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HSOC 0361 : Medical Missionaries and Partners: Overview


This guide is intended for students in HSCO 59: Medical Missionaries and Partners. It covers library skills and reference sources relevant to the subject area.

See also this Penn Libraries guide for a detailed presentation of specialized reference works and primary sources available for missionary research through the Penn Libraries:

Christian Missions in Africa - Penn Libraries research guide

Getting Started at the Penn Libraries

Books:  When looking for books and other materials, use  Franklin, the Penn Library Catalog.  Also try, new Franklin, which features easier, faceted browsing.  Franklin does not include journal articles.

Journal Articles:  to search for articles, see related databases.

Interlibrary Loan:  If the library does not have a book or a title is unavailable, consider using BorrowDirect or EZBorrow.  For journal articles that the Library does not have in print or online, request a copy using the article request form.

Questions or Appointment request: please email Lauris Olson at

How to Find Info on a Medical Missionary

Don't know who to write about? Start with Reference Works -> Biographical Information.

Always try to identify the missionary organization with which your missionary is affiliated. This will help you to locate directories, registers, and magazines produced by that organization. Some of the major missions in Africa (and they'll usually have missions in other world regions, too) and their materials are described in the Penn Libraries guide, Christian Missions in Africa : Primary Sources - Mission Records.

Need contemporary articles on your missionary?  Use the databases listed under Finding Articles and Books -> Contemporary Magazine Databases and Contemporary News Sources.

  • Look for sources from your missionary's country of origin and country of service.
  • Limit search results to years your missionary was active.
  • Use synonyms and name variants : link them together with OR

Need vital details about your missionary?  Use Ancestry Library to search census and birth/marriage/death records for your missionary's country of origin. You might also find immigration and ship registers mentioning your missionary.

When in doubt, work on a missionary affiliated with the Church Missionary Society.

The Penn Libraries hold digitized versions of the CMS missionary registers, CMS periodicals (in which missionaries share their experience with readers in their country of origin), and the CMS archive (with annual letters from missionaries and manuscript correspondence files).

Librarian & Coordinator of Social Sciences Collections

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Lauris Olson
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
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Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
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(215) 898-7555