Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Near East College Association Records, 1928-1943

Summary Information


Near East College Association formed in 1927 to combine financial and administrative work in a joint office for efficiency in management and to help raise endowment funds. Institutions included from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Bulgaria and Iraq. Collection consists of correspondence, administrative records and publications.

At a Glance

Bib ID 10161697 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Near East College Association (New York, N.Y.)
Title Near East College Association Records, 1928-1943
Physical Description 3.25 linear feet (3.25 linear feet 8 boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is organized in four series: Series 1: Administrative Files, 1934-1942 (1 box, 0.50 lin. ft.); Series 2: Correspondence, 1931-1943 (2 boxes, 1.00 lin. ft.); Series 3: Publications, 1935-1941 (1 box, 0.25 lin. ft.); Series 4: Partner Institutions, 1928-1943 (4 boxes, 1.50 lin. ft.)


Scope and Content

Materials in the collection are from William Adams Brown, NECA member and President of the Board from 1936 until his death in 1943. It is organized chronologically in four series.

  • Series 1: Administrative Files

    This series contains records relating to the establishment of NECA and the work William Adams Brown and others did to complete the task, an example of which are the Five Year Stabilization Fund reports. In August 1936, a plan was approved to contract with Tamblyn and Brown to conduct a five-year stabilization fund. The goal was to raise $120,000 annually for a period of five years, which would be dispersed among the colleges. Allen W. Dulles became Chairman of the Stabilization Fund Committee. While fundraising was successful during the first few years, it faltered during World War Two.

    In addition to general information on the organization, specific materials relating to professors, their position in the college and their education form part of the collection Other documents reveal who returned to America from Turkey and their addresses. There exists a document listing preferred prospects and their addresses for membership in NECA, and if the individual could donate funds or at times, "literature only." The majority of those on this list were in Metropolitan New York, with a small number from "miscellaneous states."

    Also of note is a letter between Cleveland Dodge and W. A. Brown regarding the establishment of a Near East Society from March 1935. This society would be formed by NECA and the Near East Foundation, the purpose of which was to provide information to the American public on happenings in the Middle East. It officially formed in 1948.

  • Series 2: Correspondence

    Within this series is extensive correspondence regarding the establishment of NECA, the various schools and people involved, and events that were occurring in the area. In a letter dated December 4, 1931, American Director Albert W. Staub sent Brown a statement which shows the guiding principles for the Association, which had been recently formed:

    The majority of the correspondence was sent to or by William Adams Brown, his wife or his secretary, and many include attachments and enclosures. Individuals from a variety of locations and organizations throughout the world are represented in the correspondence.

  • Series 3: Publications

    Within this series are published materials depicting the history of NECA, as well as events occurring in the area which had an effect on the institutions. Earthquakes in Turkey in 1940, restrictions on land sale in Palestine, and the consequences of World War Two are examples of topics covered in publications. The Board of Directors voted in 1939 to change the name of the Near East College News Letter to the Near East Service Quarterly.

  • Series 4: Partner Institutions

    The records in this series relate specifically to each individual college, and include financial records, programs and events, and anniversary booklets. Also available are informal reports to Trustees regarding attendance, staff, academic council, buildings and grounds, agricultural activities, finances, and outstanding problems.

    Correspondence for specific individuals has remained separate for Dr. Mary Mills Patrick; Dr. Paul Monroe, joint President of Robert College and the American College for Girls; Elizabeth Clarahan, and G. Howland Shaw, Ambassador to Ankara and later Assistant Secretary of State. Dr. Mary Mills Patrick was the founder of the American College for Girls at Istanbul and for many years, the President of the College. Elizabeth Clarahan was an administrator of the Preparatory School at the American College for Girls at Istanbul and in the early 1930's was told not to return to the College after issues with faculty and other staff.

General Note

In Archives.

Using the Collection

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Item description, Near East College Association Records, series #, box #, and folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Processing Information

Papers processed BCK 01/2013.

Revision Description

July 25, 2013 XML instance document created by Brigette C. Kamsler.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Brown, William Adams, 1865-1943 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Near East College Association (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Near East Foundation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Near East Relief (Organization) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Near East Society (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The plan for a college association in the Near East began with Cleveland H. Dodge in 1919. In the interest of efficiency and saving money, Dodge believed that Robert College in Istanbul and the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut should have a joint office in the United States. Albert W. Staub, who would become Executive Secretary of the Joint Office, was sent to visit the colleges and report back on educational problems in the Near East.

The result of this survey showed financial deficits at each college totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 1920, the Syrian Protestant College was renamed the American University in Beirut. The Joint Office was so popular that other organizations were included. The News Letter for September 1926 announced:

In accordance with the plan suggested by Cleveland H. Dodge, the boards of trustees of six American educational institutions in the Near East have voted to combine their financial and administrative work in a joint office for increased efficiency in management and in raising the endowment funds necessary to secure their maintenance and development in the future.

The member organizations of the newly-established Near East College Association (NECA) were Robert College, Istanbul; the American University of Beirut, Syria; the American College for Girls at Istanbul; the American College of Sofia, Bulgaria; the International College in Izmir, Smyrna; and Athens College, Greece. Many of these organizations had originally been founded by American missionaries. Original executive committee members included William Morgan Kingsley, Arthur Curtiss James, Stephen Baker, Henry Sloane Coffin, George A. Plimpton, Harold A. Hatch, Lucius R. Eastman, James L. Barton, and Edward Capps.

The organization was incorporated March 1927. Using private donors, organizations, clubs, educational foundations, and international relief, funds were raised and educational locations in the Near East were reorganized. Endowments for each were successfully filled in 1940, but the NECA Trustees approved the permanent continuation of the Association.

The Boards of Trustees for Robert College and the American College for Girls at Istanbul decided, "for the purpose of simplifying the problem of dealing with the Turkish Government officials and in the interest of coordination and progress," to elect a common President, appoint joint professorships, and share financial burdens. Dr. Paul Monroe was appointed President on May 18, 1932.

Problems in 1933 at the International College in Izmir, Smyrna led to a two-year investigation by the Board of Trustees who eventually liquidated the college; the property was sold to the Turkish Government. The work at the International College became affiliated in 1936 with the American University of Beirut.

According to the Near East Colleges Quarterly Vol. 6, No. 2 published June 1947, two more institutions were added: The American School for Boys, Baghdad, Iraq; and Damascus College, Syria. Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece, joined NECA in 1950.

Dr. William Adams Brown was appointed President of the Board of Directors in May 1936, assuming the role from William Morgan Kingsley. He would serve until his death in 1941, when he was succeeded by Henry C. Holt. Allen W. Dulles assumed the responsibility in 1946, followed by Harold B. Hoskins in 1951.

The institutions of the Near East College Association continue to exist and prosper today, as does the Near East College Association.


From the records themselves, specifically the History in Series 1, Box 1, and Folder 11.

"Bulletin of Near East Society." Digital Library for International Research. http://www.dlir.org/arit-periodical-collection/199.html (Accessed January 31, 2013).

"Near East College Association and its Member Colleges," Near East College Association, New York. [N.P.], 1950. http://clio.cul.columbia.edu:7018/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=2542328

Shrikian, Gorun. Armenians Under the Ottoman Empire and the American Mission's Influence on Their Intellectual and Social Renaissance." [United States?: The Author], c2011.