China Resources at the Yale Divinity School Library

The Divinity Library holds more than 1700 linear feet of manuscript and archival materials related to missionary work and the Christian church in China. Records of nearly 400 former China missionaries are represented, primarily from the years 1832 to 1950. The library has also purchased numerous microform archives collections to complement its holdings of original manuscripts. These records are of use both in providing information about events, movements, and institutions in China, and in providing insight into the Western societies that sent, supported, and were embodied in the missionaries. Many of the China-related collections at the Divinity Library came to Yale as part of the China Records Project initiated by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A in 1968. The aim of this project was to insure the preservation of the personal records of former missionaries to China and to provide a central repository where these papers would be available to historians.
Types of missionary records:
  • Personal letters, diaries, writings, memorabilia of individuals working in an area
  • Letters, reports, and financial information related to the mission agencies for which they were working
  • Periodicals and reports distributed by those agencies
  • Narratives and memoirs written by missionaries
How to find archival materials:
Samples of collections held at the Divinity Library:
  • Willard Livingstone Beard Papers (RG108): Correspondence, diaries, writings, collected material, and photographs of a missionary who served in Fujian province from 1894 to 1941 under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
  • Cai Yongchun Papers (RG205): Correspondence, writings, and research materials provide insight into the life and work of a Chinese scholar, educator, and theologian, and into conditions in China during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Campbell Family Papers (RG07): The Campbells were American Baptist missionaries who worked in south China from 1887-1946, including among the Hakka people.
  • William Richard Johnson Papers (RG06): Johnson was an American Methodist missionary in China from 1906 to 1941) and an administrator for famine relief work.
  • Elsie Clark Krug Papers (RG142): Clark Krug was a faculty member at Hwa Nan College, Fuzhou, 1912-1918.
  • Lorenzo and Ruth Bennett Morgan Papers (RG126): The Morgans were medical missionaries in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, serving under the Presbyterian and Methodist mission boards from 1905 to 1946.
  • Albert and Celia Steward Papers (RG 20): Methodist missionaries serving at the University of Nanking 1921-1950.
  • Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (RG11): Records from thirteen colleges and universities established by Protestant mission agencies between 1880-1950, including Fukien Christian University, Ginling College, Hwa Nan College, Lingnan University, University of Nanking, St. John’s University, West China University, Yenching University.
  • Archives of the World Student Christian Federation (RG46) include documentation of the student Christian movement in China (1890s-1920s).
  • For many additional collections see:
Archives of the following agencies are available on microfilm:
Periodicals and reports:
The Divinity Library holds many annual reports and periodicals that document church and missions work in China, including the following.  See a listing of annual reports available online at:
Photos and documents available online:
Examples of topics that have been pursued using archival collections at the Divinity Library:
  • “To Save China: Wu Yi-fang and Christian Chinese Nationalism, 1927-1937”
  • “Beyond the models of missionaries and men: a look at the history of Chinese education for women in the early 20th century”
  • “The rural reconstruction movement in China”
  • “Navigating the Student Storms: The Response of the China Mission Colleges, St. John's and Yenching, 1919-1927”
  • “Missionaries at war: the humanitarian effort of the Nanking International Relief Committee during the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945”
  • “Education and science in China”
  • “Taiping and Tiluan (Heavenly peace and earthly troubles): the experiences of a Baptist missionary in Shanghai in 1864”
  • “The Boxer Rebellion in Shanxi Province”
Reference works of note:
  • Christian Occupation of China (1922) - a general survey of the numerical strength and geographical distribution of the Christian forces in China – in Special Collections Reading Room
  • Directory of Protestant Missions in China – nearly fifty years worth of detailed data - in Day Missions Reading Rm: Call # MR4.5 D628
  • Ricci Roundtable ( incl. Christianity in China: a scholars' guide to resources in the libraries and archives of the United States

For more information, contact the Divinity Library Special Collections Librarian, Chris Anderson at or 203 432 5289.

Last modified: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 2:52pm