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Biographical Note

Scope and Content


Preferred Citation

Restrictions on Access

Subject Terms

Container List [ + ]

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Guide to the Mellony Turner Collection

Prepared by Walter Cano and Kathleen Knaack, Student Assistants and Mark C. Shenise, Associate Archivist

United Methodist Archives and History Center
General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church


Overview of Collection

Record Creator: Turner, Mellony
Title: Mellony Turner Collection
Date Span: 1908-1963
Abstract: Mellony Turner was a Methodist Church missionary to Bulgaria. This collection is made up of material relating to her work in Bulgaria and her family.
Extent: 5.61 cubic feet
Resource ID: gcah.ms.3830

Biographical Note

Mellony Turner (1901-1949), Methodist missionary, was born on April 9, 1901 at Erin, New York. Turner graduated in 1919 from the Cazenovia Seminary located in Cazenovia, New York. In 1924, Turner began to teach at the American School for Girls in Lovetch, Bulgaria for the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1930 she had became the principal of the school.

During World War II, Turner was able to continue teaching at the school. Her problems became worse after the war when the Communists took over the country. The official communist paper of Bulgaria, Rabotnichesko Delo, repeatedly mocked Turner and her work in the paper.

Forced out of Bulgaria, Turner relocated to Athens, Greece, and taught at Pierce College. After her departure from Bulgaria, false accusations of espionage were made against her after the torture of fifteen Bulgarian Methodist pastors with whom she had closely worked. Turner never returned to Bulgaria.

On Sunday, November 20, 1949, Mellony was scheduled to give a missionary message at Baldwinsville, New York, Methodist Church. On the way to the church a truck hit her and her father, W. Cleon Turner, a Methodist minister, and both were killed instantly. Turner is buried with her father and mother on a hilltop in Cato, New York.

Scope Note

The Mellony Turner papers primarily documents her life as a missionary in Bulgaria. There is a number of records on the American School for Girls in Lovetch, consisting of photographs, textbooks, yearbooks, and financial records. Turner's notebooks and lecture notes are included in the collection. It should be noted that there is a single folder containing information on closing the school. Turner kept diaries during her tenure in Bulgaria as well extensive correspondence. There are general images in both photograph and slide format ranging from the royal family of Bulgaria to her own family in the United States. Turner has a copy of a sermon by Bishop Burt; the bishop who had established the Bulgarian mission at the beginning of the twentieth century. Clippings and other types of publications reflect Bulgarian life and politics. There are eight lectures and a sermon written by Turner. Artifacts are personal in nature, reflecting the clothing and accessories of mid-twentieth century Bulgarian dress. There is a pot in the artifact series as well.

The other series within the collection reflects Turner's immediate family. The few records relating to her parents deal with their will and a folder of letters. Mellony's brother, Ewart Turner's three folders are related to his spying for the United States War Department during the World War II. Though he was ministering to a church in the United States during the war, Ewart was familiar with German communities in Europe and South America. The War Department had Turner collect information on Germans, in the U.S., who were thought to be a threat to national security during the war. This information is elucidated in a correspondence folder.


Materials have been arranged in the following manner.

Series: Family
subseries: Ewart Turner
subseries: Reverend W. Cleon and Mrs. Turner
Series: Mellony Turner
subseries: American School for Girls
subseries: Artifacts
subseries: Clippings
subseries: Correspondence
subseries: Diaries
subseries: General
subseries: Images
subseries: Manuscripts
subseries: Publications

Preferred Citation

When citing material from this collection please use the following format: Direct reference to the item or its file folder, Mellony Turner Collection, United Methodist Church Archives - GCAH, Madison, New Jersey. Do not make use of the item's call number as that is not a stable descriptor.

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding this collection.

Subject Terms

Additonal Creators - Personal
Turner family
Turner, Ewart Edmund
Turner, Martha L.
Subject Names - Corporate
Methodist Church. Board of Missions and Church Extension
Methodist Episcopal Church. Board of Missions. Department of Foreign Missions
Subject Topics
Armed Forces
Church work with children-Methodist Church
Church work with students-Methodist Church
Education, Higher
Financial records
Financial statements
International Relations
Methodist Church-Education
Methodist colleges
Methodist schools
Methodists, Bulgarian
Travel photography
Universities and colleges
Women intellectuals
Women teachers
Women's colleges
World War, 1939-1945 -War work -Methodist Church.
Subject Geographic
United States.
Accounting-Books of account
Annual reports
Architectural drawings
Class books
Financial records
Photograph albums
Picture books

Container List

Series: Family
Sub-series: Ewart Turner
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-3: 17 Information on Ewart Turner Undated
1601-3-3: 18 Correspondence: Ewart Turner 1926-1963
1601-3-3: 19 Correspondence: War Department 1942
Sub-series: Reverend W. Cleon and Mrs. Turner
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-3: 20 Correspondence 1941-1949
1601-3-3: 21 Legal Settlement: Estate of W. C. Turner Mellony Turner vs. Baker, Johnson and Lewein. 1951

Series: Mellony Turner
Sub-series: American School for Girls
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-1: 23 Financial Records 1941-1948
1601-3-2: 1 Lecture Notes at the American School for Girls at Lovetch Undated
1601-3-2: 2 Notebooks Undated
1601-3-2: 3 Notebooks Undated
1601-3-2: 4 American Girls School Lovetch Yearbook 1931
1601-3-2: 6 "The Gold and The Purple": Yearbook 1940
1601-3-2: 7 Textbook: The Study of the English Language Part I 1945
1601-3-2: 8 Textbook: The Study of the English Language Part II 1946
1601-3-2: 9 Documentation about the American School for Girls at Lovetch. 1939-1948
1601-3-2: 10 Information on the closing of the American School for Girls at Lovetch. 1947-1948
1601-3-4: 3 Photographs: American School for Girls, Lovetch, Bulgaria. 1920-1945
Sub-series: Artifacts
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
5029-1-1: 1 Apron 20th Century
5029-1-1: 2 Dress 20th Century
5029-1-1: 3 Undergarment 20th Century
5029-1-1: 4 Costume 20th Century
5029-1-1: 5 Dress 20th Century
5029-1-1: 6 Dress 20th Century
5029-6-1: 1 Flag 20th Century
5029-6-1: 2 Pouch 20th Century
5029-6-1: 3 Bolt of cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 4 Bolt of cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 5 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 6 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 7 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 8 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 9 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 10 Cloth 20th Century
5029-6-1: 11 Hankerchief 20th Century
5029-6-1: 12 Hankerchief 20th Century
5029-6-1: 13 Head covering 20th Century
5029-6-1: 14 Floor mat 20th Century
5029-6-1: 15 Textile 20th Century
5029-6-1: 16 Mat 20th Century
5029-6-1: 17 Pillow 20th Century
5029-6-1: 18 Textile 20th Century
5029-6-1: 19 Socks 20th Century
5029-6-1: 20 Apron 20th Century
5029-6-1: 21 Apron 20th Century
5029-6-1: 22 Doll outfit 20th Century
5029-6-1: 23 Doll with outfit 20th Century
5029-6-1: 24 Shoes 20th Century
5029-6-2: 1 Drawing 20th Century
5029-6-2: 2 Painting 20th Century
5029-6-2: 3 Drawing 20th Century
5029-6-2: 4 Painting 20th Century
5029-6-3: 1 Bracelet 20th Century
5029-6-3: 2 Belt buckle 20th Century
5029-6-3: 3 Pot 20th Century
Sub-series: Clippings
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-1: 2 Clippings 1930-1949
1601-3-1: 3 Clippings 1949-1950
Sub-series: Correspondence
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-1: 4 Correspondence Undated
1601-3-1: 5 Correspondence 1932-1939
1601-3-1: 6 Correspondence 1940
1601-3-1: 7 Correspondence 1941
1601-3-1: 8 Correspondence 1942
1601-3-1: 9 Correspondence 1943
1601-3-1: 10 Correspondence 1944
1601-3-1: 11 Correspondence 1945
1601-3-1: 12 Correspondence 1946
1601-3-1: 13 Correspondence 1947
1601-3-1: 14 Correspondence 1948
1601-3-1: 15 Correspondence 1949
1601-3-1: 16 Correspondence 1924-1949
Sub-series: Diaries
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-1: 17 Diary 1941
1601-3-1: 18 Diary 1942
1601-3-1: 19 Diary 1943-1944
1601-3-1: 20 Diary 1944-1945
1601-3-1: 21 Diary 1946
1601-3-1: 22 Excerpts from Mellony's Diaries 1941-1946
Sub-series: General
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-1: 1 Biographical Information 1925-1950
1601-3-3: 2 Bulgaria Mission Conference 1909
1601-3-3: 16 Personal Bible 1946
Sub-series: Images
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-4: 1 Personal Slides Undated
1601-3-4: 2 Photographs: Mellony Turner 1928-1945
1601-3-4: 4 Photographs: Bulgaria 1930-1965
1601-3-4: 5 Photographs: United States 1948
1601-3-4: 6 Photographs: Bulgarian Royal Family Undated
1601-3-4: 7 Oversized Photographs: Lovetch, Bulgaria 1920's
1601-3-4: 8 Oversized Photographs: A Bulgarian Girl Undated
1601-3-5: 1 Photograph Album 1915-1920
1601-3-5: 2 Photograph Album 1915-1920
1601-3-6: 1 Photograph Album 1920's
1601-3-6: 2 Photograph Album 1920's
1601-3-7: 1 Photograph Album 1925-1930
1601-3-7: 2 Photograph Album 1925-1930
1601-3-8: 1 Photograph Album 1948-1949
1601-4-1: 1 Photograph Album 1920-1940
Sub-series: Manuscripts
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-3: 4 Sermon: Acts 17:15 - 30 Undated
1601-3-3: 5 Lecture: "Is Life Fair ?" Undated
1601-3-3: 6 Lecture: "My Trip to Egypt" Undated
1601-3-3: 7 Lecture: "Russia and the Peace" Undated
1601-3-3: 8 Lecture: "The War Years in Bulgaria" Undated
1601-3-3: 9 Lecture: "The House Built Upon a Rock" Undated
1601-3-3: 10 Lecture: "The World of the Church" Undated
1601-3-3: 11 Lecture: "Conditions in Europe" 1946
1601-3-3: 12 Lecture: "World Day of Prayer" 1947
1601-3-3: 15 Papers written in Bulgarian 1942-1949
Sub-series: Publications
Call Number Folder Title Date(s)
1601-3-2: 5 "A Bulgarian Anthology" 1939
1601-3-3: 1 Bishop Burt's Sermons (in Bulgarian) 1908
1601-3-3: 3 Das Niederdeutlche Luthertum (in German) 1939
1601-3-3: 13 Newspaper: Free Bulgaria 1948-1949
1601-3-3: 14 Booklets written in Bulgarian 1948
1601-3-4: 9 Book of Bulgarian Illustrations 1929