Historic Religion Archives Fully Available for Researchers

The project, which was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, began in the autumn of 2011 and ended in December 2014. The goal of the project was to preserve, catalog and make accessible the archival collections of MRL and WAB—two of the largest and most important archival collections of their kind. Finding aids for the MRL and WAB collections can be viewed on the Burke Library’s website. Researchers can access the collections in the Burke Library special collections reading room.

One of the Burke Library’s overarching, long-term goals for the MRL and WAB collections is to provide documentary support to research, teaching and learning about the individuals, communities, and indigenous cultures related to the global missionary and ecumenical movements. The Burke Library exceeded its goals and expectations for the project, making available over 180 collections. The project has enabled researchers throughout the world to discover and use the collections. As a result of this archival processing project, so far researchers have produced nine books; four articles; forty-three research papers, theses and dissertations; one film; and five presentations after consulting these archival collections.

The Burke Library and Columbia University Libraries are very grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for funding this project. The Burke Library is looking forward to continued success with our next three-year project, “Uncovering the Union Theological Seminary Archive.” The Henry Luce Foundation has provided financial support this project as well. 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: library.columbia.edu/burke

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.