The Church of Christ Mission Photography Collection is an ongoing work started in partnership with the University of Southern California's International Mission Photography Archive - IMPA project. Our contribution to the IMPA project contained photographs selected from 18 different collections, all taken between the years of 1880 and 1960. As the collection represented here grows, it will include images beyond the dates specified by USC's IMPA project. All the photos represented in our portion of the IMPA project are housed in ACU Special Collections and Archives and Center for Restoration Studies.
Before 1915, only a handful a handful of missionaries and their families from Churches of Christ were located overseas: notably William Bishop in Japan; J.M. McCaleb in Japan; and John Sherriff in South Africa and Zimbabwe. However, through the work of Don Carlos Janes and other missionary promoters, there were at least 56 missionaries and their families working outside of the United States of America by 1930. This number remained steady despite economic depression, doctrinal controversies within Churches of Christ, and even World War II.
Following the war two new European mission efforts came into being: a mission to Germany led by Roy Palmer and Otis Gatewood and a mission to Italy led by Cline and Gerald Paden. A large "boom" in mission efforts by Churches of Christ did not really begin in earnest, however, until the late 1950s when churches began sending out large numbers of missionaries all over the world. This is possibly due to several factors: economic prosperity, a desire to combat the specter of "godless" communism, and a broader understanding of the world after World War II. In 1945 Churches of Christ had missionaries working in 22 countries; by 1969 there were missionaries working in 45.
This collection showcases photographs of the missionaries, their families, the people with whom they lived and worked, and the contexts in which they lived their daily lives. The collection also illustrates methods and approaches missionaries employed as they conducted their work.
ACU Special Collections and Archives is grateful for the work of Jeremy Hegi, who scanned, researched, and created metadata for the majority of this collection.