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Series IV: Financial Correspondence and Records

Call Number: RG 42, Series IV

Scope and Contents

The Financial Correspondence and Records of Series IV comprise twenty linear feet plus twelve oversize volumes. It is evident from the quantity of financial records and from perusal of the general correspondence and committee records of the Student Volunteer Movement that financial survival was a major focus for the Movement's energies. There were those who thought that this focus tended to obscure the real objectives of the Movement. There were many who objected to the frequency and insistent nature of SVM requests for contributions. Writing in 1932, former SVM traveling secretary Weyman C. Huckabee suggested that administrative overload was a major problem for the Movement. During the time when Huckabee traveled for the SVM only one-quarter of the Movement's budget was devoted to "field cultivation" operations, direct contact with volunteers and prospective volunteers. He felt that some of the energy consumed by innumerable financial solicitation letters should be redirected into field work.(Weyman C. Huckabee, "The History and Significance of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions" (unpublished MA thesis, Duke University, 1932), p. 179.)

In its early years the Student Volunteer Movement had been dependent on a few wealthy contributors for a significant portion of its budget. As the general state of the economy, the effects of income tax legislation, and proliferating appeals worked to reduce the contributions of former major supporters, the Movement was forced to find a broader base of smaller contributors toward its work. An interesting exchange of correspondence in Series III points to the fact that John R. Mott's long-time cultivation of wealthy supporters was not without its drawbacks.

E. Fay Campbell wrote to Jesse Wilson in April of 1935:

I believe . . . that the SVM is paying the price of having been

supported for so long by a few of Mott's rich friends....It's not your fault that things have gone from bad to worse. It is the way the show was set up. It must be changed somehow. For your eyes only, of course --- and Louise's --- but every one of Dr. Mott's organizations is in the same boat --- WSCF, YMCA World's YMCA, etc. He was and is a great man and a loyal Christian. But he is the religious counterpart of the great barons of wealth --- Rockefeller, Gould, Vanderbilt, etc. That's not a new idea but you are paying for it and it is a tough price to pay.(SVM archives, Series III, Campbell to Wilson, April 1935.)

This series is divided into three sections:

A. Older file of financial correspondence

The letters in this alphabetical sequence date from the early 1900s to approximately 1943. They are generally requests for contributions with responses and follow-up. General folders labeled with letters only (e.g. "Ab" - "Ak") are followed by folders with individually listed names of more notable contributors.

B. More recent file of financial correspondence.The letters in this alphabetical sequence date from the period 1941 to 1951. They are arranged in the same manner as those of section "A."

C. Financial records: The financial records in Series IV are primarily bound volumes representing various aspects of the Movement's financial operations. There are cash books, invoice registers, budget statements, records of payments by contributors, employee payment records, bank books, etc. One notebook is related to the investment of the $55,000, in cash and bonds which Eli Kirk Price gave to the SVM in 1926. Of particular interest are the records of contributors' payments covering the period 1901 to 1932 which indicate the annual receipt of gifts from major supporters such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The financial records in this section date primarily from the middle years of the Movement's existence; there are no records from before 1900 or after 1943. Financial material related to the SVM publishing and literature distribution functions is located in Series VII. Financial material related to the SVM quadrennial conventions is located in Series VIII. Other financial material is available in the records of the Finance Committee found in Series V.


  • 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 University Divinity School Library Repository

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