|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 the signatures of well-known missionaries, compiled by the Missionary Research Library. Included is the signature of Robert Morrison (1782-1834) on his copy of Du Halde's Description Geographique Historique, and the signature of Timothy Richard in a short letter.
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.
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 of missionary autographs, 1827, 1906, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
This collection was noted as missing for years, but some of the material was found in 2012. The collection now consists of two autographs, though it originally also contained an album owned by Sarah Wood Lyon with signatures of missionaries (1860 -1923), and eleven other autographed mounted letters from early missionaries that dated from around 1850.
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 1988-08-03. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. The finding aid was created by Brigette Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-08-04 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 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.
Robert Morrison (1782-1834) was an Anglo-Scottish evangelist and the first Christian Protestant missionary in China. He is credited with translating the Bible into Chinese.
Timothy Richard (1845-1919) was a Welsh Baptist missionary in China, who influenced the modernization of China and the rise of the Chinese Republic.