Fonds auc-5 - George Edward Roffe fonds

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George Edward Roffe fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds.

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auc auc-5

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  • 1916-1995, predominant 1930-1990 (Creation)
    Roffe, George Edward

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Physical description

86 cm of textual materials and other materials.

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Biographical history

George Edward Roffe was born in Toronto on February 1, 1905. His father was A.W. Roffe, an influential pastor who served as superintendent of the District of Canada for the Christian and Missionary Alliance from 1919 to 1925. After graduating from McMaster University and Nyack Missionary College, G. E. Roffe was appointed by the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) to serve as a missionary in French Indochina. In 1928, while studying in France in preparation to travel to Southeast Asia, Roffe was directed by the C&MA to pioneer a new field among the tribal peoples of northern Laos. In 1929, G. E. Roffe became the first resident Protestant missionary in north Laos, settling in the city of Luang Prabang. Soon after, Roffe brought his new bride, and recent Nyack graduate, Thelma Mole, to live and serve there with him. While on Furlough during World War II, Mr. and Mrs. Roffe attended two sessions of Wycliffe's Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). G. E. Roffe also took advantage of the delay which the war posed to earn his wings, and consequently upon returning to Laos in 1947, became the first missionary pilot in the area. In addition to the ongoing direct evangelistic efforts and administration duties, the Roffes were also given the responsibility following the war of running a Bible College tasked with raising up indigenous leaders. In 1950, a young student from this school by the name of Kheng was instrumental in sparking a mass movement among the mountain tribal people of northern Laos which saw whole villages come to Christ in a matter of days. This revival precipitated the formalization of the national church structure in northern Laos. The "Evangelical Church of Laos" held its first assembly in 1957 with pastor Saly (the first Laotian ordained by the Alliance) as the first president. In 1951, the Roffes were transferred to the city of Vientiane. After returning to Laos in 1955 from an extended furlough, during which G. E. Roffe was able to complete graduate studies in Linguistics at Cornell University, the Roffes were assigned to engage full time in the ministry of translation and literature. In a ten year period, G. E. and Thelma Roffe were able to turn out approximately 100 titles, some of them original. G. Edward. Roffe was eventually freed from his other duties to work exclusively on translating into Lao a new version of the New Testament, complete with cross-references, a glossary, a dictionary of unfamiliar terms and a limited concordance. The completed work was presented to the king of Laos in late 1973. In 1975, the communists took control of the government in Laos, and the Roffes were forced to leave the country. In all, punctuated only by war and furlough, G. Edward and Thelma Roffe had labored faithfully in Laos for over forty-six years. Upon returning to North America and settling in Orlando, Fla., their ministry to the Laos people did not come to an end. In addition to keeping tabs on the situation in Laos, the Roffes actively cared for Laotian refugees in their area, and helped many get adjusted to a new way of life. During his retirement years, G. E. Roffe was also actively involved in constantly correcting, editing, or translating, various documents sent to him for comment.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, reports, manuscripts, personal memorabilia, maps, periodicals, pamphlets, booklets, books and some pictures.

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Physical condition

Other materials include 33 cm of periodicals, 1 m of books, 12.5 cm of booklets, and 20 photographs.

Immediate source of acquisition


The material has been kept for the most part in its original order. It is arranged according to the following series: Articles; Documents Concerning Linguistics; Seminar Notes; Books; Booklets; Various Documents, Exams, Programs, Invitations and Maps; Received Letters; Pamphlets; Periodicals; Reports; Correspondence Concerning Misrepresentation of Work in Laos; Miscellaneous; and Original File List.

Language of material

  • The material is in English, French, Lao, Hmong, and Thai.

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There are no restrictions on access.

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Further accruals are not expected.

General note

Record No. 98-01<br><br>

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