Skip to Main Content

Anatolia College Archives and Special Collections: Documents from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was a Protestant agency founded in 1810 and chartered by the state of Massachusetts in 1812 to send missionaries abroad, primarily for religious motives, but also to pursue general altruistic labor, including opening schools and hospitals. Between 1820-when its first personnel arrived in Smyrna, today's Izmir- and the second decade of the twentieth century, the ABCFM established more  than twenty mission stations in Anatolia and the Balkans, which mainly served local Christian populations, chiefly Armenian and Greek. For organizational purposes, it eventually divided its work in these territories into four separate administrative units: the European, Western, Central, and Eastern Turkey Missions. Anatolia College was founded at the Merzifon Seminary on 1886 and belonged to Eastern Turkey Missions.

The ABCFM archive primarily includes correspondence of the American Bord Heyeti's financial officers in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) and reports by staff, committees, and mission stations in Turkey. It includes correspondence and financial reports that document the activities of mission stations and component schools, seminaries, medical facilities, orphanages, evangelistic work . Records include rich information about local communities in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. While most records are organizational records, some personal papers such as those of Elias Riggs and his family are included. Also found are photographs of mission stations and activities, personnel, and people and life in Turkey; deeds, maps,and plans of mission properties.

The Anatolia College Archives & Special Collections holds microfilm reels 502-720 documenting all reports made from Merzifon between 1817-1919.


Near East Relief - Reel Content

Researchers interested in the Near East Relief content, which is available via the ABCFM 502-720 reels, can check the content in the following documents:

Analytical contents of the Near Eastern Mission of ABCFM have been compiled by the Department of History of Bilkent University, (Ankara/TURKEY). 

Miscellaneous papers relating to the Near East missions (ABC 16.5): Reels 502-512
Mission to the Jews (ABC 16.6): Reels 513-515
Mission to the Armenians (ABC: 16.7.1): Reels 516-533
Mission to the Armenians. Treasury department (ABC: 16.7.2): Reel 534
Mission to the Armenians. Miscellaneous (ABC: 16.7.3): Reels 535-536
Syrian mission (ABC 16.8.1): Reels 537-549
Syrian mission. Treasury department (ABC 16.8.2): Reel 550
Syrian mission. Miscellaneous (ABC 16.8.3): Reel 551
Assyrian mission (ABC 16.8.4): Reel 552
Nestorian mission (ABC 16.8.87): Reels 553-560
Mission to Turkey (ABC 16.9): Reels 561-581
Western Turkey mission (ABC 16.9.3): Reels 582-638
Western Turkey mission. Miscellaneous (ABC Reel 639
Central Turkey mission (ABC 16.9.5): Reels 640-672
Central Turkey mission. Miscellaneous (ABC Reels 673-675
Eastern Turkey mission (ABC 16.9.7): Reels 676-717
Eastern Turkey mission. Miscellaneous (ABC 16.9.7): Reels 718-720


The Anatolia College reports can be found as Marsovan Station of the Western Turkey Mission.

Reel 583 Theological School Reports pp. 92-99
Reel 583 Girls Boarding School Reports pp. 117-128
Reel 588 Reports 1-5, 7-9
Reel 589 Reports 42-56