McGee family papers, 1857-2016 and undated

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McGee family
John Sidney and Doris Thompson McGee were Baptist missionaries to Iwo, Igede-Ekiti, and Ikogosi, Nigeria from 1945-1977. They had two children, John David and Sidney. The McGee Family Papers represent the life work of two missionaries, John Sidney and Doris McGee. John and Doris were appointed to Nigeria in 1945 by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and served eight consecutive tours of service. The current collection contains collection information, correspondence between the McGee family members as John and Doris served in Nigeria, as well as correspondence between other missionaries, the personal papers of Doris, John S. and John David McGee, printed materials and publications about mission work and life in Nigeria (including books authored by members of the McGee family), hundreds of photographs related to the McGee's work, and audio-visual materials.
25 Linear Feet
4.95 Gigabytes
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection involves five main series: Collection Information, Correspondence, Personal Papers, Printed Materials and Publications, Visual Materials, and Audio-Visual Materials.

The Collection Information Series was compiled by John David McGee, and it provides a detailed guide to using the McGee Family Papers. It includes lists and details of all series in the collection, background information on the family, a list of Baptist missionaries in Nigeria, and a thorough history of the Baptist Mission in Nigeria.

The Correspondence Series includes early correspondence between John S. McGee and Doris Thompson, as well as Doris Thompson and her mother and later correspondence between members of the McGee family as they were separated during various Nigerian tours. Letters from Nigerian friends and missionary kids are also included. Letters deal with a variety of subjects, including life in Nigeria and daily occurrences as a missionary, John David's academic, career, and life plans, and arrangements for visits to Nigeria.

The Personal Papers Series includes three subseries: Doris McGee, John S. McGee and John David McGee. Amongst Doris McGee's personal items are prayer diaries that span almost her entire life, attendance and report cards, diplomas and awards, her personal writings and poems, items concerning her death and various miscellaneous items such as personal correspondence with friends and historical items concerning their time in Africa. Included in John S. McGee's personal papers are diplomas and certificates, a personal diary, address books and contact lists, his personal writings and notes, and articles concerning his death. John David McGee's personal items include early homework and report cards, diplomas, documents pertaining to soccer and the U.S. Soccer National Federation, and professional references and C.V.s.

The Printed Materials and Publications Series includes five subseries: printed materials by the McGee family members, books from the library of John S. and Doris McGee, books from the library of John David McGee, printed materials by other authors, and Baptist Mission to Nigeria Minutes. The McGee family publications include bound notebooks from John S. McGee's early life, published books and memoirs, and a case study written by Erin McGee after her visit to Nigeria. Also included are several religious pamphlets and texts authored and arranged by Doris McGee. Books from the library of John S. and Doris McGee are relevant to their personal life and history and include numerous bibles, high school and college yearbooks. Books from the library of John David McGee include books focusing on the history of the Baptist Mission to Nigeria, general books on Africa, and several Yoruba dictionaries. The other authors subseries includes diaries of other Nigerian missionaries, books about African missionaries and books about life in Africa. The Baptist Mission to Nigeria Minutes include bound volumes of the annual minutes of the missionary meeting, from 1950 to 1998.

The Visual Materials series is composed of four subseries: slides, photo albums, mounted photographs, and foam-core mounted photographs. The slides subseries contains hundreds of slides of photographs from the McGee family's time in Nigeria. The slides are all numbered and grouped into several major categories (listed below) and a description of each picture can be found in the Collection Information Series. The photo albums include pictures of John S. and Doris McGee's early life in college, seminary and early Nigeria, John David's baby years, a missionary trip to Brazil, and other family pictures. The mounted photographs were furnished by Foreign Mission Board and were taken in various missionary camps in Nigeria. The foam-core mounted photographs include memorial photos of John S. and Doris McGee, various early photos, John S. and Doris McGee with their grand- and great-grandchildren and the last photographs before John S. and Doris' deaths.

  • Slides 000-999: Missionaries and Missionary Kids ("MKs")
  • Slides 1000-1999: Nigerians
  • Slides 2000-2999: Baptist Mission Churches
  • Slides 3000-3999: Baptist Mission Schools
  • Slides 4000-4999: Baptist Mission Medical Work
  • Slides 5000-5999: General Life Scenes
  • Slides 6000-7999: Places/Locations
  • Slides 8000-8999: Mission Stations
  • Slides 9001-9999: Family/Personal

The Audio-Visual Materials Series includes several recordings and films taken by the McGee family members of various tours in Nigeria. The films range from 1945 to 2009, and span the three generations of McGee missionaries. Also included is a DVD about the Conferment of Chieftaincy on John David McGee. The audio materials include several recordings of John and Doris McGee telling their life stories, talking about missionary work in Nigeria (especially regarding Baptist churches), and their first tour. The reel-to-reel tapes include audio-recordings of the McGee family as they were separated during various Nigerian tours. Ten super-8 film reels document John David McGee's trips to Nigeria from 1972 to 1983, which were the video source for the DVDs and video-cassette tapes.

This collection also contains digital surrogates created by the donor of many documents and slides. These items have been transferred to a preservation server and are available for use in the reading room.

Biographical / historical:

John Sidney (1913-1999) and Doris (1918-1998) McGee were appointed on April 11th, 1945 by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to Nigeria, where they served eight consecutive terms. Their primary role was that of "missionary advisors," or "field evangelism" for church development. They served at the Baptist College of Iwo from 1945-1948, and then at the Baptist Mission in Igede-Ekiti (Western Nigeria) and Ikogosi from 1949-1977. In 1956, they helped establish the sixth Baptist high school in Nigeria: the Ekiti Baptist High School, in Igede. In 1957, they were made "Chief Gbaiyegun of Igede," by the Onigede and Chiefs of Igede-Ekiti. In 1961, they were made paramount chief by the Ewi of Ado, on behalf of the Ekiti Baptist Association. In 1977, they were made "Chief Akorewolu of Ikogosi" by Loja and Chiefs of Ikogosi-Ekiti. The couple retired in 1978 after thirty-three years of missionary service.

John Sidney and Doris had two sons, John David (b. 1943) and Sidney (b. 1948). The McGees' children stayed with them in Nigeria until John David returned to the US for high school in 1958, where he stayed with a foster family. Much of the correspondence between family members takes place when the McGee children are in the United States to finish their education.

Acquisition information:
The McGee Family Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in August 2011, August 2013, and July 2016.
Processing information:

Processed by Meghan Lyon, Chloe Rockow, Joanne Fairhurst, April 2012 and September 2013. Electronic records processed by [Matthew] Farrell, August 2016.

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, Chloe Rockow, Joanne Fairhurst, April 2012 and September 2013

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2011-1041a, 2013-0125, 2016-0106

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research. Original audiovisual materials are closed to use; contact Research Services in advance to request the production of listening copies.

However, collection may contain materials to which the Acknowledgment of Legal Responsibilities and Privacy Rights form applies. Patrons must sign this form before using this collection.

In addition, original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Some use copies are available in the collection. Otherwise, Research Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 24-hour delay in obtaining these materials.

Electronic records in this collection have been migrated to a library server and digital use copies can only be accessed onsite in the Rubenstein Library Reading Room. To request access, please contact Research Services before coming to use these records.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], McGee Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.