|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in six series: Series 1: Committees and conferences; Series 2: Education; Series 3: Churches, Christianity, and Religion; Series 4: Missions and Missionaries; Series 5: Photographs and Maps; and Series 6: Subject and Topic files.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains material related to ecumenical and world-wide mission work and committees and conferences, education, churches and religion, and missionaries, as well as photographs and maps and subject and topic files, including some on geographic locations, as well as the earliest records in the collection (1792) which pertain to Presbyterian Moderators of the General Assembly. Formats include reports, minutes, papers, photographs, negatives and maps.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL12, Ecumenical/World Mission
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
The following boxes are located offsite: Box 1-30 (entire collection). Please note that requests for use of boxes held in offsite storage must be made three business days in advance.
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, MRL12: Missionary Research Library collection on ecumenical and world-wide mission work, series #, box #, folder #, 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.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. The collection was organized following the "More Product, Less Process" method. This means that the collection was generally organized, but not taken to the folder level of description. The clips and staples were also left in the folders. This allows the collection to be made available more quickly and gives researchers a general idea of what is available in the collection. The finding aid was created by Brigette Kamsler in 2014 with financial support from the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-10-04 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.