|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in alphabetical order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains copies of thirteen typewritten reports from Swiss and German Basel missionaries who were captured and held captive during World War I by British and French troops. Captured while stationed in Cameroon in September and October 1914, these missionaries were held captive until 1915. The reports were recorded in German in 1915 in Basel, Switzerland and Berlin and Connstadt, Germany, and include detailed description and dates of events and names of other missionaries. The thirteen missionaries are Friedrich Bärtschi; J. Bührer; Chr. Gehr.; J. Gutbrod; Philipp Hecklinger; Johannes Ittmann; Johannes Köngeter; Johannes Leiberspeiger; G. Lorch.; Johannes Georg Meier; Robert Schwarz; H. Stahl; and Karl Wittwer.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL1, Africa
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL1: Basel missionaries in Cameroon reports, 1915, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL 1: Basel Mission (Gold Coast) Papers, West Africa, 1894 - 1904, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Formerly part of the independent Missionary Research Library (MRL), these records were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Material was cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-18. Metal clips were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. The finding aid was created by Brigette C. Kamsler in 2012 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.
2020-07-28 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Basel Mission, a Protestant missionary society named for the Swiss city, was founded in 1815. All the directors, most of the lecturers in the Mission college, and more than half of the overseas staff were recruited from Wurttemberg, Germany. Missionaries were first sent to Africa in the 1820s; however due to illness, their presence was not truly felt until the 1840s. The Cameroon mission was started in 1886, undertaking the duties begun by the London Baptist Missionary Society after Cameroon became a German protectorate in July 1884.
After the outbreak of World War One, British troops were sent to German colonies throughout the world. In September and October 1914, German missionaries including those of the Basel Mission were interned by the allies and held as prisoners of war until 1915. After this point, the missionaries were sent back to Switzerland and Germany. The Paris Mission took over work in the Basel Mission's absence. Missionaries from the Basel Mission returned in 1925 and limited their work to the British part of Cameroon.