|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one series arranged in rough chronological order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains reports, correspondence, minutes, conference proceedings, publications, and other materials compiled by Missionary Research Library to document training and personnel procedures for missionaries. Several organizations are represented in the collection, including the Committee on Missionary Personnel of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA) and the Missionary Personnel Program of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC). The bulk of the collection contains reports and other material documenting 3 conferences that dealt specifically with missionary training: Conference on Missionary Preparation (1923), FMCNA Conference on the Training of the Ministry and Other Religious Leaders (1934), and the Meadville Missionary Training Conference (1956). This material covers several topics, including the standardization of training for lay people and indigenous bible women, the incorporation of practical experience as a part of missionary training, and the advantages and disadvantages of short-term, temporary volunteers. Additional records include minutes of the FMCNA Committee on Missionary Personnel, two reports on preparations for missionaries in Africa, and a confidential paper by Dr. Arnold Block on "Selection of Missionary Personnel," which provides case studies and discusses psychological requirements for missionary work.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL12, Ecumenical/World Missions
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 on the preparation of missionaries, 1920-1963, box #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL12: Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA) Records, 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
Correspondence and reports were cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-8-04. 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 separated from one another by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. The finding aid was created by Virginia Pastor in 2013 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-01-31 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.