|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in original order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains a printed copy of a stone tablet at Sianfu, Shensi, China, reporting the introduction of Christianity into China in 634 A.D (showing only the Chinese text), and the envelope in which it was received by the Missionary Research Library from China.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL6, China
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, MRL6: Missionary Research Library copy of Nestorian Tablet, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Nestorian Tablet of Sian-fu, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The copy was mailed from China to the librarian at the Missionary Research Library. It was moved with the MRL to the Brown Memorial Tower of Union Theological Seminary in 1929. 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
The tablet copy was partially unfolded and put in a larger box. The finding aid was created by Cécile Queffélec and Brigette C. Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2023.
2023-01-05 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Nestorian tablet is a stone monument in Sianfu, Shensi, China. It was found in 1625 by Chinese laborers. Its text, in Syriac and Chinese, relates the Nestorian Christian missions in China from 635 to 781, the year during which the tablet was erected. The original tablet is now in the Forest of Stones Museum in Xi'an, China.
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.