Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
 

James Shepard Dennis papers, 1873 -- 1916

Summary Information

Abstract

James Shepard Dennis was a Presbyterian missionary, historian, and statistician of missions who served for four years as a missionary in Syria, primarily in Sidon and Zahleh, and was professor in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Beirut from 1873 – 1891. The collection contains correspondence; meeting minutes; an address book; a Book of Particulars; and information about the publication of Christian Missions and Social Progress, by Dennis.

At a Glance

Bib ID 4492537 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Dennis, James S. (James Shepard), 1842-1914
Title James Shepard Dennis papers, 1873 -- 1916
Physical Description 0.5 linear feet (0.5 linear feet; 1 box)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is open for research.

Onsite storage.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is organized in one series arranged by format.

Description

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence; a notebook of meeting minutes of the Theological Seminary Committee of the Syrian Mission, 1873 – 1874, as well as a list of students of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Beyrout (Beirut); an address book with a typed index of names categorized by country of residence; a Book of Particulars noting letters and date sent; and a brief statement by Malbone Watson Graham detailing circumstances leading to the publication of Christian Missions and Social Progress (by Dennis). Correspondence includes letters to Dennis from missionaries in China, Korea, England, the United States, India, Japan, Turkey, Madagascar, Scotland, and Burma, among others, and are in response to a call by Dennis for updated information and images on missions to be used in a reprint of Christian Missions and Social Progress. Also included with the correspondence are newspaper clippings and photographs.

  • James Shepard Dennis papers, 1873 -- 1916

    This series contains correspondence; a notebook of meeting minutes of the Theological Seminary Committee of the Syrian Mission, 1873 – 1874, as well as a list of students of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Beyrout (Beirut); an address book with a typed index of names categorized by country of residence; a Book of Particulars noting letters and date sent; and a brief statement by Malbone Watson Graham detailing circumstances leading to the publication of Christian Missions and Social Progress (by Dennis). Correspondence includes letters to Dennis from missionaries in China, Korea, England, the United States, India, Japan, Turkey, Madagascar, Scotland, and Burma, among others, and are in response to a call by Dennis for updated information and images on missions to be used in a reprint of Christian Missions and Social Progress. Also included with the correspondence are newspaper clippings and photographs.

Burke Library record group:

Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL2, Near/Middle East

Using the Collection

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Onsite storage.

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.

Preferred Citation

Item description, MRL2: James Shepard Dennis papers, 1873-1916, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Related Materials

MRL 12: American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions records, 1878-1958, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Formerly part of the independent Missionary Research Library (MRL), 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

Processing Information

Materials were cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-18. Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Letters of more than one page or with attachments were separated from others by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. Photographs were placed in Mylar envelopes. The finding aid was created by Debbie Liu in 2012 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.

Revision Description

2021-09-08 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.

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.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Missionaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Missions -- Syria Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. -- : Missions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

James Shepard Dennis (December 15, 1842 - March 21, 1914) was a missionary, historian, and statistician of missions. After graduating from Princeton in 1863 followed by a year studying law at Harvard, Shepard entered Princeton Theological Seminary, and graduated in 1867. In 1869, Shepard was ordained by the Presbytery of Newark. He then traveled to Syria as a missionary with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). A year into his service as a field missionary, the mission was transferred to the Presbyterian Church Board of Foreign Missions (PCBFM). Dennis joined this board and was connected to this board for the remainder of his life. From 1873 to 1891 he was director of the theological school at Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. In 1883, after a professor delivered a commencement speech that was interpreted as paying tribute to Charles Darwin, Dennis drafted a religious manifesto called the Declaration of Principles in response. The college required all faculty members to sign. Several faculty resignations and student protests followed. After his return to America, Shepard lived in New York City and Montclair, N.J., and began documenting the social effects of Protestant missions on non-Christian peoples. Aided by the correspondence from missionaries around the world, Shepard published the three volume work Christian Missions and Social Progress. This book is a contribution to the science of missions and a resource for missionary results. Dennis then published Centennial Survey of Christian Missions (1902), which reported all Protestant missionary operations which were being maintained at the close of the nineteenth century. He demonstrated, with descriptions and statistics, their conditions and achievements in various areas of work. James Dennis Shepard was honorary secretary of the Presbyterian Board from 1904 til his death in 1914.

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James Shepard Dennis papers, 1873 -- 1916

This series is open for research.

0.5 linear feet; 0.5 linear feet; 1 box

This series contains correspondence; a notebook of meeting minutes of the Theological Seminary Committee of the Syrian Mission, 1873 – 1874, as well as a list of students of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Beyrout (Beirut); an address book with a typed index of names categorized by country of residence; a Book of Particulars noting letters and date sent; and a brief statement by Malbone Watson Graham detailing circumstances leading to the publication of Christian Missions and Social Progress (by Dennis). Correspondence includes letters to Dennis from missionaries in China, Korea, England, the United States, India, Japan, Turkey, Madagascar, Scotland, and Burma, among others, and are in response to a call by Dennis for updated information and images on missions to be used in a reprint of Christian Missions and Social Progress. Also included with the correspondence are newspaper clippings and photographs.

This series is arranged by format.



Box 1 Folder 1 Correspondence, A, 1905


Box 1 Folder 2 Correspondence, B-C, 1905


Box 1 Folder 3 Correspondence, E-F, 1905


Box 1 Folder 4 Correspondence, G-J, 1905


Box 1 Folder 5 Correspondence, L-M, 1905


Box 1 Folder 6 Correspondence, P-R, 1905


Box 1 Folder 7 Correspondence, S, 1905


Box 1 Folder 8 Correspondence, T-Y, 1905


Box 1 Folder 9 Notebook, 1873 -- 1890


Box 1 Folder 10 Address book, circa 1873 -- 1910


Box 1 Folder 11 Book of Particulars [Correspondence Log], 1909


Box 1 Folder 12 Origin of a Great Missionary Book - Statement by M. W. Graham, 1916