Minnie Vautrin

Minnie Vautrin

Minnie Vautrin was born in Secor, Illinois on September 27, 1886.  She worked her way through the University of Illinois with a major in education, graduating with high honors in 1912.  Vautrin was commissioned by the United Christian Missionary Society as a missionary to China, where she first served as a high school principal for a few years and then became chairman of the education department of Ginling College in Nanking when it was founded in 1916.  She served as acting president of Ginling College when President Matilda Thurston returned to America for fundraising.  With the Japanese army pressing on Nanking, Vautrin again was called on to take charge of the College campus, as most of the faculty left Nanking for Shanghai or Chengtu, Szechwan.

Minnie Vautrin's writings provide a detailed account of the situation in Nanking under Japanese occupation. In the last entry of her diary, April 14, 1940, Minnie Vautrin wrote: "I'm about at the end of my energy.  Can no longer forge ahead and make plans for the work, for on every hand there seems to be obstacles of some kind.  I wish I could go on furlough at once, but who will do the thinking for the Exp. Course?"Two weeks later, she suffered a nervous breakdown and returned to the United States.  A year to the day after she left Nanking, Vautrin ended her own life.

From papers of Minnie Vautrin in Record Groups No. 8 & 11, and microfilm Ms 62


  1.   Microfilmed collection of Vautrin papers includes her diary (1937-1940), correspondence and newsclippings.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 1:31pm