United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations.
Secretaries' Files: Mexico Mission, 1867-1972 (bulk: 1911-1972).
Finding Aid to Record Group 87
26.00 cu.ft.

Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516

ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Presbyterians were the first Protestants to initiate missionary work in Mexico. Though the Board of Foreign Missions formally commenced work in 1872, it had in fact begun the task thirty-three years earlier, sending the Reverend and Mrs. William C. Blair and the Reverend Daniel Baker to the newly independent republic of Texas in a move designed to be a stepping stone to mission work south of the Rio Grande.

Until 1857, all forms of religion except Roman Catholicism were forbidden in Mexico. In that year, liberal leader Benito Juarez passed legislation permitting freedom of worship, thus encouraging the development of evangelical churches. In 1866, Melinda Rankin opened a school in Monterrey which was later transferred to Saltillo. Stirrings of independent thought manifested themselves in many of the northern towns and in Mexico City, resulting in the establishment of study groups under the direction of Arcadio Morales, T.F. Wallace, Maxwell Phillips, the Reverend C.C. Millar and Dr. J.M. Greene. In 1872, the General Assembly voted to establish a formal mission in Mexico, building upon the work of these earlier leaders. The Board appointed the Reverend and Mrs. Henry C. Thomson, the Reverend and Mrs. Maxwell Phillips, the Reverend Paul Henry Pitkin, the Reverend and Mrs. Merrill N. Hutchinson and Miss Ellen P. Allen as its first missionaries.

The Mexico Mission, like others throughout Latin America, operated on a decentralized basis. Administratively, only two stations existed: Central Station, founded in 1872, and Peninsula Station, founded in 1915. The former included Vera Cruz (1897) and Oaxaca (1919): the latter included the three states of Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and the territory of Quintano Roo. In 1915, a plan was devised among the various denominations operating in Mexico to address the uneven distribution of Protestant missionaries throughout Mexico. As a result of the "Cincinnati Plan," the Presbyterian Church surrendered its older established work in the States of Zacatecas, Guerrero and Michoacan and limited itself to the areas previously described.

Despite its legal status, Protestant mission work in Mexico was subject to both religious and political persecution. Tension between the Mexican and American governments thwarted the work of the Church. Strife among various Mexican political factions and the subsequent turmoil of civil war and revolution further retarded the work of the Church. The Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the enactment of legislation during the 1930s limited Protestant influence in such areas as ordination of ministers, education and the ownership of property. Though private worship was not to be interfered with, public worship was only to be held in church buildings specifically recognized by the State. Anticlericalism and fear of religious organizations in general formed the basis of these restrictions.

Despite these restrictions, the PCUSA ministered to the educational and evangelistic needs of the Mexican people. Though the mission did not engage in any regular medical work, it did conduct modest clinic work and it shared in the training of nurses in the Baptist Hospital in Puebla and in the Southern Presbyterian Hospital in Morelia. Schools were established in San Angel (later called Villa Obregon), Coyoacan and in the State of Oaxaca. Bible Training Schools also flourished in the Federal District, in Oaxaca and in Merida, Yucatan where the Turner-Hodge School for girls and boys attracted large numbers of students. Since the 1930s, the concept of Christian education had been increasingly difficult to implement given the rise of state- supported secular schools and the constitutional restrictions on religious instruction. Formal evangelical work, though also limited, was conducted among the military and the students. Small congregations, initially lead by missionaries of the PCUSA, were later served by Mexican evangelists trained in various Bible schools.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

Record Group 87 documents the work of the PCUSA in Mexico from 1867-1972. The bulk of the collection dates from 1911 through 1972. A variety of station and mission minutes and reports reflect the Mission's successes and failures from the perspective of mission personnel. The role of anticlericalism during this period of Mexican history is also well documented. Voluminous correspondence of the Mission Secretary, the Field Administrator and individual missionaries likewise reflect the Mission's work.

Record Group 87 is arranged as follows:

SERIES I: MINUTES, 1911-1970 Box 1

SERIES 2: REPORTS, 1896-1972 Boxes 1-4

SERIES 3: CORRESPONDENCE, 1867-1972 Boxes 5-16

SERIES 4: MISSION TREASURER, 1884-1967 Boxes 17-22

SERIES 5: MISCELLANY, 1904-1972 Boxes 23-26

NOTES TO THE RESEARCHER

Although the bulk of RG 87 is in English, many items dating from the mid-1950s are in Spanish, and a reading knowledge of that language would be helpful.

Archival material prior to 1911 has been microfilmed, though the quality of this work is less than desirable. Researchers should consult the microfilm calendars in the library. Researchers should also consult the library's holdings for printed materials that have been catalogued separately.


Collection partially inventoried: 1972
Grace Mullen, Assistant Records Researcher

Collection processed and finding aid prepared: 1983
Frederick J. Heuser, Jr., Archivist

Finding aid revised: January 1992
Stephanie Muntone, Processing Archivist

Box	Folder	Description
1	1	Finding Aid to Record Group 87

		SERIES I:  MINUTES, 1911-1970

1	2	Annual Mission Meeting Minutes, nd (1898?)
    	3-49					    1911-70
	50	Miscellaneous mission minutes, 1911-55
	51	Executive Committee Minutes, 1914-55: 1968
	52	Station Meeting Minutes, 1919-50


		SERIES 2:  REPORTS, 1896-1972

1	53	Annual Survey Reports, 1898-99; 1912: 1928-72
	54	Station Reports, 1897-25
   	55-58	Mission Statistical Reports, 1912-42

2   	1-33	Mission Personal Reports, 1896-1972

3   	1-11	Field Reports, 1896-1945
   	12-20  Institutional Reports, 1896-1970
	21	Mission Committee Reports, 1901-26

4   	1-16				           1927-70
	17	Mission Treasurer's Reports, 1911-66
	18	Miscellaneous Reports, 1924-50
		
		SERIES 3: CORRESPONDENCE, 1867-1972

		Subseries 1:  Mission Secretary, 1892-1969

5   	1-21	1892-1969

6	1	1953
    	2-3	Incoming/outgoing correspondence, 1961-63
    	4-14	Incoming correspondence, 1964-69
   	15-20	Outgoing correspondence, 1964-69

7   	1-3	General letters, 1953-69
    	4-6	Executive committee, 1955-63
    	7-8	Mission finances, 1952-68
    	9-10	Miscellaneous correspondence, 1917-23: 1969
	11	Ad Hoc Committee on Latin America, minutes, 1970
7	12	Appropriation Newsletters, 1953-54: 1963-70
	13	AGINP--Comite de Becas, 1958-71
	14		  Coatzacoalcos, 1968
	15		  Coyoacan meeting, 1965
	16		  Finanzas, 1950; 1965
	17		  Mensaje, 1969-70
	18		  Merida meeting, 1968
	19		  Monterrey meeting, 1966
	20		  Oaxaca, 1964
	21		  Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1968-71
	22		  Sec. Christian Education, 1965
	23		  Seminaria Nuevo, 1969-70
	24		  Union Nacional Femenil, 1954+
	25		  Veracruz, 1970
	26		  Villahermosa meeting, 1962
	27	Chicago Conference, 1970 
   	28-29	Clippings, 1971
	30	Colegio Americano, 1962+
   	31-33	COEMAR, 1969-71
	34	COC--Actions/index of meetings, 1966?
	35		Correspondence, 1960-68
	36		Finances, 1968
	37		Personal, 1962?-70
	38		Personal sub-committee, 1970
	39		Plans for post, 1972	
	40		Reports to General Assembly, 1962: 1964
	41		Templos y Capillas, 1970
	42		1969-70
	43		1962-70
	44	Communications Office, 1970

8	1	Education, 1960-63
	2	Education Office, 1969
    	3-4	Executive Committee, Ad interim actions/minutes,
		1924-70
	5	Finances, 1951-70
	6	General ledgers, 1969-70
	7	Goff, James, 1970-71
	8	Instituto Biblico del Sureste, 1971
	9	Leadership development, 1969-71
	10	McCloud, Oscar, 1971
	11	Medical Air Support Survey, 1971
	12	Medical Committee, 1969-70
8	13	Mexico--Constitution, 1946+
	14	Mexican property, n.d.
   	15-17	Mission Correspondence File, 1964-69
	18	Obra Cooperativa Actas, 1962-68
   	19-20	Miscellaneous items, 1940-70
	21	Mission Flying Program, 1947-56
	22	Mission Meeting Dockets, 1929-70
	23	Mission Rest House, 1970
	24	Missionary Maintenance Committee, 1967; 1970-71
	25	P.D.I. Furlough, 1968-70
	26	Personal Reports, 1970-71
	27	Personnel Office, 1969-70
	28	Representatives to Board, 1969
	29	Reports, 1930-70
	30	Rules for Mexico Mission, 1922, 1924, 1931, 1945, 1968? 	1970?
	31	Sanatorio Bethesda, 1956-70
	32	Statistics, 1961-72
	33	Volunteer Services, 1968-70
	34	Yearbook of Prayer, 1972
	
		Subseries 2:  Field Representative, 1898-1960

9	1	Central Station, 1956
	2	Colonization Project, 1956
	3	Commission Actions, 1958-59
	4			           1959-60
	5	Correspondence, 1958-59
	6				 1959
	7	General Assembly Actions/miscellaneous items, 1958-59
	8	Gulf Presbytery, 1958
	9	Juarez, 1952?
	10	Miscellaneous items, 1957-59
	11	Movimiento Estudiantil Cristiano, 1957
	12	Oaxaca Station, 1957
	13	Peninsula--Campeche, 1958
	14			 Instituto Biblico del Sureste, 1958
	15			 Quintano Roo, 1956-57
	16			 Rural Seminary, 1957
	17			 Xocenpich, 1958-59
	18			 Xocenpich Hospital, 1958-59
	19	Reports, 1958-59
	20	Statistics, 1951-56; 1958-59
	21	Student Work--Cems Monterrey, 1958-59
9	22	Tabasco Station, 1956
	23	Tabasco--Escuela Biblica Tabasquena, 1958
	24	Women's Work, 1958-60

		Subseries 3:  Property, 1867-1967

9	25	Coyoacan, 1931-33
	26	Expropriated properties, 1952-53
	27	H. Mission del Norte, 1964
	28	Historical resource file, 1928-29
	29	Instituto Juarez, 1928-54
	30	Latin American Office, minutes, 1965
	31	Members of Mexico Mission, 1872-70 (compiled in 1972)
	32	Miscellaneous items, 1898-1904
	33	National Properties, 1929-56
	34	Palacios, Roberto, 1962, 1967
	35	Property, 1897-1942
	36			1950-52
	37	Property Committee, 1928-55
	38			          1946-51
	39				   1962
	40	Properties, general, 1936-67
	41	Property, 1951-56
	42	Property lists, 1952-67
	43	Properties, 1953-57
	44	Property seizures/protests, 1933-37
	45	Properties, return of, 1952-54
	46	Survey, Instituto Juarez/Colegio Americano, 1962
	47	Tabasco, 1962-63
	48	Tacubaya, 1928
	49	Transfer of Churches from Mission to Presbyteries, 1928-35
	50	Turner Hodge, 1929-58
	51	Veracruz, 1962-64
	52	Yucatan, 1962-64

10  	1-43	Miscellaneous mission property records, 1867-1967

11  	1-17	Missionary Correspondence, 1913-32

12  	1-26					1933-55

13  	1-6					1956-65
    	7-10	Correspondence with non-missionaries, 1926-40
13  	11-16	Board Letters to Mission, 1897-1925

14  	1-8					1926-55
    	9-17	Calendared Correspondence, 1911-19

15  	1-6					1920-25
    	7-17	Executive Committee Correspondence, 1897-1940

16  	1-29	Executive Committee Correspondence, 1941-71

		SERIES 4:  MISSION TREASURER, 1884-1967

17  	1-6	Reports, 1951-65

18  	1-10	Miscellaneous Ledgers, 1884-1944

19  	1-9					   1942-54

20  	1-13					   1949-65

21  	1-4					   1963-67

22		Mission ledger cards, 1930s-40s?

		SERIES 5:  MISCELLANY, 1904-1972

23	1	Aguascalientes property, 1919-37
	2	Appropriations/estimates, 1939-55
	3					1956-72
	4	Audio-visual-radio, 1961-71
	5	Bethesda Hospital, 1968-70
	6	Cables, 1932-70
	7	Casa Unida De Publications, 1965
	8	Centro Intercultural de documentation, 1969-70
	9    						    1971-72
	10	Chiapas, state of, 1911-24
	11   			    1925-37
	12	Christian Literature Committee, 1957
	13	Church correspondence, 1956-61
   	14-20				    1962-71
	21	Cincinnati Plan, 1940
	22	Colegio Americano, 1961-70
	23	Comision Evangelica Latino Americano de Educacion Cristiana, 1963-65

24	1	Cooperative Work, 1916-40
	2	Coyoacan, 1909-31+
	3	Education Committee, 1956-61
	4	Estudio & Sobre Las Misiones, 1928
	5	Executive Committee, 1918-27
	6				 1928-44
    	7-8	Executive secretary, correspondence, 1924-31
    	9-12	General correspondence, 1926-71
	13	Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de Coyoacan, 1919-23?
	14	Industrial Evangelism, 1960-62
   	15-16	Institutional correspondence, 1956-71
	18	Interchurch services, 1958
	19	Items re political situation in Mexico, 1928; Items re
		plan of cooperation between N.P.C. and mission, 1928-29
	20	Joint Field Secretary, 1972
	21	List of missionaries in Mexico Mission, 1905
	22	Joint Field Secretary, 1970-71
   	23-24	Merida--Turner Hodge School, 1919-47

25	1	1957
	2	Mexican government, 1912-27
	3	Mexicans in Texas, 1914-15
	4	Mexico City--proposed Christian University, 1919-23
	5			   Union Press, 1919-26
	6			   Union Press, 1927-47
   	7-8	Mexico Conference, 1913-17
	9	Miscellaneous correspondence, 1914-21
	10	Mission Press, 1897-26
	11	Mission Projects, 1956-71
	12	Mission publications, 1926-39
	13	Oaxaca and Orizaba property, 1920-22
   	14-15	Petran, the Rev. Charles, 1908-35
	16	Photographs--First Reunion of Synod of Mexico, 1901
	17			   Thomas E. Wallace, 1904?
				   Dr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt (2), 1946-47
	18			   unidentified, n.d.
   	19-20	Presbyterian Church in Mexico, 1904-47
	21	Presbyterian Seminary, 1904-46
  	22-26	Property, 1908-68

26	1		    1956-69
	2	Protestant Center for Studies, 1963
26	3	Saltillo School, 1904-30
	4	San Angel School, 1923-24
	5	Theological Community, 1968-71
    	6-8	Union Theological Seminary, 1914-45
	9	Union Press, 1929?-31?