Skip to main content

Series V: Organization and Policy Records

Call Number: RG 42, Series V

Scope and Contents

The documentation contained in Series V is central for the study of the Student Volunteer Movement's evolving policies, operations, and relationships. The over ten linear feet of records dating approximately from 1883 to 1956 include minutes of meetings, memoranda, reports, and personnel records. The basic organizational arrangement of the Movement changed frequently and was supplemented by a variety of special commissions and committees. In the interests of clarity, this series has been arranged on a chronological basis. For each year the material is divided according to the administrative, legislative and study units which existed during that particular year. For example, for the year 1947 there may be records for the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Finance Committee, the Personnel Committee and the Special Commission on the Future of the Student Volunteer Movement. A "miscellaneous" category under some years contains material not directly related to a specific unit. Material within the unit categories is arranged in general chronological order.

The names and relationships of the various administrative units are somewhat confusing. For example, as the committee structure evolved, in 1920 the Standing Committee was the interim body of the Executive Committee; in 1926 the Administrative Committee was the interim body of the General Council; in 1936 the Executive Committee was the interim body of the General Committee; in 1941 the Executive Committee was the interim body of the Board of Directors, and so forth.

Of particular interest for study of SVM policy are the records of special commissions set up in 1925, 1933, and 1947 to evaluate the work and plan for the future of the Movement. The 1925 Commission on Inquiry dealt with issues such as the SVM's relation to home missions work, rewording of the declaration card, the Canadian SVM situation, the watchword, relationships with other organizations, and the "colored" student problem. Material related to the 1933 Commission to Study the Work of the Student Volunteer Movement includes numerous questionnaires sent to campuses across the United States to evaluate the status of student missionary interest. The aim of the 1947 Special Commission on the Future of the Student Volunteer Movement was to find "a basis of appeal for missionary recruitment that was as vital (a) theologically and (b) in terms of the needs of our times, as the original psychology of the SVM was for its time." (SVM archives, Series V, Special Commission on the Future of the Student Volunteer Movement, Minutes, June 27, 1947.)It recommended distinct policy changes for the Movement, including re-establishment of local SVM campus fellowship groups.

In the first folder of this series is material related to predecessors of the Student Volunteer Movement, including a notebook from the group begun by Robert Wilder at Princeton in 1883. Following the chronological sequence of this series are three folders containing material related to the SVM watchword (1896-1916, n.d.) and four folders of material related to the questions of racial discrimination in the missionary endeavor (1920-1958). It seemed wise to retain a topical arrangement for these materials rather than scattering them throughout the chronological sequence.


  • 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

409 Prospect Street
New Haven CT 06511 US
(203) 432-5301

Opening Hours