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Lillian Picken Papers

Call Number: RG 159

Scope and Contents

These papers provide valuable documentation of the work of an American woman missionary in western India. With her colleague Louise Fisher, Picken became deeply involved in social welfare, as well as evangelistic work, in the Indian villages where she served.

Series I, Correspondence of Lillian Picken, contains a long run of circular letters to Picken's supporters, which provide excellent detail regarding her missionary work. These letters are complemented by more personal correspondence, primarily with mission and Indian colleagues and friends. Picken maintained correspondence with Indian colleagues, particular her "adopted son" Sumitra Palve after her retirement. Series II, Correspondence of Others, contains a run of circular letters from Picken's colleague Lousie Fisher that supplements the documentation in Picken's correspondence, since they worked together closely.

Series III, Writings, includes writings of Picken on spiritual and mission topics as well as writings of others, mostly mission colleagues. The Notes of Series IV are primarily for Bible studies or talks that Picken gave while in the United States on furlough or after her retirement.

Series V, Subject File, contains material about the work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Satara, the Navraspur Spiritual Life Center, leprosy work, the Dohnavur Fellowship and Indian Girl Guides. Two notebooks provide extensive information about the Satara misison. In combination with annual reports and periodicals of the ABCFM, this material would provide valuable documentation of the character of mission work in this area, and the lives of the missionaries involved.

Series VI, Personal Items and Memorabilia, contains biographical documentation, documentation of Picken's speaking engagements, and various collected printed material of an inspirational character. Series VII, Photographs, includes photographs of Picken, Louise Fisher, Indian colleagues, etc.

Series VII includes Photographs and Slides of Lillian Picken and her colleagues as well as of the Nasrapur Spiritual Life Center, and other scenes in India.


  • 1921-1974


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from New York offices of United Church Board for World Ministries, 2000.


  1. I. Correspondence of Lillian Picken
  2. II. Correspondence of Others
  3. III. Writings
  4. IV. Notes
  5. V. Subject File
  6. VI. Personal Items and Memorabilia
  7. VII. Photographs and Slides


4.5 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, and collected materials document Picken's work and the work of the ABCFM in India beginning in 1928. Lillian Picken was an American missionary in India, serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, American Marathi Mission, later known as the United Church Board for World Ministries. She took part in educational, industrial, social, and evangelistic work in the Satara area of western India.

Biographical / Historical

Lillian Picken was born in Eureka, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State Teachers College (1908) and Colorado College (1912). She was assigned to Mumbai (Bombay) when she first went to India under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in 1914, but transferred to the Satara area in 1919, where she engaged in educational, industrial, social, and evangelistic work. She founded the Child Welfare Center in Waduth, the Spiritual Life Center at Nasrapur, and an inter-denominational welfare center at Satara. With her close colleague Louise Fisher she founded the Rural Roadside Leprosy Control Clinic in 1954. Picken retired in 1957.

Guide to the Lillian Picken Papers
Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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