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Carleton Mission / Carleton-in-China Collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Administrative Records of the Carleton Mission and Carleton-in-China

Contemporaneous Publications and Printed Matter

Personal Papers


Films and Other Recordings

Oral History Interviews

Historical Writings

Objects and Oversized Items

Carleton Mission / Carleton-in-China Collection | Carleton College Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Carleton Mission / Carleton-in-China CollectionView associated digital content.

ID: 04/035

Extent: 23.0 Boxes

Scope and Contents of the Materials

At the core of the collection are the administrative records of the Carleton Mission Board, also known successively as the Carleton-in-China Board and the Carleton-in-China Committee. Complementing these records are the donated papers, photographs, and memorabilia of a number of individuals associated with the Fenchow mission either as permanent staff or as appointed Carleton-in-China student representatives serving as teachers. In addition, the collection includes a body of material gathered by the Carleton Archives to further illustrate this history, including oral history interviews and copies of publications, news clippings, and student papers on relevant topics.

Collection Historical Note

This is a topical collection bringing together material of varied provenance documenting the history of Carleton College’s association with evangelical, medical, and educational work in China from the founding of the Carleton Mission Board in 1903 until the dissolution of Carleton-in-China in 1950. Most of the material concerns Carleton’s connections with the American Board’s Fenchow station, with the focus moving increasingly over time to Carleton’s support of the mission’s educational enterprises, most particularly that of the Ming I Middle School.

The Carleton Mission was organized in 1903, due largely to the efforts of recently-graduated alumni Watts O. Pye ‘03 and Percy T. Watson ‘03, to support missionary work in China under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Within a few years the locus of that support became the American Board's Fenchow [Fenzhou; later Fenyang] station, in Shansi [Shanxi] province. This was originally an Oberlin College-supported station which Carleton was subsequently permitted first to share responsibility for, and eventually to adopt entirely while Oberlin focused on its sister station in nearby Taiku [Taigu]. In 1907, Pye arrived in Fenchow to take up the evangelistic work interrupted at that station in 1900 by the Boxer rebellion. Two years later, Pye was joined at Fenchow by three missionaries with Carleton ties: classmates Percy and Clara (French) Watson, and Miss Gertrude Chaney, who a few years later married Mr. Pye. Mission staff continued to expand, but these four were at the heart of the Fenchow station until Watts Pye's untimely death in 1926.

The Fenchow mission complex grew after 1909 to include a church, schools, and a hospital. Dr. Watson's hospital, as the only such health agency at work in China's great northwest, was long the sole provider of hospital services to a population over one-twentieth that of the United States. Its staff eventually included two other doctors who were Carleton graduates, Clara A. Nutting '14 and Jean A. Curran '16. Dr. Watson distinguished himself in battles against recurring outbreaks of plague, and during his quarter-century of service at his hospital was six times decorated by the Chinese government for his work.  Schools associated with the Fenchow mission included the Ming I Middle School, schools for men's and women's adult education, a Bible training School, grammar and elementary schools, and a kindergarten. Another Carleton alumna, Miss Josie E. Horn '11, long had charge of the Lydia Lord Davis School for Girls.

At Carleton, the Mission Board first supported a representative in China from 1904 to 1906, when Mary Reynolds '04 took up a post as tutor to the children of the Empress Dowager's family. In Fenchow, the Carleton Mission supported part of the salaries of Dr. and Mrs. Watson from 1909 to 1922, and also of three successive teachers supported in association with the Woman's Board of Missions of the Interior, Ruth W. Tolman '15, Vera M. Holmes '18, and Helen P. Gallagher '22.

In 1918, the Carleton Mission Board determined to adopt as its focus for support the educational work at Fenchow. Under the Carleton-in-China plan begun in 1922 and lasting into the 1940s, Carleton regularly sent student representatives to teach English, usually on overlapping two-year appointments. These “C-in-C reps,” most of whom taught at the Ming I Middle School, were usually sent after their junior year at Carleton, with the expectation that they would return to Carleton for a final student year after their time in China. The complete list of such representatives is as follows:

                        1922-25            J. Larry Krause  [Carleton-supported first two years]

                        1924-27            Erwin A. Hertz

                        1926-27            Ellis C. Yale

                        1926-28            Sarah W. Beach

                        1928-29            Everett A. Sandburg

                        1928-30            Edward C. Rosenow, Jr.

                        1929-31            William J. Bakken

                        1930-32            Richard E. P. Youtz

                        1931-33            J. Stanley Stevens

                        1932-34            Marshall O. Eck

                        1933-35            Robert E. Nugent

                        1934-35            Justus J. Geist (unofficial)

                        1935-36            Bernice Brown (paid own expenses)

                        1935-37            Carl B. Huber

                        1936-39            John R. Caton

                        1937-39            Paul Clifford Domke

                        1939-42            John M. Hlavacek (stayed on longer, but not as Carleton rep)

                        1939-41            J. Rhodes Longley

                        1941-43            Thomas R. Wiener

                        1947-48            Fern A. Larson

                        1948                  Philip M. Martin

The Fenchow station was, of course, always subject to the sometimes tumultuous events taking place in the world around it. In 1927, as a Chinese communist army moved into Shansi province and prepared to occupy Fenchow, all missionaries and their families, save Dr. Watson, were sent to safety in Korea. Watson was threatened with death and a suit of his clothes was burned in effigy by the communists, but, as Watson later recalled, they "became more friendly" after the hospital provided medical treatment for a number of soldiers and officers. The Watson family eventually returned to the U.S. in the mid-1930s.

Following the Japanese invasion of Shansi province in 1937, the Ming I Middle School moved south for some months, returned to Fenyang, and then was overrun when the city fell suddenly in February 1938. The school was essentially disbanded for a time, with students that had escaped Fenyang scattered in various locations, some becoming soldiers while others enrolled together in a government school accepting refugee students from China's war zones. One Ming I remnant joined with the Oberlin-connected Ming Hsien school, which reestablished itself first in Shensi [Shaanxi] province and later in Szechuan [Sichuan] province. For a period there were two Ming I's in operation, as the Fenyang school was reopened under Japanese occupation. During part of that time, one Carleton-in-China representative was teaching with the combined Ming Hsien/Ming I group in Shensi and Szechuan while the other had returned to Japanese-occupied Shansi.

World War II brought a major interruption in the program, and no new Carleton-in-China representative was sent out from 1942 through 1946. When the program was revived in 1947, Fern Larson ’47 was sent to teach at Yü Ying Academy in Peking [Beijing], followed by Philip Martin ’48 in 1948. But continuance soon became untenable in the face of the impending Communist victory, and both Carleton representatives were evacuated home in November 1948.

After 1950, Carleton-in-China reconstituted itself, in somewhat different form, into Carleton Abroad and then Carleton-in-Japan.

            Presidents or Chairmen of the Carleton Mission Board / Carleton-in-China Board

                        1903-06            James W. Strong

                        1906-08            William H. Sallmon

                        1908-09            James W. Strong

                        1909-22            Donald J. Cowling

                        1922-24            Edwin B. Dean

                        1925-27            Franz W. Exner

                        1927-32            Jacob Balzer

                        1932-42            Axel Vestling

                        1943-46            (did not meet)

                        1947-48            Philip H. Phenix

                        1949-50            James C. Flint

                        1950                Philip H. Phenix

Administrative Information

Repository: Carleton College Archives

Related Materials: See the Carleton-in-Japan Collection (36) for the record of the successor program to Carleton-in-China. The Laura B. Cross Papers (104) concern a Carleton graduate long associated with the Bridgman Academy for Girls in Beijing, who sometimes interacted with Carleton-in-China. The Archives also holds material from or about a number of other Carleton alumni who served as missionaries or in other capacities in pre-1950 China, which is usually to be found in individual Alumni Biographical Files (1). General biographical information on Carleton alumni or staff figuring in the Carleton-in-China history is to be be found in Alumni Biographical Files (1), in Faculty/Staff Files (2A), or President's Office Personnel Files (58A). Some objects and artifacts obtained by the college through delegation visits between Carleton and Fenyang may also be found in Objects and Artifacts.

Processing Information: LOCATION CHECKED

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 35A: Administrative Records of the Carleton Mission and Carleton-in-China],
[Series 35B: Contemporaneous Publications and Printed Matter],
[Series 35C: Personal Papers],
[Series 35D: Photographs],
[Series 35E: Films and Other Recordings],
[Series 35F: Oral History Interviews],
[Series 35G: Historical Writings],
[Series 35H: Objects and Oversized Items],

Series 35B: Contemporaneous Publications and Printed Matter
Container ID: Box number: 2-4
Sub-Series 1: American Board 'Bulletins'
Folder 2/10: ABCFM -- 'Shansi Bulletin', 1936
Present are #s 2-5, March 1936
Folder 2/11: ABCFM -- 'China Bulletin', 1937; 1938; 1944; 1945
Partial set; present are Bulletins # 8-24, 71-C to 71-E, 72, 74
Sub-Series 2: Station Journal 'Fenchow'
Note: Other than the few originals in Folder 2/12, copies of the journal 'Fenchow' boxed here are photocopies made from microfilm held by Carleton's Gould Library
Folder 2/12: 'Fenchow' originals, 1920; 1926; 1928
A few copies of the original journal
Folder 2/13: 'Fenchow' Vol. 1, 1919-1920View associated digital content.
Folder 2/14: 'Fenchow' Vol. 2, 1920-1921
Folder 3/1: 'Fenchow' Vol. 3, 1921-1922
Folder 3/2: 'Fenchow' Vol. 4, 1922-1923
Folder 3/3: 'Fenchow' Vol. 5, 1923-1924
Folder 3/4: 'Fenchow' Vol. 6, 1924-1925
Folder 3/5: 'Fenchow' Vol. 7, 1925-1926
Folder 3/6: 'Fenchow' Vols. 8-9, 1927-1928
Folder 3/7: 'Fenchow' Vols. 10-14, 1929-1931
Folder 3/8: 'Fenchow' Vol. 15, 1931-1932
Folder 3/9: 'Fenchow' Vol. 16, 1932-1933
Folder 3/10: 'Fenchow' Vols. 17-19, 1934-1936
Sub-Series 3: Fenchow station miscellany
Folder 4/1: 'Private Ming I Middle School Overview', 1937
In Chinese
Note: Translation of table of contents:  Foreword (dated 1937 January 24) -- School gate -- School clock – School motto – School song – Photographs (of school principal, board members, faculty, organization and clubs, school activities, buildings and campus) – School floor plan – School history – Organization chart – Overview of school affairs – Overview of school curriculum – Overview of girls’ school – Overview of discipline -- Overview of the administration -- Overview of the library -- Overview of vocational opportunities (woodworking/hardware/industry) -- School rules and regulations -- Statistics (parents occupations, townships/provinces, volumes of library books and its circulation, etc.) -- List of alumni -- List of school principals -- List of school events -- Calendar -- List of school board members
Folder 4/2: Fenchow Station Miscellany, 1910-1939
Includes: Printed letter from Dr. Watson concerning his work in "Fencho-fu" (1910); Fenchow Station annual report for 1914; "The City of Fenchow and its Counties / Towns: Items from the Work of The North China Mission of the American Board in Fenchow For the Year 1915"; "A Few Salient Facts Regarding the Training Institutions Representing Carleton in China," by Watts O. Pye; American Board Quarterly News Bulletin on the death and funeral of Watts O. Pye (1926); 'Watts O. Pye of Fenchow: An Appreciation,' by A. W. Hummel (reprinted from the Peking Leader, Jan. 13, 1926); Fenchow Hospital annual report for 1930; 'Blood Groups in Shansi,' by J. A. Curran, E. C. Rosenow, and S. T. Feng (reprinted from The National Medical Journal of China, 1930); a typed account of the turmoil of 1937-38; "The Carletonian-in-China" (3 issues of newsletter, Oct.-Nov., 1939), and a sprinkling of other appeals for support or other item
Item 1: American Board Mission in Fenchow postcardView associated digital content.
Color postcard with an aerial view of the Fenchow mission complex layout in Fenchow
Sub-Series 4: Carleton Publications and Miscellaneous Newspaper or Journal ClippingsView associated digital content.
Folder 4/3: Carleton Publications and Press Releases, 1903-1947
Includes: Copies of relevant clippings from The Carletonia, Carletonian, Rev. Delavan's 'History of Carleton College,' The Carleton College Bulletin, The Alumni Magazine of Carleton College, The Algol, Carleton College News Bulletin, The Carleton Circle, and The Voice, as well as a number of copies of Publications Office press releases; also typescript of "A Service in Memory of Helen Gallagher" (Skinner Memorial Chapel, Feb, 16, 1929)
Folder 4/4: Miscellaneous Clippings, 1916-1941
Sub-Series 5: Other Miscellaneous
Folder 4/5: Maps, 1937-1941
Includes: 'Table of Geographical Names' (English-Chinese), with map of Shansi province; 'The New Map of China Prepared for Missionaries & Travelers (July 1937); Shandong County new map (Wuchang Yaxindi Society, 1937);1937 'China in the American Board News'; printed map of part of West Szechwan; 'River and Railway Map of China (Office of the American Military Attache, China, Oct. 2, 1941)
Folder 4/6: Oberlin College miscellany, 1927-1948
Miscellaneous printed matter relating to Oberlin-in-Shansi, with which Carleton-in-China shared some history and many contacts, from the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association (OSMA), or the Ming Hsien school, or Oberlin College
Folder 4/7: Miscellaneous publications and printed matterView associated digital content.
Includes: Printed letters from Lintsing missionaries Harriet May Eastman and Florence Cutler Eastman (1912); program for the First Congregational Church of Northfield's Commissioning Service for Alzina Munger as missionary to Shansi (June 13, 1915); 'Watts O. Pye of Fenchow: An Appreciation,' by A. W. Hummel (reprint from the Peking Leader, Jan. 13, 1926); 'How Help China?' by Dr, Ernest Fremont Tittle (printing of an address at Carleton College Nov. 9, 1937); "An Unprecedented Emergeny--A Call for Aid," (memorandum from the Chinese Students' Christian Association in North America, dated Jan. 31, 1949)

Browse by Series:

[Series 35A: Administrative Records of the Carleton Mission and Carleton-in-China],
[Series 35B: Contemporaneous Publications and Printed Matter],
[Series 35C: Personal Papers],
[Series 35D: Photographs],
[Series 35E: Films and Other Recordings],
[Series 35F: Oral History Interviews],
[Series 35G: Historical Writings],
[Series 35H: Objects and Oversized Items],

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