Missionary Research Library Pamphlets and Reports at the Burke Library


This proposal aims to catalog and make accessible the world's most extensive collection of rare pamphlets and printed reports from Christian missionaries, missionary organizations, and indigenous religions and societies engaged by missionaries during the 19th and 20th centuries. This proposal will support non-sectarian research of individuals, communities, and indigenous cultures related to the global missionary and ecumenical movements. Materials were added to the collections regardless of religious affiliation, with a concern for humanistic inquiry and informed social activism on a global scale. These materials document not only the history of religious identities, but also the history of educational, medical, and political movements crucial to the development of human society in the modern world. Though published, these materials were often not widely disseminated among academic circles or library collectors, but were purposefully collected by missionaries and their parent organizations, and are very often not available from other libraries, especially those most accessible to North American researchers. They include extraordinarily rare materials from missionary fields around the world. The pamphlets and reports are part of the Missionary Research Library (MRL). From India to North America, the MRL archives record the historical contexts (political, social, cultural, anthropological, medical, and educational) of missionary fields during the 19th and 20th centuries.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Columbia University Libraries


  • John Weaver

Collection Size

40 linear feet, 5952 objects

Date Range

1825 - 2001

Geographic Scope

The two collections cover all the continents of the world, except Antarctica, with special strengths in East Asia, Latin America, and North America.