Hooper, Handley Douglas

Anglican Communion (Church Missionary Society)

Handley Douglas Hooper was a Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary and mission administrator. The son of a pioneer missionary in East Africa, Hooper was born at Jilore, north of Mombasa, Kenya. His mother died in 1893, and he was brought up in England by family friends. After graduation from Cambridge (Queen’s College, B.A., 1912). he received theological training in Durham, and was ordained. In 1915 he married Cicely Winterbotham, and they were sent by CMS to Kahuhia, Kenya, to a station among the Kikuyu people that his father had developed. He spent ten years in Africa, two with the Mission Volunteer Carrier Corps in German East Africa. He and his wife became particularly close to the Kikuyu men and women they served. Cicely Hooper started a girls’ boarding school, and he began teacher training; he gave encouragement to young educated Africans whose political concerns were developing. In 1926 he became Africa secretary of CMS, a post he held until 1950. He was especially interested in agriculture and initiated the Rural Life Conferences for members of the British Conference of Missionary Societies.

In 1961 he retired to Cheltenham; his older son Cyril (b. 1916) also served as a CMS missionary at Kahuhia.

Jocelyn Murray


H. D. Hooper, Leading Strings (1921). M. C. Hooper, New Patches: Women’s Customs and Changes in East Africa (1935), If I Lived in Africa (1937), Beyond the Night (1938), and The Way of Partnership (1939). Also see Jocelyn Margaret Murray, “The Kikuyu Female Circumcision Controversy, with Special Reference to the Church Missionary Society’s ‘Sphere of Influence’ (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California Los Angeles, 1974); Harry Thuku, Harry Thuku: An Autobiography (1970). The Hooper Papers, including personal letters to and from Kikuyu friends, and reports on African ecclesiastical and political development, are held in the CMS archives, Univ. of Birmingham.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.