|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one series arranged by geographical area.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains materials compiled by the Missionary Research Library that document foreign mission work in Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, largely during the early 20th century, including reports, minutes, correspondence, publications, and a sketchbook. The majority of materials relate to the Philippine committee of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA), of which E. K. Higdon was chairman. The sketchbook was kept by Rev. Anthony Wilson Thorold, Bishop of Rochester and later Bishop of Winchester, while on board the S.S. Australia and S.S. Parramatta, and includes views of Van Dieman Land, North Cape, Bay of Islands, Cape Brett, and Auckland, New Zealand; Honolulu, Diamond Head, and Waikiki, Oahu; the Suez Canal; Botany Bay, New South Wales; a missionary house in Samoa; Golden Gate, San Francisco, and more. The Report on the Progress of the Gospel in Polynesia is a 14 page folio manuscript in the hand of A.B. Putnam; it is his transcription of a speech by P.C. Colgrove given before the Society for Inquiry on December 7, 1840, and reports on atrocities but with emphasis on how missionaries have managed to convert many of the natives and how education and Christianity have spread.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL11, Australia and Oceania
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL11: Missionary Research Library collection on mission work in Australia and Oceania, 1840-1956, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL12: Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA) Records, 1894 – 1968, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was assembled from records in the Missionary Research Library before its 1976 closure. These records were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976. The sketchbook in box 2 folder 3 and Report in box 3 were purchased by the Burke Library in 2010.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Most materials were part of a large grouping of unprocessed and disorganized boxes; the sketchbook and Progress of the Gospel in Polynesia in 1840 were an addition in 2015. The finding aid was created by Brigette Kamsler in 2014, updated by Erin Campbell in 2015, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-08-03 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Missionary Research Library was created by John R. Mott in 1914 after the World Missionary Conference, held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1910. It was created to be a resource for missionaries and to document the missionary movement, and was initially funded by John D. Rockefeller. It was located at the Madison Avenue headquarters of the Foreign Missionary Conference of North America. By the 1920s, funding was becoming scarcer; therefore it was moved to the Brown Tower of the Union Theological Seminary, New York City in 1929. The Library was an important center of information and research. Active missionaries would consult the material of the Missionary Research Library while on furlough. Much of the Library's success was due to the director and librarian, Charles H. Fahs. Upon his retirement in 1948, the MRL's financial difficulties continued until it was finally integrated as one with the Burke Library's collections in 1967. In 2004, the Burke Library was fully integrated with the Columbia University Library System.