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Series III: General Correspondence

Call Number: RG 42, Series III

Scope and Contents

While the correspondence of Series II centers around the individual volunteer or inquirer, the General Correspondence of Series III centers around the life of the Student Volunteer Movement itself - - its policies, operations, and relationships with other organizations. Over seventeen linear feet of letters are organized alphabetically by the name of the person with whom the SVM headquarters staff was corresponding. The arrangement of this Series is somewhat complex due to the fact of a constantly changing headquarters staff and the fact that some of the letters were exchanged between colleagues on the SVM staff.

The main alphabetical sequence of the Series consists of folders labeled with the names of frequent or notable correspondents. The letters of each individually-noted correspondent are arranged in chronological order. In the cases of leaders of the Movement, the correspondence found in the folders labeled with their names is primarily correspondence from periods when they were not in principal leadership of the Movement. In the case of Robert Wilder, for example, there would be no correspondence arranged under his name for the period 1920 to 1927 when he served as General Secretary of the Movement except with his personal secretaries at the headquarters office. The bulk of correspondence from that period would be filed under the name of the person with whom he, as headquarters staff, was corresponding. When there is correspondence between two SVM staff colleagues the letters are located under the name of the more peripheral staff member. For example, letters exchanged between Executive Chairman John R. Mott and Educational Secretary Harlan P. Beach would be filed under Beach's name.

Following the alphabetical sequence of frequent or notable correspondents are several brief sequences which represent the routine or less important correspondence of the administrations which led the Movement from 1888 to 1958. No correspondence will be found in these brief sequences for individuals who are listed in the sequence of frequent or notable correspondents. The ten administrations of the SVM were as follows:

l888-1896 : Mott era. During this period before a strong General Secretary position was established, it is considered that John R. Mott was the central leader of the Movement. Toward the latter part of this period H. B. Sharman was designated General Secretary

1897-1919: Fennell P. Turner administration

1919-1927: Robert P. Wilder administration

1927-1936: Jesse R. Wilson administration

1936: Andrew T. Roy administration (acting General Secretary)

1937-1940: Paul J. Braisted administration

1940-1943: R. H. Edwin Espy administration

1943-1948: Winburn T. Thomas administration

1948-1954: Edward H. Johnson administration

1954-1958 : Lucius Newton Thurber administration

In the Turner administration sequence, for example, the SVM correspondents nvolved would include not only General Secretary Turner but also Harlan P. Beach, Burton St. John, William P. McCulloch and other secretaries who served during that period. These less substantive files of each administration are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.


  • 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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