Unity in the Midst of Diversity

I have finished processing my very first ever archival collection, the American Bilateral Conversations Records in the William Adams Brown Ecumenical Archives Group.  When I started I didn’t have much of an idea of what most of that meant.  I had no idea what a bilateral conversation entailed and I was only faintly familiar with […]

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Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA) Records – Now Available

Little Boxes in the Archives – Completed FMCNA The records for the Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA), covering the years 1894-1968, are now available! This large MRL12 collection totaling 68 boxes (30.50 linear feet) comprise materials documenting inception and institutional proceedings of the organization. Established to create dialogue between missions-based action committees confronting […]

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The Messy Truth about Foreign Missions

Foreign missions.  It's a pretty unpopular concept these days.  Missionaries are associated with all the damage wrought by the project of subjugation, exploitation, displacement, and genocide of native peoples and cultures across the world.  The criticisms are well-founded. Retrospect is a tricky thing though.  History is often tainted by a touch of arrogance and a […]

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Why the Library is Actually the Most Exciting Place in the World

I’ll admit that prior to getting my job in archives at the Burke Library, the extent of my familiarity with archives was based on some combination of the following: Obi Wan Kenobi’s search for the mysterious planet Kamino in the Jedi Archives in Star Wars Episode II, Tom Hank’s struggle to get into the Vatican […]

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The Why

Now that you know a little more about the MRL and WAB collections, as well as the Luce Foundation, I thought it would be useful to explain the reason behind needing this project in the first place. Most, if not all, archives and libraries have what we call "backlog." Our collections are continually growing: we […]

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Aided by the Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation is generously supporting the Burke Library Archives processing grant. As quoted on the press release: "We are delighted that the Luce Foundation can play a part in The Burke Library's preservation of these important collections, so that they can be readily accessible to a wider readership," said Michael Gilligan, president of […]

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What is MRL and WAB?

You may be asking yourself, why should I care about the Missionary Research Library and the William Adams Brown Ecumenical Library? History: The Missionary Research Library (MRL) was created by John R. Mott in 1914 after the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910. It was created in response to the need for a central resource […]

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Welcome!

Hello and welcome to "The Hidden Archival Collections of the Burke Library!" This is a blog which will help educate and raise awareness for two important archival collection groups at the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University Libraries): the Missionary Research Library Archives (MRL) and the William Adams Brown Ecumenical Library Archives (WAB). […]

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