|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series: Series 1: Studies; and Series 2: Handbooks and Instruction Manuals.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains studies conducted by various committees, including the Committee on Research in Foreign Missions; the Committee of Lay Training; and the Committee on Missionary Personnel of the Division of Foreign Missions on missionary preparation and training, involving readying the missionary before they leave as well as during their first post and their first furlough, including language training. This collection also contains booklets compiled for use by missionaries throughout the world, with detailed information on outfit lists which the missionary needed to bring with them. The outfit lists could include not only clothes but personal effects, clothing, and furnishings. Other information provided for the missionary was household items required, differences for singles versus married couples; food needed; recreation allowed, and other such information in order to familiarize the missionary with each custom before arriving. The manuals were used as a guide. The manuals were compiled in 1953 but have information from previous years. These booklets were compiled and bound by the Missionary Research Library. Correspondence is included to show who sent the materials.
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 of Missionary Personnel records, series #, 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
Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Further materials are possible as the unprocessed collections are completed. The finding aid was created by Brigette C. Kamsler in 2013 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2023.
2023-04-13 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.