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Margaret Flory Papers

Call Number: RG 86

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the career of Margaret Flory, ecumenist, leader in student religious work, and mission executive in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from 1944-1980 who established and directed innovative programs including Junior Year Abroad, Frontier Internships in Mission, and Bi-National Service. The Flory papers illustrate how the workings of various ecumenical mission and student organizations intersected and overlapped in the activities of one committed representative.

The first twelve of the fifteen series in this collection represent organizations with which Flory was associated. While it seemed wise to establish these series in order to provide a structure for the collection, it should be noted that Flory was involved in numerous, overlapping activities throughout her career and many of these organizations intersected with each other in various ways. For example, the Student Study Seminars documented in Series IV were sponsored by the United Campus Christian Fellowship (Series VI), a part of the National Student Christian Federation (Series VI), which was in turn a member of the World Student Christian Federation (Series VII), but they were administered by Flory in her capacity as director of the Office of Student World Relations (Series I) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (Series XI).

Flory's career was most centrally defined by her eighteen years (1951-1968) as the director of the Office of Student World Relations (called Office of Student Work until 1958), part of the Board of Foreign Missions/Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the United Presbyterian Church, recorded in Series I. During this time, Flory started the Junior Year Abroad program for college juniors (1953; Series III) and the Frontier Internship in Mission program for recent graduates (1960; Series II) and directed a series of Student Seminars for the United Campus Christian Fellowship (Series IV). Her work also included organizing international service opportunities for the Association of Presbyterian University Pastors (Series V). Although administered under Presbyterian auspices, all of these programs served a broader, ecumenical constituency. The ecumenical and international nature of Flory's service to students naturally led to a high level of involvement with the ecumenical student movement, both in the United States (Series VI) and internationally (WSCF; Series VII), and with the education and mission programs of the National and World Councils of Churches (Series VIII).

After a transitional three-year assignment in New Dimensions in Mission (1969-1971), Flory continued to serve in the newly-reorganized People in Mission Unit of the Presbyterian USA Program Agency as Associate for Human Resources. Although she no longer had the direct involvement with student programs that defined her prior assignment, her work continued to be shaped by the priorities and relationships she had developed in the Office of Student World Relations. She continued to oversee the Frontier Internship program until it made the transition to international administration in 1974, and she started a new program, Bi-National Servants (1971; Series IX), to encourage returned Frontier Interns and others with international experience to maintain their connection with their "country of relationship." She also oversaw programs including Mission to the USA, Three-Way Mission, and Overseas Associates, and served as president of the Association of North American Cooperating Agencies of Overseas Women's Christian Colleges for the Asian Women's Institute (Series X, see also AWI archives, RG 106). In 1978, she was called upon to lead an experimental program in Education for Mission: Involvement in Mission.

Series XI contains records of Flory's work for the Presbyterian Church other than through the Office of Student World Relations (Series I), including activities concurrent with her service in the OSWR but under other denominational structures, the latter third of her career with the People in Mission Unit, and post-retirement activities such as the 150 year celebration of Presbyterian Missions in 1987 and the Global Mission Conference in 1989. It also contains records related to divisions of the Presbyterian bureaucracy other than the missions board in which Flory was employed.

Flory's engagement with the other organizations in Series XII ranged from simply having received information about them in the course of her work to being a member to active leadership. Leadership roles held by Flory in these organizations are noted in the following contents listing.

Series XIII contains subject files and program resources collected by Flory in the course of her career, many of which relate to a number of the organizations covered in the first twelve series. For example, the internationalization of mission was a major interest of Flory, and there are internationalization files in most of the organizational Series I-XII, as well as general files on the topic of internationalization in Series XIII. Subject files may contain materials generated by, for, or about organizations represented in other series, but are filed here topically rather than by the organization name. The subject files convey major themes of Flory's ministry, such as her enduring interest in China and Latin America and her commitment to innovation in mission, to civil rights, and to student work.

Series XIV contains biographical materials and memorabilia, including materials from just some of Flory's extensive travels. Of note is the record of the "Friends of Margaret Flory" event in November 1980 to mark her so-called retirement (Flory found the term "retirement" an ill fit, since she remained at least as active in ministry after retirement as before). This event included a one-day symposium on "The International and Ecumenical Task of the Church in the Next Two Decades," during which participants reflected on issues that had been key concerns in Flory's career. The issues selected for these discussions provide an apt summary of some of the major themes treated in this archive:

  1. Church and University
  2. Student Movement
  3. Peace Making
  4. Internationalization of Mission
  5. Women's Role
  6. Church in Socialist Countries
  7. Human Rights
  8. Ecumenical Movement
  9. Education for Mission
  10. Racism/International Ecumenical Community


  1. Flory, Margaret, "Christmas at Stony Point," Outreach, Dec. 1951 [Box 76-728a].
  2. Flory, Margaret, "Drama with a Mission," Presbyterian Survey, Aug. 1953 [Box 94-1050a].
  3. Flory, Margaret, "Encounter in Study and Fellowship," Federation News, May-Aug. 1957 (no. 3-4), 73-78 [Box 21-113c].
  4. Flory, Margaret, "New Patterns of Obedience in Mission," Concern, June-July 1960, 24-25 [Box 39-245a].
  5. Flory, Margaret, "A New Ministry in a New World," Concern, October 1963 [Box 127-1367]
  6. Flory, Margaret, "The Same Gospel: A Changing Context," Horizons, Nov.-Dec. 1988, 12-13 [Box 78-762a].
  7. Flory, Margaret, "What Are Frontier Internships?" Concern, May 1962 (Thank Offering Issue), 3-4 [Box 13-76].
  8. Flory, Margaret and Alice Hageman, The University, theChurch and Internationalization, St. Louis: UMHE Publications Office, 1968 [Box 95-1063b].
  9. Todd, Kathleen, ed., Crossing Boundaries: Stories from the Frontier Internship in Mission Programme, Geneva: WCC Mission Series, No. 5, 1985.
  10. Flory, Margaret, Moments in time : one woman's ecumenical journey. New York : Friendship Press, c1995. [Box 110]
  11. Flory, Margaret, From Past to Future: Experiments in Global Bridging. New York : The History Project, World Student Christian Federation, c1997 [Box 110]
  12. Flory, Margaret, FIM in the Beginning. FIM Mission Series (pamphlet excerpt from From Past to Future.)
  13. Flory, Margaret, Dear house : mission becomes you : Gilmor Sloane House, Stony Point, New York, 1949-1999. Louisville, Ky. : Bridge Resources, c2000. [Box 110]


  • 1929-2009


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Margaret Flory.


  1. I. Office of Student World Relations (United Presbyterian Church, USA), 1950-1970
  2. II. Frontier Internship in Mission (FIM), 1960-2002
  3. III. Junior Year Abroad, 1952-2003
  4. IV. Student Study Seminars (UCCF/NSCF), 1946-1976
  5. V. Association of Presbyterian University Pastors, 1951-1967
  6. VI. Ecumenical Student Movement in the United States, 1955-2002
  7. VII. World Christian Student Federation (WSCF), 1949-2008
  8. VIII. National and World Councils of Churches, 1953-2004
  9. IX. Bi-National Service, 1972-2002
  10. X. Asian Women's Institute, 1960-1993
  11. XI. United Presbyterian Church, USA, 1945-2008
  12. XII. Other Organizations, 1954-2004
  13. XIII. Collected Materials, 1939-2003
  14. XIV. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1929-2009
  15. XV. Audio-Visual Materials, 1920s-2006

Related Materials

This collection complements a number of archival collections in the YDSL archives including the archives of the Frontier Internship in Mission, Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, the World Student Christian Federation, and the Asian Women's Institute.


62 Linear Feet (148 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, subject files, and collected material document the life and work of Margaret Flory and the many organizations with which she was associated throughout her long career in missions and student work. Margaret Flory was an ecumenist, leader of student religious work, and mission executive in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from 1944-1980 who began and directed innovative missions programs including Junior Year Abroad, Frontier Internships in Mission, and Bi-National Service.

Biographical / Historical

1914 May 13
Born in Wauseon, Ohio.
B.A. in English, Ohio University, Athens.
M.A. in Speech and Drama, Ohio University.
Taught at Alabama State College for Women, organized Presbyterian Association.
Director of the Westminster Foundation, Ohio University.
Took summer courses at Union Theological Seminary.
Commissioned as a missionary to China; studied Chinese language at UC Berkeley.
Served as Eastern Area Secretary for Women's Work, United Presbyterian Church USA (UPCUSA) Foreign Mission Board.
Traveled to Asia: taught at Tokyo Woman's Christian College, visited Korea, the Philippines and China.
Joined Church of the Master in New York City; later became the first white elder.
Director, Office of Student Work, UPCUSA (renamed Student World Relations in 1958).
Assigned responsibility for Overseas Scholarship Program
1952 November-1953 February
Around-the-world trip for Youth Emphasis Year of Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions (Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Paris, Amsterdam, Switzerland); attended General Assembly of WSCF in Nasrapur, India.
Chaired Youth Emphasis Year, UPCUSA Board of Foreign Missions.
Initiated Junior Year Abroad Program.
Chaired Planning Committee for 17th SVM (CWM) Quadrennial.
Director, Office of Student World Relations.
Chaired Planning Committee for 18th SVM (CWM) Quadrennial.
Initiated Frontier Internship in Missions Program.
Chaired WSCF Committee on Foreign Students.
Initiated International Study Fellowship on the University Ministry at Princeton Seminary (WSCF).
Chaired UPCUSA Committee on Internationalization of Mission; developed official policy for COEMAR.
Executive Secretary, Cooperating Committee for Tokyo Woman's Christian University.
Chaired WSCF New Headquarters Committee.
Sabbatical: study at Ecumenical Center in Bossey, Switzerland and CIDOC in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Special Assignment: New Dimensions in Mission, developing experimental missions programs (Presbyterian bureaucracy restructured).
Initiated Bi-National Service Program.
Initiated Politics and Theology Project.
Initiated Transnational Consultations.
President, North American Trustees of the World Christian Student Federation (WSCF)
Associate for Human Resources Planning, Ministries Through People in Mission Unit of the Program Agency, UPCUSA.
Oversaw transition of Frontier Internship Program to international administration.
Association of Christians for Women's Education and Development in Asia, Asian Women's Institute
Traveled to China.
Associate for Ecumenical Patterns of Sharing, Ministries Through People in Mission Unit of the Program Agency, UPCUSA.
Directed Education for Mission: Involvement for Mission Program (UPCUSA)
Traveled to Cuba; taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to church leaders.
Retired from PCUSA National Staff.
Minister in Residence, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California.
Ecumenical Resource Person in Residence, Gilmor-Sloane House, Stony Point Center, New York.
Led tour to China.
Remained active in retirement, including writing a number of books. See Flory's autobiographical writings for more information
2004 May
Margaret's 90th birthday was celebrated by a party at Riverside Church, NY and a weekend symposium.
2009 October 1
Died in North Carolina
Guide to the Margaret Flory Papers
Compiled by Rachel Maxson, Ingrid Lilly, Grace Pritchard Burson, Martha Lund Smalley, and Mary N.S. Richardson
2003, 2004, 2011, 2019
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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