Archive / Papers / Heller Papers: Boxes 1-4


Given by Miss Agatha S. Hellier

  1. 946 letters written by Miss Hellier to her mother, family and friends from India where she went in 1923 as a missionary with the Methodist Missionary Society in London, teaching art. For 26 years she was in Madras, first at the Royapethah Girls’ High School, then St. Thomas’s Mount Girls’ Boarding School and finally, at Gnanodhaya Training College as Headmistress. From 1949-51 she started Art Courses in many schools in Madras and elsewhere.She gives detailed accounts of her school life, holidays, Girl Guide work and art, and many references to other Methodist Missionaries. There are some comments on missionary training, and Indian Christians. Her letters from 1923-25 are more related to India than the rest which become concerned with personnel. There are vivid descriptions of her holidays.

    From No.82 onwards the letters are personal and do not contain much news about India apart from day to day events.

    All the letters are listed in detail in the Archive of the Centre of South Asian Studies.

  2. Other papers in the Hellier Collection
    • December 6, 1951. Letter from Alice Walton of the Methodist Missionary Service to Miss Hellier; in connection with Miss Hellier’s concern over the finances of Gnanodhaya. Also on her own finances and another missionary. 2pp.
    • Extract from Miss Pearl Kidd’s letter dated December 29, 1951 on the difficulties of staff relationships and finances at Gnanodhaya. 2pp.
    • March 7, 1952. Letter from Alice Walton to Miss Hellier; on the appreciation of Miss Hellier’s 26 years of service in India written into the minutes of the Women’s Work Committee for the Methodist Missionary Service. lp.
    • Account of her journey in 1941 to Kashmir, via Calcutta, Lahore, Benares, Delhi, Lucknow entitled “A Missionary Looks Away from her Job”. Detailed descriptions of journey by bus and train – the scenery and flora and fauna. People met, Indian Museum and School of Art in Calcutta. The Bombay Cricket Club, Dushir University Mission in Hazaribagh. Lucknow School of Arts and Crafts and the Isabella Thoburn College for women. People encountered in the New Delhi Y.W.C.A. 43pp.
    • The Gnanodhaya Training School Yearly Reports from 1927-1945.
    • 10 postcards from Miss Hellier to her mother.
    • Odd papers.
    • ‘Young Methodist Demonstration of the Wesleyan Mission, Madras District’. Programme.
    • 3 copies of Now Magazine from 1974 – published by the Methodist Missionary Society.
    • Duplicates of letters.
  3. Articles by Miss Hellier
    • Working for Missions 1900-1914. Childhood memories in England. Mother’s creation of “Medical-wants Guild”. 3pp.
    • Changes in conditions and status for women missionaries 1914-1923.
    • (Methodist) Missionary work for women in India. Education for girls and medical help for women. Reference to the Women’s Christian College in Madras: Methodist Girls’ School in Madras: the S.P.G. School Creation of Women’s hospitals in Madras. Health hazards. 2pp
    • Food problems – re religion. International Fellowship Committee. Gandhi’s visit to Madras College.
    • “The Wold Arder Chengeth”. Changes seen between 1923 and 1951. Reference to The Residential Girls’ High School at Royapethah in Madras. 4pp.
    • Poem. Anon. ‘This Fair Land’.
    • On hearing of Gandhi’s assassination. A school sports day. Visit of an Indian woman journalist.
    • The transfer of properties to the Church of South India from the Christian Missions.