catechism, the Discipline, the Psalms, and the New Testament into those languages. At the time of his death on February 9, 1937, he was working on a translation of the New Testament.

Scope Note

The Herbert Cookman Withey papers comprise a series of diaries and journals, correspondence, photographs and assorted magazines containing articles authored by Withey and others which afford an intimate view of the Angolan work. They represent a rich resource for studying the cultural, historic, economic and religious climates on the mission field. Place names that are mentioned include Kalundo, Sengue, Nhangue, Kamongua, Dondo, and Pampas. There is a useful description of his work on Quionga station and the resurgence of Roman Catholicism in the area. There is information about a missionary's program while on furlough, notes on Withey's work in the continuing translation of the Scriptures into the Kimbundu language, the effect of his ministry upon an African village and the effect of the Great Depression upon the mission work.

Withey provides much useful information concerning the Angolan mission and related topics. This is documented in a large collection of photos depicting mission facilities and missionaries. Withey's materials also include articles, clippings and photos. They greatly enhance the resources for learning of the Angola mission personal matters and finance while revealing the hardships and sacrifices made by missionaries and their families.


Materials have been arranged in the following manner.

The Herbert C. Withey collection is arranged in four categories. The first section contains his Diaries and Journals. In the second section is the correspondence which includes a variety of letters, some from him as well as letters from others to him. The third section contains publications from magazines which were either written by Withey or written about him. The final section holds an array of photographs which are divided into two parts. The first is a collection of family photos, and the second is a major assortment of images and photo scrapbooks depicting mission facilities and many of the missionaries who worked at these sites.

Preferred Citation

When citing material from this collection please use the following format: Direct reference to the item or its file folder, Herbert Cookman Withey Collection, United Methodist Church Archives - GCAH, Madison, New Jersey. Do not make use of the items' call number as that is not a stable descriptor.

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding this collection.

Subject Terms

Additonal Creators - Personal
:Withey, Amos E..
Subject Names - Personal
:Taylor, Williiam
:Withey, Irene.
Subject Topics
Biblical scholars
Missionaries' wives
Political, Practical.
Subject Geographic
Photograph albums

Container List

Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1553-2-1: 1 Correspondence 1933
1553-2-1: 2 Correspondence 1934-1939
1553-2-1: 3 Magazines and Articles 1886-1938
1553-2-1: 4 Magazines, Articles, and Clippings 1891-1938
1553-2-1: 5 Journal 1891-1893
1553-2-1: 6 Journal 1894-1897
1553-2-1: 7 Journal 1899
1553-2-1: 8 Journal 1900
1553-2-1: 9 Journal 1906-1908
1553-2-1: 10 Journal 1908-1912
1553-2-1: 11 Log Book 1921
1553-2-1: 12 Diary 1927
1553-2-1: 13 Diary Notes 1929
1553-2-1: 14 Diary 1930-1931
1553-2-1: 15 Diary 1932
1553-2-1: 16 Diary Notes 1933
1553-2-1: 17 Diary Notes 1934
1553-2-1: 18 Diary Notes 1935
1553-2-1: 19 Film Negatives 1922-1931
1553-2-1: 20 Withey Family Photos Undated
1553-2-1: 21 Angola Mission and Missionary Photos Undated
1553-2-2: 1 Angola Mission Photo Album 1885-1908
1553-2-3: 1 Angola Mission Photo Album Undated
1553-2-4: 1 Angola Mission Photo Undated