The collections of The John Rylands Library relating to British Christianity are considered to be among the finest in the world. One of the great strengths of the institution is the fact that it continues to attract deposits of international significance. One such collection, the archive of The Evangelization Society (TES), arrived in May 2012 and is now fully catalogued and available to researchers.
The TES was founded in 1864. It started life simply as a register for lay evangelists not formally connected to existing denominations. By October 1864, one hundred names were listed and in 1867 the Society was officially created following the gift of £5,000 from a well-wisher.
The aim of the TES is the promotion and support of evangelism in Britain. For much of its history, the society employed salaried lay preachers working independently or in collaboration with existing Churches. The methods used typified modern evangelical outreach – ecumenical, loosely organised and not tied to permanent buildings. By the mid-20th century, the TES was one of the largest evangelical organisations in the country and still exists as a grant-making body.
The TES archive includes papers relating to governance, such as minutes and policy documents, financial accounts, annual reports and personal details of evangelists employed by the Society. The collection documents the history of the TES from 1864 to the present day and is noteworthy for the fact that there are very few gaps in the coverage.
To download the catalogue in PDF form click here: TES catalogue.
The images above are from TES 5/1/4: Manuscript volume (and loose ephemera) containing a very detailed account of “Tent Missions” conducted between 1898 and 1938 by James Shields, one of the staff of TES. The missions were conducted primarily in the North West of England, in communities centred around Manchester.