John R. Mott’s Recent Experiences and Impressions in Russia presents a collection of public addresses and letters created during his participation in a United States diplomatic mission to Russia—sent by President Woodrow Wilson and led by Elihu Root—from May to August 1917. These historical documents (printed in 1917 but never published) describe this Root Mission and offer perspectives on several momentous events and leaders of the era: World War I, the February Revolution, officials of the Provisional Government, and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Mott, a key leader of global outreach for the Young Men’s Christian Association of the US, stands out as an influential Protestant leader of this era. In 1946, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his lifelong effort to promote cooperative ministry around the world. The documents in this volume include Mott’s proposal for the YMCA to carry out a program of social, educational, and spiritual assistance among Russia’s military, as well as relevant chapters from Service with Fighting Men: An Account of the Work of the American Young Men’s Christian Associations in the World War (published in 1924), which outlines and evaluates the activities carried out in Russia in response to Mott’s plans. Together, these writings illustrate the variety of assumptions, convictions, and relationships that contributed to a very significant episode of Russian-American interaction.