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Student Christian Movement in New England Records

Call Number: RG 57

Scope and Contents

The papers provide valuable and relatively complete documentation of the changing format and concerns of Christian work among students in New England over a period of more than three decades. Each decade had its burning issues - the World War, civil rights, labor problems, the Vietnam War - and student response to the issues of their time is clearly evident both in the material produced by local college groups and in the programs of the SCM as a whole. Extensive correspondence documents, for example, student involvement in civil rights work through donations of time and money to Southern causes and through the formation of the Northern Student Movement, which was designed to aid minorities in the North. Another long-term project of the Student Christian Movement in New England provided support for the oppressed Student Christian Movement of Brazil.

The SCM in New England was not a highly centralized organization, and its archives came to the Library in no recognizable order. Detailed or sketchy records were kept, depending on the SCM staff person maintaining the files. The first series, COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS AND COUNCILS, includes material related to the administrative and policy-making units of the Student Christian Movement in New England. These committees generally had both adult and student membership and their names and number varied with the changing concerns of the Movement. The second series, COLLEGE FILES, reveals an interesting picture of the variation and relative strength or weakness of Christian groups on campuses throughout New England. The third series, CONFERENCES, contains information related to the various annual and one-time conferences and retreats which were perhaps the most vital activity of the SCM in New England. Included in this series are the records of the Legislative Assembly, later known as the Annual Representative Assembly, which gathered delegates from all member campus groups to assess and plan the work of the Movement.

The fourth, fifth and sixth series--PROGRAM MATERIALS, HISTORICAL REPORTS, and PUBLICATIONS--provide the clearest documentation of the specific issues which involved the SCM in New England during its years of existence. The RELATED GROUPS of Series VII refer to the various agencies and denominations which cooperated in the work of the SCM Folders labeled "University Christian Movement" document the formation and early activities of the SCM's successor.


  • 1926-1974


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.


  1. I. Committees, Commissions and Councils, 1930-1968
  2. II. College Files, 1929-1969
  3. III. Conferences, 1926-1968
  4. IV. Program Materials, 1938-1966, undated
  5. V. Historical Reports, 1934-1968
  6. VI. Publications, 1934-1967
  7. VII. Related Groups, 1930-1974
  8. VIII. Financial Material, 1929-1969

Related Materials

The papers of this record group are closely related to those of the Student Division of the YMCA, which are found in the Divinity Library's Record Group No. 58, as well as the papers of the New England Commission for United Ministries in Higher Education, Record Group No. 54.


21 Linear Feet (51 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers include correspondence, reports and minutes, study papers, printed material, and financial material. They constitute the official archive of the Student Christian Movement in New England (SCMNE) from its formation in 1934 to its dissolution in 1967. The papers contain information about the local Christian ministries programs of various colleges and universities in New England. These papers form part of a group of documentation at the Yale Divinity School Library of student work in New England, including the Archives of the YMCA-Student Division and the Archives of New England Commission for United Ministries in Higher Education. The Student Christian Movement was formed in 1934 by the YMCA, YWCA, and various Protestant denominations to promote cooperative religious work among college and university students in New England. In 1967, a reevaluation of the aims and future of the SCMNE resulted in a decision to change its name to University Christian Movement in New England (UCMNE) and all member groups were to change their affiliation to the UCMNE.

Biographical / Historical

The Student Christian Movement in New England was formed in 1934 as an agency designed to promote cooperative work among college and university students by various organizations and denominations. The policy of the Movement was to support the existing Christian groups on New England campuses rather than to create a new series of student units. The original participating organizations, the YMCA and YWCA, were joined by the Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist churches as "supporting" members and the Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Unitarian and Disciples of Christ churches as "participating" members. In addition to coordinating Christian student work efforts on the New England campuses, the Student Christian Movement in New England also provided a link with national and worldwide organizations such as the National Intercollegiate Christian Council, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Student Volunteer Movement and the World Student Christian Federation.

The Movement was governed by democratic councils which were representative of all constituent agencies and included student members. The SCM staff had three main functions: 1) to visit and counsel local groups, 2) to teach, preach and provide resource information, and 3) to interpret the purposes of the SCM in New England and its relationship to wider university movements. The various conferences, meetings, and projects of the SCM were designed to strengthen the Christian commitment of participating students and to provide opportunity for students to deal with the social problems of their time.

1965 and 1966 were designated as experimental years by the Student Christian Movement in New England, and many of its committees were restructured. The context of the organization changed in 1966 as a national University Christian Movement was formed to replace the National Student Christian Federation and the New England Commission for United Ministries in Higher Education began operation. A new focus of SCM activities was instituted in the fall of 1966 when "core groups" of students began to replace the SCM staff as the means of providing counsel and information for local campus groups.

In January of 1967, the national YMCA withdrew as a supporting member of the SCM A period of reevaluation of the aims and future of the Student Christian Movement in New England resulted in a decision made at the 1967 Annual Representative Assembly that the name of the Movement be changed to the University Christian Movement in New England and that all member groups of the SCM in New England become member groups of the UCM in New England.

Guide to the Student Christian Movement in New England Records
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.

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