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Description

"For Special Use of the Delegates to the Twelfth International Christian Endeavor Convention"

This is an interesting map of Montreal prepared for members of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor made in preparation for their 1893 convention. These delegates would have traveled to Montreal from all over the world (though mostly the US and Canada) for this convention. The map itself shows the oldest part of the city, focused on the western edge of the Island of Montreal. Roads and an index of thirty-two paces are shown, and neighborhoods are all named. Of course, churches are shown. The verso includes advertisements from businesses in the city as well as instructions for convention-goers.

The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor is an American evangelical organization targeted at youth, first founded in 1881. The society rapidly attracted new members throughout the US and in Commonwealth countries, and over 50,000 societies had been founded by the turn of the century. Records suggest international conventions were held less than yearly, and not until at least 1887, though this map suggests otherwise. The map states that Montreal was hosting the twelfth international convention in 1893, meaning that they would have been held at the rate of one a year since the movement's founding.

This movement was particularly important in promoting the idea of "youth ministry" in Protestant denominations. Protestantism had not historically focused on reaching out to young people, but the changing social structure of the industrial revolution lead to ministers wanting to educate the independent young adults who moved to cities in search of work. The YMCA and YWCA were, of course, some of the earliest faith-based organizations and were founded in 1840s England. These used hospitality and outreach services as incentives to conversion. The Christian Endeavor Society would provide the next stage of this movement, focusing almost solely on faith education. This latter movement, along with the coeval restructuring of Sunday School, would lay the foundations for the religious and social lives for millions of American children in the 20th century.

As far as international youth conferences are concerned, it appears that this edition was relatively successful. The Sunday School Times describes an event that had boundless enthusiasm and whose delegates were all warmly welcomed by denizens of Montreal. One of the key stands taken that year by the Endeavor Society was against the Chicago World's Fair. The latter's crime? Being open on a Sunday.