United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations.
Secretaries' Files: Syria Mission, 1894-1972 (bulk: 1911-1968)
Finding Aid to Record Group 90
16.00 cu.ft.

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

RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS

Collection open for research

ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

American Protestant work in Syria dates from 1819, when Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons, representatives of the American Board of Foreign Missions, arrived in Smyrna with the objective of initiating missionary work in the Jerusalem area. Following the reunion of the Old School/New School Presbyterian Churches in the US in 1870, the American Board's Syria Mission was transferred to the Board of Foreign Missions.

The work of the Presbyterian Church in Syria was conducted through four main stations, three of which were taken over from the American Board. These included Beirut, occupied in 1823; Tripoli, opened in 1848; and Sidon, occupied in 1851. The last station, Aleppo, was opened by the Board of Foreign Missions in 1920. In addition to these four stations and their sixty-three outstations, these were several substations. Suk-el-Garb, started by the American Board in 1848, was part of the Beirut station, as was Zahleh. Hama and Deir-ez-Zore were both substations of the Aleppo station. The work of the Syria Mission transcended three distinct states: Lebanon, which encompassed the stations of Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon and the substation of Zahleh; Latakia, where the Mission performed limited work in certain villages; and Syria, where work was conducted in the cities of Hama, Aleppo and Deir-ez-Zore.

The conflict between Christian and Moslem - a dominant and recurring theme throughout Syria's history - presented the Mission with a diversity of problems unknown in other mission fields. The division of the population along religious lines resulted in internecine warfare throughout Syria/Lebanon. This had an unsettling effect on the mission's educational, medical and evangelistic work. Despite this turmoil, the Mission was able to effect progress, especially ln the area of educational and medical assistance. Schools and medical work were a part of the Christian enterprise in Syria throughout the Mission's history. Such institutions as the American School for Girls, the Syrian Protestant College (later known as the American University of Beirut), the Tripoli Girls' School, and the Gerald Institute manifested the Church's educational ministry in Syria. Medical work was carried on in three centers: the Hamlin Memorial Sanitarium for tubercular patients; the Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Tripoli; and the Deir-ez-Zore Hospital in the remote northern desert.

The first evangelical church in Syria was organized in Beirut in 1848, and by 1921, the existing three presbyteries united to form a synod. Though a Syrian Evangelical Church was organized, its communicants remained small in number and the Church continued to function with the Mission until 1959. In that year, the American Presbyterian Mission in Syria-Lebanon was dissolved and its work and program integrated into the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

Record Group 90 documents the evangelistic, educational and medical mission of the PCUSA
and to a lesser extent that of its successor, the UPCUSA, in Syria-Lebanon, 1894-1972. Although the collection dates from 1895 through the early 1970s, the bulk of the collection dates from 1911-1968. This collection reflects the turbulent political forces that have dominated Syria/Lebanon's history during the 20th century, and illustrates the difficulty of conducting mission work there under the conditions of internecine religious warfare.

RG 90 is arranged as follows:

SERIES 1: MINUTES, 1911-1970 Box 1

SERIES 2: REPORTS, 1903-1972 Boxes 2-4

SERIES 3: CORRESPONDENCE, 1911-1972 Boxes 4-13

SERIES 4: MISCELLANY, 1895-1971 Boxes 14-16

NOTES TO THE RESEARCHER

Researchers should consult Record Group 115, Syria Mission Records, as well as the library's holdings for complementary materials.

Materials from this collection dating before 1911 are available on microfilm, although the quality is poor.

Collection inventoried and preliminary finding aid prepared: 1972
Grace Mullen, Assistant Records Researcher

Collection processed and finding aid prepared: 1983
Frederick J. Heuser, Jr, Archivist

Box	Folder	Description
1	1	Finding Aid to Record Group 90

		SERIES 1:  MINUTES, 1911-1970

    	2-7	Annual Mission Minutes, 1911-55
    	8-9	Minutes--National Evangelical Synod of Syria/Lebanon, 1954-70
   	10-15	Executive Committee Minutes, 1926-62
   	16-18	Committee Minutes, 1931-60

		SERIES 2:  REPORTS, 1903-1972

2	1	Annual Mission Reports, 1911-63 (incomplete)
    	1a	Annual Mission Reports, 1964-72
    	2-10	Personal Reports, 1920-72
   	11-15	Station Reports, 1903-35

3   	1-12	Institutional Reports, 1911-69
   	13-17	Committee Reports, 1911-64

4   	1-3	Statistical Reports, 1911-43

		SERIES 3:  CORRESPONDENCE, 1911-1972

4    	4-8	Board Letters to Syria Mission, 1926-54
    	9-13	Near East Field Representative, 1950-54

5   	1-3					    1960-62
    	4-14	Regional Secretary, 1965-68

6   	1-19	Executive Secretary, 1926-58

7   	1-9			          1958-64

8   	1-14	Institutional Correspondence, 1948-61

9   	1-15					1962-72

10  	1-18	Missionary Correspondence, 1914-41

11  	1-13				           1942-61

12  	1-3				           1963-64
	4-18	Calendared Correspondence, 1911-25

13  	1-6	Mission Newsletters, 1927-59
    	7-14	Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1926-68

		SERIES 4:  MISCELLANY, 1895-1971

14	1	Aleppo College--Minutes, 1938-45
	2				Reports/Miscellaneous Items, 1935-44
	3				Calendared Correspondence, 1895-1935
	4								1936-45
	5				 Correspondence, 1921-47
	6	American Community School--Minutes/Correspondence, 1921-47
	7	American Junior College for Women--Calendared Correspondence, 1924-47
	8								           Reports, 1927-42
	9							          Correspondence, 1935-36
	10								 		  1930-31
	11								 		  1927-47
	12	American School for Girls--Correspondence/Reports, 1923-45
	13	American Junior College for Women--Photograph album, 1940-41
	14	Beirut cemetery, 1912-35
	15	Choueir property, 1899-1947
	16	Dana, Charles, 1922-23
	17	Deir-ez-Zore Hospital, 1929-45
	18	Deputation reports, 1938
	19	Eddy, Dr. Mary, 1914-17
	20			   1918-24
	21	Educational Survey Report, 1957-58
	22	El Manara (Fraternal Workers' Newsletter), 1970-71
	23	Estimates/Appropriations, 1936-48

15	1          1949-67
	2	Five Year Plan, 1948
	3	Fowler, Arthur B, 1919-21
	4	Gerard Institute, 1904-47
	5	Girls' School (Sidon), 1913-44
	6	Girls' School (Tripoli), 1926-44
	7	Hamlin Memorial Sanatorium, 1909-26
	8					   1920-57
	9	Homs School, 1919-22
	10	Hamlin Memorial Sanatorium, 1920-21
	11	Historical file, 1950-64
	12			1954-63
	13	Kennedy Memorial Hospital, 1933-45
	14	Malik, Charles, 1960
	15	Mardin Station, 1918-30
	16	Miscellaneous items, 1914-47
	17	Mission Press, Correspondence, 1914-47
	18			             Reports, 1900-45
	19			Correspondence, 1919-21

15	20			    1923-26
   	21-22	Near East Radio, 1961-64
	23	Near East Relief, 1918-22

16	1	Near East School of Theology, 1931-46
	2	Protestant Synod of Syria and Lebanon, 1923-46
	3	Remittances, 1941-45
	4	Rules and Regulations of the Syria Mission
	5	Suk-el-Garb Church, 1914-34
	6	Syrian Protestant College (American University of Beirut), 1902-40
	7	Syria Rehabilitation Fund, 1918-37
	8	United Missionary Council, 1934-36
	9	Unites States State Department, 1917-18