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bMS 16103

Unitarian Service Committee. Medical Missions. Records, 1942-1967: A Finding Aid.

Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University


Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: bMS 16103
Repository: Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University
Creator: Unitarian Service Committee. Medical Missions.
Title: Unitarian Service Committee. Medical Missions. Records, 1942-1967.
Date(s): 1942-1967.
Quantity: 82 boxes
Abstract: This collection consists of records related to the medical missions conducted by the Unitarian Service Commitee. They include missions throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America, among others. The records span 1942-1967.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Related Materials

For related collections, please see bMS 16011, bMS 16181, and for information on medical missions conducted in later years, please see collections bMS 16025 and bMS 16101.

Biographical / Historical

The Unitarian Service Committee was formed as a standing committee of the American Unitarian Association in May 1940. Its purpose was to be a committee to investigate opportunities both in America and abroad for humanitarian service. During and after World War II, the Unitarian Service Committee aided hundreds of displaced persons in occupied countries, allowing many of them to find passage to the United States. The present-day Unitarian Universalist Service Committee continues to endeavor to advance human rights and social justice throughout the world.
In 1942 the Commission on Hygiene of the Coordinating Committee for Relief in the Camps at Nimes, France conducted a study on malnutrition in the internment camps. The Unitarian Service Committee was part of this coordinating committee. In 1945, the USC organized an Italian Medical Nutrition Mission in order to study malnutrition in Italy. This was conducted in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). Out of this project grew the idea of the medical missions, first suggested by Dr. Maurice B. Visscher. The purpose of these missions was to exchange information and to further international relationships with other countries. In 1946, the USC sent medical missions to Poland and to Czechoslovakia in cooperation with UNRRA. These missions were successful, and in January 1947, a USC Medical Projects Department was established under the direction of Dr. Erwin Kohn. In 1947 a medical mission was sent to Austria under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization. In 1948 there were medical missions to Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland and Finland, and a dental mission to Austria in August of 1948. In 1949 refresher courses for displaced person physicians, pharmacists and dentists took place in Germany with the International Refugee Organization (IRO). Medical missions conducted by the USC continued to take place into the 1960s, to countries such as Japan, Germany, Colombia, Israel, Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey.


This collection is organized into eleven series. The medical missions series are organized alphabetically by country and then chronologically within the country. In addition, due to its size, Series I is also organized into subseries by country. Series XI is organized alphabetically by organization. The remaining series are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, reports, newsletters, clippings, applications, financial records, and photographs concerning the medical missions conducted by the Unitarian Service Committee. The bulk of the collection dates from 1948 to 1955 and focuses most heavily on material related to Europe. The collection also includes administrative records such as Board of Directors minutes and fundraising records which relate to the work of the medical missions. This collection is the largest of several collections at the Andover-Harvard Library which focus on the medical missions conducted by the Unitarian Service Committee.


The number after the slash in each entry in the following list indicates the box number, and the number in parentheses is the folder number. Portions of this collection have been digitized for a collaborative project with the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC), France. Those items have a "See digital image" link.

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