Skip to main content

Lisle Fellowship, Inc. Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-138

Scope and Contents


The records of the Lisle Fellowship, Inc. documents all aspects of the administration and activities of the organization, which are divided into multiple categories. Those categories are arranged alphabetically by category - or series - title. In some cases, a category is further divided into subcategories. For example, because the recruitment files have large quantities of files on contact work as well as efforts to recruit at college and university campuses, they were separated into two subseries. For those files that didn't fit either subcategory, no subcategory was attributed to them. Files within each series and subseries are arranged alphabetically by folder or item title.

Series descriptions accompany each series in this collection guide.

The collection contains multiple formats, including documents, photographs, audiovisual material, and artifacts and other oversize items.


  • Creation: 1928 - 2022

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials may be accessed by request at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of the William S. Carlson Library on the main campus of the University of Toledo. Materials do not circulate

Conditions Governing Use

In most cases, the Canaday Center does not own the copyright and literary rights to items in its collections; it is the responsibility of the researcher to adhere to U.S. Copyright and Fair Use laws, including seeking permission from the copyright holder and payment of any royalty fees, in the reproduction and use of archival materials. Providing copies or scans does not constitute a license to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.

Biographical / Historical

Reverend DeWitt C. Baldwin and his wife Edna served as missionaries to Rangoon, Burma between 1923 and 1933. Upon their return to the United States in 1933, they met with the head of the Methodist Board of Missions to discuss their desire to teach students from college campuses around the nation the idea of a world community. They visited with students and professors from 1933 until 1935 to conduct a survey of their attitudes toward “the current isolationism of the United States, toward the Church and religion in general, and…the World Mission of the Church” (Baldwin, 1-11).

What they discovered were students confused, critical, and uncertain about creating a peaceful world. Driven by the results of the survey, Reverend Baldwin proposed in a radio announcement in January 1935 a six-week summer gathering of students that would encourage discussion in an attempt to learn world-mindedness. The first gathering took place in upstate New York at Happy Valley Center on June 20, 1936, and the Lisle Fellowship was born.

Originally dubbed the Christian Mission Service Fellowship, the organization was renamed shortly after that first gathering after the village of Lisle, where the Happy Valley Center was located. The change not only shortened the name of the organization, but it honored the first gathering that catapulted the Lisle Fellowship into more than seventy years of fostering the appreciation of all cultures around the world.

The Baldwin’s’ method for fostering global understanding was established in that first gathering. Called a unit, the six-week summer camp brought together twenty-seven students from eleven states, the Philippines, China, and Japan. In addition to discussions on religion and world-mindedness, the students set out on four-day deputations, small missions to local homes, churches, or any other organization that could provide homes and transportation to the students as they experienced a new way of life.

This method was utilized in future gatherings led by the Baldwins, who became known as Uncle Si and Aunt Edna to their students in an effort to close the generation gap and promote a more personal connection, that spread nationwide, from California to Washington D.C. Then, in 1952, Lisle’s reach spread overseas, with Denmark as the first international group. In addition to Germany, Japan, China, and India, Lisle also conducted units in the USSR during the Cold War, always maintaining the Fellowship goal to develop world-mindedness by bringing together a wide variety of students from multiple cultures and countries.

The Baldwins were the driving force behind the Lisle Fellowship, especially after the Methodist Church turned over complete control of the organization to the Lisle Advisory Board in 1946. At that time, Lisle became incorporated as a non-profit, non-denominational organization. Uncle Si and Aunt Edna continued to direct the activities of Lisle until their retirement in 1978, but their model of intercultural education and work experience continues today, now as Lisle International, not only for college students, but for people of any age. In 2004, Lisle started mini-grant funding projects to assist Lisle members in accomplishing their intercultural goals. Dr. Mark Kinney continues as executive director and Bill Kinney serves as president. Additional information about Lisle is available at


81 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Lisle Fellowship, Inc. Records, 1928-2022
Janice Hackbush, Spring 2000; Carol Farris, Summer 2002; revised by Kim Brownlee, Fall 2006; updated by Tamara Jones, Spring 2007; updated by Brad Sommer, Spring 2010; updated by Arjun Sabharwal, March 2013; revised by Sara Mouch, August 2014; update by Sara Mouch, June 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections Repository

2801 West Bancroft Street
William S. Carlson Library, Fifth Floor
Toledo Ohio 43606 United States