|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
The collection is organized in one series arranged by format.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence and organizational records related to the Bureau of Missions. Correspondence primarily includes letters of Edwin Bliss and his successor Dr. Henry Otis Dwight, as they write to missionaries and missionary organizations around the world to garner interest in the newly formed organization, sell Bureau-produced materials, and acquire information and documents for the museum and library. There are also a few letters from Bureau President Alexander Maitland. Organizational records include extensive bylaws, meeting minutes, publications, newspaper articles, and charters.
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 1-3. 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, MRL 12 : Bureau of Missions Records, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL 12: Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions NYC, 1900, 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
Some material cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-08-03. Folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Bylaw and Meeting Minutes book was wrapped and placed in own separate folder. Papers that were grouped together with nails/stales/clips were filed by the latest date on the letters. All those without dates are in a general folder in Box 1. The finding aid was created by Sarah Davis in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
June 24, 2014 XML Instance Created by Sarah Davis.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-11-10 EAD spot checked and corrected and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Bureau of Missions was established in 1902 in New York City , a result of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions in 1900. The Bureau of Missions was "primarily organized to care for and develop the Missionary Exhibit and Library gathered at that time," however "it's scope...enlarged to include a Bureau of Missionary Information, and its aim is to be a 'clearing house' of missions.'" There were originally three departments within the Bureau of Missions: the general and information office, the museum – located with the American Museum of Natural History – and the library, located within the museum. Alexander Maitland was elected President of the Bureau of Missions at its founding, and Dr. Edwin Bliss was elected Secretary. In 1904, the position of Secretary was filled by Dr. Henry Otis Dwight, who continued prolific letter writing, particularly through 1905. The Bureau of Missions was active throughout the first decade of the 20th century. The charter was revoked by the State of New York in 1914. It is unknown why this occurred.