Missionary postcards, images, and ephemera


The Yale Divinity Library holds more than 25,000 missionary postcards. These postcards were produced by mission sending agencies and distributed throughout Europe and America with the intent of promoting support for the missions' work and providing information about non-Western peoples and customs. The majority of the postcards relate to African countries but the following countries are also represented: Arabia; Argentina; Australia; Bahama; Barbados; Bolivia; Brazil; Burma; Cambodia/Laos; Canada; Carolina Islands; Ceylon; Chile; China; Colombia; Cook Islands;Ecuador; Egypt; Fiji; Gilbert Islands; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; India; Indonesia; Jamaica; Japan; Korea; Malaysia/Singapore; Mexico; Peru; Philippines; Romania; Russia; Samoa; Venezuela, etc.

Inventory of the collection.

Geographical Index of the collection.

The postcards can be browsed in the Special Collections Reading Room.

More than 6,000 postcards have been digitized and are accessible via the following two websites:

Additional postcards will be digitized as time and funds permit.


Photographs and slides from many of the Divinity Library's archival collections have been digitized and are available Divinity Library Photographs section of the Yale University Library Digital Collections site. Many other photographs have not yet been digitized.  Search the Yale Finding Aid Database for "photographs" to locate collections of interest.

The Lin Collection of Lantern Slides and Photographs is a recent addition to the Library's collection, which is not yet fully processed.  A preliminary inventory of the lantern slides in this collection is available, with links to available digital images.  The Missionary Ephemera Collection described below includes photographs and lantern slides that are not associated with the personal papers of particular individuals or archives of organizations.


Also of note is the Library's extensive collection of missionary "ephemera" including posters, educational materials, stamps, games, artifacts, etc.  See the finding aid for this collection at http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/divinity.221.