About Pearl Digital Collections

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PHS’s digital repository is named in honor of Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck. The daughter of Presbyterian missionaries to China Caroline and Absalom Sydenstricker, Pearl S. Buck also served as a missionary to China from 1914 to 1933 in Anhui Province, the region depicted in her novel, The Good Earth.

The Presbyterian Historical Society's Digital Collections support the society's overarching mission to "collect, preserve, and share the story of the American Presbyterian experience" by collecting, managing, preserving, and increasing access to its digitized and born-digital collections. Digital Collections provide congregations, researchers, and the general public with educational and inspirational resources that showcase Presbyterian and Reformed history and its relevance to American history and contemporary life.

In order to provide long-term preservation and access, the scope of the Digital Collections is dependent on technological resources and funding and must necessarily be more narrow and restrictive than that of the physical collections. The Digital Collections are particularly focused on themes related to overseas and national mission work, ecumenical and interfaith activities, education, and social and political issues and activism. Digital Collections include digitized and born-digital records; manuscripts; images; publications, including rare books; sound recordings; and moving images. At this time, access is not provided to digitized congregation or mid council records and most born digital records; however, efforts are being made to preserve this content.

Read the Digital Collection Development Policy (or download PDF version)


About the Presbyterian Historical Society

Organized in 1852, the Presbyterian Historical Society is the oldest denominational archives in the United States and serves as the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and many predecessor denominations. It exists to collect, preserve, and share the story of the American Presbyterian and Reformed experience with Presbyterians, the scholarly community, and the general public.

The society’s holdings include more than 250,000 titles reflecting the history of the Presbyterian tradition in America and over 30,000 cubic feet of official records and personal papers. These include records of congregations, presbyteries, synods, and General Assembly agencies of the current and some predecessor Presbyterian and Reformed denominations in America. These records are supplemented by the personal papers (including correspondence, diaries, and photographs) of significant Presbyterians and ecumenists, with a particular emphasis on mission history in this country and abroad. The society also serves as the archives for ecumenical organizations including the Federal and National Council of Churches, the American Sunday School Union, and the Religious News Service.


We are grateful to all of our contributors, especially those listed here, for supporting Pearl.

  • Mr. and Mrs. James H. Averill, Jr
  • Mrs. Rebecca Baird Bergstresser and Dr. Paul R. Bergstresser
  • Otto Haas Charitable Trust
  • Dr. and Mrs. Robert D. McCrie
  • Mark D. Tomasko