Canon W.H. Temple Gairdner of Cairo’s Letters to His Friends

W.H. Temple Gairdner [1873-1928], W.H.T.G. to His FriendsWilliam Henry Temple Gairdner (July 31, 1873 – May 22, 1928) was a British Christian missionary with the Church Missionary Society in Cairo, Egypt. His entire life was dedicated to service in Egypt as he himself commented when he was first preparing to leave. While in Cairo he partnered with his dear friend Douglas M. Thornton in order to reach educated Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This dynamic duo held many lectures in their home, Beit Arabi Pasha, and wrote a weekly magazine titled Orient and Occident. After Thornton’s death in 1907 Gairdner continued his work in Cairo but was never able to recapture the amount of work that was accomplished when Thornton was at his side. It was this lack of help that would plague his ministry until the day of his death in 1928. Gairdner was a prolific writer and scholar of Arabic.

Wikipedia [weblink mine]

This collection of letters and informal writing was provided for digitisation by Redcliffe College. This volume is in the public domain.

W.H. Temple Gairdner [1873-1928], W.H.T.G. to His Friends. Some letters and informal writings of Canon W.H.Temple Gairdner of Cairo 1873-1928. London: SPCK, 1930. Hbk. pp.173. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  1. The Near East
  2. Hee Sees the World
  3. At the Sea
  4. Christmas and Easter Festivals
  5. Letters to Children
  6. Portraits
  7. He Sends his Thanks
  8. He Shares the Lives of his Friends
  9. Reflexions on some Deeper Things
  10. Arts and Artists
  11. Hellas
  12. On Books nd Authors
  13. On the Writings of H. G. Wells
  14. On Elgar’s Second Symphony


This little book has been compiled at the suggestion of many friends who wished to have a lasting share in what has been called my husband’s “greatest legacy” -that is, his letters and informal papers. And indeed this thought of sharing is a keynote of the book, just as it was also of the life of Temple Gairdner-one who was ever eager both to enter into the lives of others and to share with them his own. Writing was to him no labour; it was inevitable, easier often than speech. “Read what I have written,” he would say, when asked to describe some incident.

But it is to the circumstances of his life-his residence as a missionary abroad, with the inevitable long and frequent separations from kith and kin-that we owe the mass of his correspondence. There were letters on purely personal subjects, giving sympathy with friends in joy or sorrow, or vividly describing some latest happening in his own circle….

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