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Missionary Ephemera Collection

Call Number: RG 221

Scope and Contents

This finding aid represents an inventory of "missionary ephemera" held by the Yale Divinity Library. Images of some of the materials in the collection are featured in an online exhibit: Spreading the Word: A Selection of Missionary Posters, Games, and Ephemera from the Day Missions Collection. The descriptions of materials will be refined as possible in the future and additional images made available.

More than 100 Chinese posters in this collection have been digitized and described as part of the Chinese Christian Posters project at Boston University. See


  • 1795-2015

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The items were acquired by donation and purchase.


  1. I. Artifacts
  2. II. Calendars
  3. III. Cards
  4. IV. Children's Materials / Missions Teaching Tools
  5. V. Diplomas, Certificates, Receipts
  6. VI. Games
  7. VII. Maps
  8. VIII. Obituary Cards, Biographical Documentation
  9. IX. Posters, Illustrations, Banners
  10. X. Stamps, Stationery
  11. XI. Miscellaneous
  12. XII. Photographs and Filmstrips
  13. XIII. Lantern Slides and Glass Negatives


40 Linear Feet (68 archival boxes; 13 oversize boxes; oversize portfolios)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


This collection includes a wide range of missionary ephemera, including artifacts, calendars, cards, children's materials, games, maps, posters, stamps, photographs, and lantern slides.

Biographical / Historical

During the height of the missionary movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tens of thousands of missionaries went abroad, seeking to spread their Christian beliefs and bringing with them their devotion to Western civilization. This collection contains materials that were used to convey the missionaries' message to the people with whom they were working, including posters, broadsides, and tracts. It also includes materials used to encourage the home public to understand and support the missionary enterprise, including postcards, publications, calendars, collection boxes, artifacts, cards, and games.

Guide to the Missionary Ephemera Collection
Compiled by Martha H. Brundage and Martha L. Smalley
2014, 2017, 2021, 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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