Divinity Library Special Collections


Particular strengths of Special Collections at the Divinity Library are documentation of the Protestant missionary endeavor, records of religious work among college and university students, and papers of American clergy and evangelists. While the Divinity Library holds personal papers of numerous faculty members and a collection of memorabilia and publications related to life at Yale Divinity School, the official archives of the Divinity School are deposited in the Yale University Archives.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

The Divinity Library’s constituency includes the Divinity School, the Department of Religious Studies, and the University community at large.  As one of the world’s premier collections of documentation of missions and world Christianity, the Divinity Library serves the international community of scholars and regularly attracts researchers from around the world.


The collections include personal and organizational papers, reports, pamphlets, and ephemera related to various aspects of religious history.  

Formats collected

Special Collections at the Yale Divinity Library include nearly 5,000 linear feet of archival and manuscript material, as well as archivally-treated pamphlet collections, and extensive microfilm and microfiche holdings. 

Languages collected

The Divinity Library’s collections are in all languages. The missions collection, in particular, has a global reach, including documentation of world Christianity in indigenous languages. 

Chronological and geographical focus

Chronological focus: Collecting of archival materials focuses primarily on the early 19th century to the mid 20th century, but the Library collects rare books, pamphlets, and manuscripts relating to missions and world Christianity from all time periods and receives archives from ongoing organizations.

Geographical focus: The scope of the Divinity Library’s collections is global. 

Collaborations within Yale

Communication is maintained with colleagues at Manuscripts and Archives and Beinecke Library to prevent duplication of materials.