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Series II: Volunteer and Inquirer Correspondence

Call Number: RG 42, Series II

Scope and Contents

A crucial element in the operations of the Student Volunteer Movement was its extensive correspondence with volunteers and prospective volunteers. Personal letters were used to provide guidance and answer specific inquiries. Form letters were used to welcome, encourage and check up on volunteers. The Volunteer and Inquirer Correspondence of Series II differs from the General Correspondence of Series III and the Financial Correspondence of Series IV in that it centers around the individual volunteer or prospective volunteer, his or her introduction to the Movement, progress toward placement, and continued or discontinued relationship with the Movement. Because of overlap in the Movement's filing system, it is possible that one may find in Series II letters soliciting contributions from volunteers or a few letters which deal more with policy or general issues than with the personal progress of the volunteer. These, however, are the exception rather than the rule.

The over eighty-five linear feet of letters in Series II date from the early 1900s to the late 1950s. The correspondence is divided into three sections:

A. Older file of primarily volunteer correspondence

The letters in this alphabetically arranged file of volunteer correspondence date primarily from the 1920s and 1930s. An information sheet about the volunteer is often attached to the front of the correspondence.

B. Older file of primarily inquirer correspondence

This alphabetically arranged file is from the same time period as "A". It includes letters to and from individuals inquiring about the Movement, individuals reported to be interested in missions, individuals

seeking missions placement, and individuals who had signed the SVM declaration card but had not followed through in completing their affiliation with the Movement.

C. More recent file of volunteer and inquirer correspondence

Beginning around 1942 a new file of volunteer and inquirer correspondence was established which reflected the evolving modes of operation of the Student Volunteer Movement. This alphabetically arranged file includes not only correspondence but also interview records and introduction sheets. These forms provide information similar to that provided by the earlier application blanks of Series I but are retained in this section in order to maintain the integrity of the SVM filing system. The forms and correspondence in this section are related to both actual and prospective volunteers, as well as to individuals who did not intend to volunteer but were interested in missions. The interview records were filled out by Student Volunteer Movement traveling secretaries after personal interviews with interested students on the campuses they visited. They conclude with the interviewer's evaluation of the student's potential for success as a missionary. The introduction sheets in this section appear to be standardized forms which were filled out by students interested in missionary vocations and sent to the Student Volunteer Movement for transferral to appropriate denominational missions boards or sending agencies. The correspondence in this section is similar to that in sections "A" and "B" above, but is from the approximate period 1942 to 1957.

Following these three sequences of correspondence are a few folders of general material related to the SVM Candidate Department's procedures and policy.


  • 1886-1964


Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

The materials are open for research.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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