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Open for research. Medical, educational, and psychological records of living people are closed.
The office of Educational Secretary was created by the Executive Committee of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in 1912. It was reorganized as the Educational Department and later the Division of Interpretation. The office continued to perform its primary function of keeping the church informed about its foreign mission work as the ECFM was reorganized as the Board of World Missions (1949) and the Division of International Mission (1973). The work of the Educational Department/Division of Interpretation was done through several offices which coordinated special programs and conferences; produced missionary literature; distributed films, slides, and other audio-visual materials; published and distributed printed "missionary letters" from various fields; and coordinated speaking engagements and visits by missionaries at churches, missionary societies, and denominational conferences.
The Missionary Correspondence Department (MCD) was the office responsible for reproducing and distributing letters from missionaries to the home church. Each missionary wrote letters home, and the MCD reproduced and distributed them to congregations and individual supporters on the missionary's mailing list.
After the 1983 reunion of the PCUS and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), the Missionary Correspondence Program continued under the Stewardship and Communication Development Unit of the General Assembly Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and later under the Congregational Ministries Division (1993) and the Worldwide Ministries Division (1997).
This collection consists of letters sent by foreign missionaries to the office of the Missionary Correspondence Department and mimeographed or printed versions of letters prepared by the department for circulation. The collection is arranged in two series: Series I: Missionary Correspondence Department Letters by Name, 1924-1973; and Series II: Missionary Correspondence Department Letters by Country, 1919-2000.
The Missionary Correspondence Department Letters by Name series includes original letters from missionaries, as well as mimeographs made by the department. There is some duplication between the letters in this series and in Series II. This series includes some letters written by missionaries following their retirement from the field or during furloughs in the United States. At the end of this alphabetical run is a set of circular letters written by Brazil missionaries to supporters of the Undergirders' Prayer Fellowship.
The Missionary Correspondence Department Letters by Country series is arranged alphabetically by country and then by year. The vast majority of this series consists of mimeographs or printed letters produced by the Missionary Correspondence Department. Note that letters written from a third country where missionaries were undergoing preparatory study are often filed under the country to which the missionaries would eventually be sent (for example, many letters written from Belgium are filed under the Congo).
SERIES I: MISSIONARY CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT LETTERS BY NAME, 1924-1973
SERIES II: MISSIONARY CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT LETTERS BY COUNTRY, 1919-2000
The Presbyterian Historical Society holds additional resources related to this collection:
RG 505, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. Board of World Missions. Office of the Executive Secretary Records, 1881-1973, bulk 1912-1973.
Materials transferred to the Historical Foundation of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches and the Presbyterian Historical Society from the Missionary Correspondence Department, Office of the Executive Secretary of the Board of World Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., and the Stewardship and Communication Development Unit, Worldwide Ministries Division of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Additional materials received from the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2008.
Collection processed and guide prepared in August 2018 by Jennifer Barr.
Missionary Correspondence Department Letters, RG 510, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.