United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Commission on Ecumenical Missions and Relations.
Secretaries' files: Brazil mission, 1890-1965
Finding Aid to Record Group 86
12.00 cu.ft.

Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516


The Brazil Mission of the PCUSA was established by the Board of Foreign Mission in 1859. It was the second mission field opened by the PCUSA in Latin America. The structure of Presbyterian mission work in Brazil differed from that of other mission fields developed by the Church throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the latter evolved around permanent centralized mission stations, comparatively few such stations were established in Brazil. Because of the vast distances that had to be traveled by itinerant missionaries, the Mission was subdivided in 1871 into two missions: the South Brazil Mission and the Central Brazil Mission. The latter encompassed the stations at Bahia, Cidade de Bomfim, Ponte Nova, Coetete and North Minas. The former included the stations in Sao Paulo, Parana, Matto Grosso, Goyaz and Sante Catharina. In 1938, the two missions were reunited as the Central Brazil Mission.

The nature of the Church's ministry in Brazil was evangelistic, educational and medical. Though permanent institutions were constructed in the cities, evangelistic work in the vast interior was directed by itinerant missionaries who trained evangelistic workers to continue the work they had initiated. In the South Brazil Mission, educational work centered in Sao Paulo where primary, intermediate and secondary education courses were taught in the Escolo Americana and higher education was provided at Mackenzie College. In the Central Brazil Mission, the Farm School of Ponte Nova offered coeducational training. The only medical work of the Central Brazil Mission was conducted at the Ponte Nova Hospital.

The Board of Foreign Missions, in contrast with its policies in other mission areas, encouraged the early establishment and transfer of mission work to a National Church in Brazil. In 1888, the churches that had been formed by the missions of the PCUSA and the PCUS were united to form the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, which encompassed some 52 churches and four presbyteries. A growing divergence of opinion on matters of doctrine, policy and methods resulted in a schism in 1903, causing a number of ministers, elders and communicants to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil and to establish their own Independent Presbyterian Church.


Record Group 86 documents the educational, evangelistic and medical missionary work of the South Brazil and Central Brazil Mission from 1890-1937 and of the united Central Brazil Mission from 1938-1965. Special emphasis is given to the activities of Mackenzie College and the various other educational institutions active in both missions.

The collection is arranged as follows:
Series 1: SOUTH/CENTRAL BRAZIL MISSIONS, 1911-1965 Boxes 1-8
Series 2: MACKENZIE COLLEGE, 1890-1961 Boxes 9-12


Knowledge of the numbering system used by the Board may be helpful to the researcher. #7 was used to designate the Central Brazil Mission while #8 was used to designate the South Brazil Mission.

A number following the mission number was used to designate the type of material. For example:

1 Minutes
2 Station reports, educational reports
3 Correspondence with nationals and others who were not regular missionaries.
4 Cables
5 Board letters to the mission. These might be described as
official newsletters and most of the time they were numbered.
6 Mission publications
7 Executive Committee correspondence
8 Personal missionary reports
9 Statistical summaries
10 Property correspondence
11 Missionary correspondence

The researcher should also consult Record Group 137, Secretaries' Files of the Central Brazil Mission, 1956-1972, and the card catalogues.

Because of the chronological arrangement initially imposed on this collection, materials from the South and Central Brazil Mission prior to 1938 have not been segregated into separate series as would otherwise have been desirable. No effort was made to segregate materials within the folders, other than a very tenuous chronological order. For instance, in any given folder the researcher can expect to find minutes, correspondence, reports and cables devoid of any kind of arrangement. The obvious defect of this arrangement scheme is that locating of specific materials may be difficult.

Box	Folder	Description
1	1	Finding Aid to Record Group 86


1   	2-34	Minutes, Reports, Correspondence, 1911-25

2   	1-17					         1926-30

3   	1-19					         1930-34

4   	1-17					         1935-40

5   	1-19					         1940-47

6   	1-19				          1947-48; 1952

7   	1-19					        1952-58

8   	1-17					        1960-65


9   	1-21 	Minutes, Reports, Correspondence, 1890-1947

10 	1-23						1948-61

11  	1-16 						1928-61


12	1	Bahia--Colegio Dois de Julho, 1924-55
	2	Bennett College, 1940-47
	3	Brazil Council, 1923-38
	4	Burity School, 1935-46; 1955
	5	Campinas Seminary, 1930-47
	6	Castro-Instituto Christao, 1912-41
	7	Curso Jose Manoel Da Conceicao, 1925-47; 1955
	8	Deputations, 1940-57
	9	Evangelical Confederation of Brazil, 1920-47
	10						1924-27
	11	Reports, 1925-35
	13	Ponte Nova, 1925-47; 1952
	12	Indian Work, 1924-33
	14	Ponte Nova - Grace Memorial Hospital, 1925-37
	15	Porto Feliz - Waddell Memorial Hospital, 1948
12	16	Presbyterian Church of Brazil, 1902-45
	17					 1944-47
	18	Umuarama, 1931-44
	19	Union Seminary, 1916-21
	20			    1921-46
	21	Miscellaneous correspondence/clippings, 1912-50