United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A.|
Board of National Missions. Dept. of Mission Development. Records, 1871-1972 (bulk: 1923-1972)
Finding Aid to Record Group 301.7
Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516
In 1923, the Board of Home Missions (PCUSA) was reorganized and renamed Board of National Missions. The Board of Home Missions had included numerous departments which ministered to various segments of the population; immigrants and the urban poor, Jewish evangelization, the Spanish-speaking populations of the American Southwest and of the Caribbean islands, African-Americans in the deep South, Native Americans, and the rural population across the country.
The 1923 reorganization of boards and agencies created the Board of National Missions, which consisted of six divisions. One of those six, that of Church Extension and Missions, was given responsibility for several departments of the old Board of Home Missions. Though Church Extension and Missions maintained the separateness of each department, it united all of the work on an administrative level.
The responsibilities of Church Extension and Missions/Division of Missionary Operation were diverse; it dealt with a wide variety of Americans across the country. The work was concentrated into four departments: Town and Country Church Work, which included Indian Work; City, Immigrant and Industrial Work, which included Jewish Evangelization and Spanish-Speaking Work; West Indies; and Sunday School Missions and Mobile Ministries.
Church Extension and Missions underwent numerous changes of name and administration through the years, as did the various departments within it. Despite these minor changes and modifications, the division did not alter the nature of its work. Its areas of responsibility included missions to the Spanish-speaking population in the southwest and in Cuba and Puerto Rico; missions to the Jews, the immigrants and the working classes in large cities; missions to the Native Americans; missions to African-Americans in the deep South; and work with children and adults in remote agricultural areas. The division's mission to minister to these people continued throughout its history.
In 1935 Church Extension and Missions was renamed Department of Missionary Operation, in 1951 Division of Missionary Operation, in 1961 Division of Church Strategy and Development, and in 1971 Department of Mission Development. In 1972 the Board of National Missions became the Program Agency.
An organizational outline follows:
BOARD OF NATIONAL MISSIONS
1924 CHURCH EXTENSION OF MISSIONS
Town and Country Church Work
City, Immigrant and Industrial Work
Spanish-Speaking Work in the Southwest
Department of West Indies
Sunday School Missions
1935 DEPARTMENT OF MISSIONARY OPERATION
Rural Church Work
City, Immigrant and Industrial Work
Sunday School Missions
1951 DIVISION OF MISSIONARY OPERATION
Town and Country Church and Indian Work
City and Industrial Work
Spanish-American Work in the Southwest
Sunday School Missions and Mobile Ministries
1961 DIVISION OF CHURCH STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT
Indian Ministries: Migrant Ministries
Urban and Industrial Ministries
1971 DEPARTMENT OF MISSION DEVELOPMENT
Non-Metropolitan Church Strategy
Ministries with American Indians
Urban and Industrial
Divisions and departments of the Board of National Missions underwent many, many administrative and organizational changes over the years. This outline is intended only as a brief, condensed guide to the developments which led to the creation of the Division of Church Strategy and Development. Further details can be found in the administrative histories of each department within this finding aid. To see every detail of changes in division and department names, responsibilities and administrative personnel, the researcher should consult the Board of National Missions' annual reports.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Record Group 301.7 contains correspondence, minutes, reports, blueprints, maps and photographs
documenting the history of Presbyterian missions in the United States in the areas described above from 1871-1972. The vast bulk of the records date from 1923, the year of the birth of the Board of National Missions, but there are many older records in the collection.
The collection is arranged as follows:
SERIES 1: Department of Town and Country Church and Indian Work, 1871-1972
SERIES 2: Department of City, Immigrant and Industrial Work, 1888-1960
SERIES 2: SUBSERIES 5: Department of Jewish Evangelization, 1920-1948
SERIES 3: [vacant]
SERIES 4: Department of Spanish-Speaking Work, 1887-1963
SERIES 5: Department of West Indies, 1900-1972
SERIES 6: Department of Sunday School Missions and Mobile Ministries, 1887-1968
SERIES 7: Jackman Relocation Program, 1965-1972
SERIES 8: Child Development Group of Mississippi, 1965-1969
NOTES TO THE RESEARCHER
Each of the eight series in this record group is divided into subseries. Each series has its own administrative history and scope and content note, followed by its container list. Within each series, subseries numbering begins with 1: however, the box and folder listing is in one sequence through the entire record group.
The guiding principle behind the arrangement of this collection was the organizational structure of the Church Extension of Missions/Division of Missionary Operation. Five record groups were combined, along with unprocessed material, to form this collection, and imposing institutional order on the records and correcting errors in previous arrangement while respecting provenance as much as possible was the only practical solution. For example, the records of the Department of West Indies and those of the Department of Spanish-Speaking Work were originally processed together as one record group (RG 104) with no indication that these were the records of two separate departments. The records of the two departments were separated and the institutional order imposed.
Departments of the Board of National Missions changed names frequently. The name which most accurately reflects each department's work as documented in these records is the name used in this collection. The name Department of City, Immigrant and Industrial Work, for example, was the name of this department during most of the period of time covered by the records, and it indicates the full scope of the department's work. Although some of the departments/units spent most of their years as subdivisions of other departments, they were all self-contained units of work and except for administrative purposes they stood alone. Therefore each department/unit has been given the title Department in this finding aid.
Collection processed and finding aid created: July 1991
Stephanie Muntone, Processing Archivist