|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one series arranged roughly alphabetically by format.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains organizational records-- including a bibliography, manuals, publications, minutes, and historical and other materials-- and correspondence related to the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (SVM). The organizational records contain early documentation of the organization, including material from the Student Volunteer Union of New York and Brooklyn and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Also included is correspondence of James B. Cochrane, as well as Horace Tracy Pitkin. Pitkin, a graduate of Yale and of Union Theological Seminary (1894) and former travelling secretary for SVM, was killed during the Boxer rebellion in China in 1902. Individuals of note whose letters are included are Henry Winters Luce, Harlan P. Beach, John R. Mott, and traveling secretary Robert E. Lewis. Pitkin's letters include a list of missionaries and a brief summary of their education and missionary history; missionaries of note include Harvey D. Griswold, George Cornwell, Frank Hoskins and Willis P. Elwood.
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, MRL 12: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions records, 1893-1946, box #, folder #, 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
Correspondence, reports, study manual, articles, history, and bibliography were cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on 1988-08-04. Folded items were flattened and placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were separated from one another by interleaving 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 Brigette Kamsler in 2012 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-04-15 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Student Volunteer Movement for Forieng Missions (SVM) began in 1886 at a Young Men's Christian Association student conference at the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. John Raleigh Mott and Robert P. Wilder were in attendance as delegates. Wilder worked for two years informally gathering volunteers to the movement. Mott was named chairman of the SVM when it officially came into existence in 1888. The SVM was a complementary part of the larger Protestant Christian student movement, which was growing in popularity and membership during the last two decades in the 1800s. This allowed each SVM throughout the world to take on distinct characteristics of the geographic location. The original goal was to nurture students in North America to become missionary candidates in order to meet the needs of boards and missionary societies, as well as to train those already planning on living in foreign countries to emphasize the need for missionaries throughout the world. As a result of the SVM, thousands of students pledged to volunteer as foreign missionaries. The movement was popular until the 1920s when membership lagged. After World War Two, membership increased again. The movement continued until 1959, when it became the Commission on World Mission of the National Student Christian Federation of North America.