I enjoyed a very productive two months in Manchester and am extremely grateful for the opportunity provided by the Manchester Wesley Research Centre. My research ultimately involved three distinct tracks.
In the John Rylands Library I focused on exploring the activity of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in the Islamic world, specifically Central Asia and South Asia, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While I made some significant progress in identifying key individuals, in particular J.A. Elliott of Faizabad in northern India, via the rare published materials held in the Rylands collection, it is evident that key information regarding Wesleyan missionaries is likely concentrated in the archives held at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. I hope to make a follow-up visit to England to explore this collection to supplement the work I began this summer in Manchester.
A second track involved the Brethren Archives held at the University of Manchester. Again, I focused on missionaries active in Islamic Central Asia and South Asia. This archive proved to be especially rich as the excellent staff directed me to as yet uncatalogued journals and diaries produced by the Brethren missionary E.H. Broadbent during two visits to Russian Turkestan (in 1900 and again in 1907), as well as correspondence from Mennonites in Central Asia down to the October Revolution. I am hoping to publish an article on this activity and perhaps an edited edition of Broadbent’s 80 page journal from 1900, which is potentially a very interesting primary source for this period.
My third track dealt with an older research project of mine on Rev. Joseph Wolff, a Jewish convert and missionary, initially with the Christian Mission to the Jews and later as an independent, who traveled throughout the Islamic world in the 19th century. I was able to consult letters and other archival material concerning Wolff during day trips to the archives in Birmingham and Nottingham, and in a week-long trip to the British Library in London to consult the India Office holdings archived there. These were very fruitful endeavors and have opened up further research tracks that I hope will eventually lead to a monograph on Wolff’s career.
Throughout my time in Manchester I enjoyed the excellent hospitality and stimulating intellectual environment of the Wesley Research Centre and the Nazarene Theological College, both staff and faculty. I cannot imagine a more welcoming scholarly environment and look forward to future opportunities to work together.
Professor of History
Point Loma Nazarene University