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Charles Eugene Smith was born in Franklin County, Iowa, and educated at Iowa State College, Ames. He attended the Kennedy School of Missions, and was ordained in 1922. That year he and his wife went to Belgium, and in 1923 to the Congo as missionaries with the Congo Mission, American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, out of Leopoldville. In addition to his evangelistic work, he introduced agricultural education among the Congolese, particularly at the Kikongo Mission station. He formulated principles and programs for rural missionary service, wrote an agricultural text for native use, and played a major part in the location and establishment of mission stations at Nsona Mpangu, Moanza, Kikongo, and Boko.
Mrs. Viola Leora (Ziegler) Smith was born in Syracuse, New York, and attended the Kennedy School of Missions. She earned a diploma from the School of Tropical Medicine, Brussels, and with her husband worked as a general missionary, with special attention to educational and medical work, and work with women and children. She wrote Diatunga va Tadi (n.p., 1966), a history of the Congo Baptist missions, for the Congolese.
The papers are arranged in six groups: personal papers, administrative papers, records of the Conseil Protestant du Congo, historical files, periodicals and books. The personal papers include diaries, especially for the early years of the Smiths’ mission work, and the location of mission stations. There is personal correspondence with executives of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. The major personal letter file is correspondence with the Reverend Ben Armstrong and his wife, Rhoda, 1926-1962, mainly from Leopoldville and Kikongo. This series describes in great detail the personal and professional problems of a missionary. A series of mimeographed missionary letters, most of them 1958-1967, describes the problems of missions during political upheavals in the Congo.
The administrative papers include Congo Mission reports, minutes, official correspondence, and documents. The administrative file on the Kikongo Mission is particularly complete, as is the correspondence concerning proposed agricultural programs and rural missionary work. The historical file, assembled by Viola L. Smith, represents material gathered for the writing of her mission history.
Books in the collection consist of monographs and pamphlets on Africa and missions, Kikongo dictionaries, grammars and phrase books, and books on Kikongo (Fioti) and other African languages. Major dictionaries are by W. Holman Bentley, Giacinto Brusciotto, Rene Butaye, Karl E. Laman, and Pierre Swartenbroeckx. Kikongo language books include editions of the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress, songbooks, and several books for children. There are also histories of missions and missionaries and of the Protestant church in Africa.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open to the public.
Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.
Restrictions on Use :
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Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Charles E. and Viola L. Smith Papers, Ax 437, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Or.
Collection is organized into the following series:
Series: Administrative Papers
Series: Historical Data
Acquisition Information :
Gift of Charles and Viola Smith.
Processing Note :
Collection processed by Phil Zorich, Manuscripts Processor.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.