|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series in chronological order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence, reports, minutes, and other documents compiled by the Missionary Research Library related to the efforts of missionaries to evangelize Chinese students in government-run universities during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Organizations and persons reflected in the records include the National Christian Council of China: Committee on Student Evangelism, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, the Foreign Missions Conference of North America: Committee on the Far East, and Jiang Wenhan 江文漢 or Kiang Wen-han (1908 - 1984), who was baptized in 1923 and went on to study at a number of universities in China as well as at Columbia University, worked with the Chinese YMCA, and coordinated relief work during the war with Japan.
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 collection on student evangelism, 1938-1947, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL6: National Christian Council of China Records, 1919 – 1950, 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.
MRL12: 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
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
Material was cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-07-20. Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were photocopied on to acid-free paper and interleaved with acid-free paper as needed. Any items in an advanced state of deterioration were placed in Mylar envelopes. The finding aid was created by Gregory Adam Scott in 2009, reviewed and updated by Sarah Davis in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-06-23 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 in order to be both a resource for missionaries, and a means to document the missionary movement. With funding from John D. Rockefeller, Mott stated, "We are now ready to…secure the most complete and serviceable missionary library and archives in the world. I desire it to be thoroughly interdenominational, ecumenical and international. It should be made preeminently rich in source material." It was located at the Madison Avenue headquarters of the Foreign Missionary Conference of North America. By the 1920s, funding was becoming scarce; 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 integrated with the Burke Library's collections in 1976. In 2004, the Burke Library was fully integrated with the Columbia University Library system.
In December 1937 the skirmishes and tensions which had existed between China and Japan since 1931 broke out into full-scale war. Before long the Japanese army had occupied the major city of Shanghai 上海 and the capital of Nanjing 南京, forcing the Nationalist government to retreat first to the central city of Wuhan 武漢, then to Chongqing 重慶 in the West of China. Universities and colleges also fled the Japanese invasion, setting up campuses in isolated centers throughout China's West and Southwest. By late 1939 the National Christian Council of China met to address the problem of evangelizing university students who were attending classes on these refugee campuses, and who, to a much greater extent than students at Christian universities, were ever more difficult to reach because of the war.