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.

Finding aid for the Missionary Postcard Collection, Record Group 101.   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 websites:


Photographs and slides from many of the Divinity Library's archival collections have been digitized and are available in the Divinity Library Photographs section of the Yale University Library Digital Collections site.  

Additional online photographs are available at separate sites. The Nepal Church History Project photos from Record Group 215 relate to the early history of Nepali Church in North India, its development in Nepal since 1951, and its outreach in the wider diaspora countries.  The finding aid for Record Group 215 describes the entire collection. 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. Within the Missionary Ephemera Collection, the Lin Collection of Lantern Slides and Photographs is of particular interest for its early documentation of scenes in China.

Many other photographs have not yet been digitized.  Search Archives at Yale for "photographs" to locate collections of interest.


The Missionary Ephemera Collection (Record Group 221), includes posters, educational materials, stamps, games, artifacts, etc. More than 100 Chinese posters from this collection have been digitized and are available at http://ccposters.com/library/yale-divinity-library.