The Burke Theological Library Receives $295,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation for Processing Historic Religious Archives
NEW YORK, January 24, 2011 –

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded $295,000 to The Burke Theological Library at Columbia University for the processing of the Missionary Research Library Archives and the William Adams Brown Ecumenical Archives. The award will span three years.


"This generous grant will provide for the full processing and preservation of these historic archival collections to the highest professional standards for scholarship, theological education, and service to communities around the world," said John Weaver, director of The Burke Library.

The Missionary Research Library (MRL) Archives contain over 160 unique collections from missionaries and missionary organizations from six continents in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special strength in early twentieth century China, Japan, and Korea. Because they emphasize field reports, demographic surveys, and other analytical data, the MRL Archives document the cultural realities of indigenous populations to a breathtaking level of detail, with relevance to scholars of religion, historians, anthropologists, economists, and medical researchers, among others.

The William Adams Brown (WAB) Ecumenical Archives contain over thirty archival collections initiated in 1945 at Union Theological Seminary as a source for the documentation and study of modern ecumenism. Today the WAB Archives include records of national and international ecumenical organizations, research reports from New York City associations of religious communities, and records from ecumenical conferences that have shaped global Christianity, including Protestant and Roman Catholic dialogue.

"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 the Henry Luce Foundation. "Although these collections are distinct from our own archives, they are clearly linked to two parts of our history—Henry R. Luce's intention to honor his parents, Presbyterian missionary educators in China; and the foundation's early support for Christian ecumenism."

The Henry Luce Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the development of religious leaders through theological education, and fostering scholarship that links the academy to religious communities and other audiences.

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary is world renowned, containing rich collections for theological study and research with holdings of over 700,000 items including unique and special materials. Throughout its long history, the Burke Library has maintained its commitment to the needs of both teaching and research, serving the faculty, students, and staff of Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, as well as a wide spectrum of national and international scholars and researchers.  For more information, please visit: /content/libraryweb/indiv/burke.html

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: /content/libraryweb

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