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Divinity Library Photographs

This collection consists of photographs from manuscript and archival collections held at the Divinity Library. Currently the photographs in this collection relate primarily to missions and world Christianity. They include the Divinity Library's contributions to the International Mission Photography Archive hosted by the University of Southern California, as well as photographs previously delivered by the Library's China Colleges and Universities Image Database. The photographs date from 1855 to 1978. Sort by Date to view the earliest photographs, which come from the papers of Henry Harris Jessup, a missionary in Syria from 1856 to 1910. 

Photographs in this collection include ones taken by individual missionaries as well as on behalf of missionary agencies and institutions. There are examples of the physical influence the mission presence brought, such as churches and mission compounds, as well as examples of the cultural impact of mission teaching and Western influence, including schools, hospitals, and Western technology and fashions. The photographs also offer views of indigenous peoples, traditional culture, landscapes, cities, and towns before and in the early stages of modern development.

The Day Missions Collection at the Yale Divinity Library is known as the preeminent North American collection for documentation of the history of the missionary enterprise and the development of Christianity throughout the world. The establishment of Christian missionary societies engaged in overseas evangelism, education, and medical work was an important social movement that emerged in the nineteenth century. By midcentury most Protestant denominations and many Catholic orders had created mission agencies and were actively recruiting missionaries to work in foreign lands.

For more information about this digital collection, contact the Divinity Library via email ( or phone 203-432-5289.