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Gleysteen Family Papers

 Collection
Call Number: RG 273

Scope and Contents

This collection provides extensive detailed documentation of the life and work of Theodora Culver Gleysteen and William H. Gleysteen, American Presbyterian missionaries based in Beijing (Peking) (now Beijing), North China from 1905 to 1943. The Gleysteens were engaged in educational work, primarily at Truth Hall, a high school for boys.

The collection is notable for the regular and substantive documentation that it contains. The collection centers around the family of Theodora Culver Gleysteen and includes papers related to her parents, Theodore Baker Culver and Annie Wallace Culver, thus providing a valuable longterm picture of the background and family interactions of a missionary wife, mother, and teacher during the first half of the twentieth century. Documentation of the Gleysteens' and Culvers' lives and work includes detailed, regular letters exchanged primarily with Theodora's parents, diaries, writings, memorabilia, and photographs.

In addition to his education-related work for the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) William Gleysteen was president of the American Association in Peking, and served as a director of Yenching University, the Peking American School, and the College of Chinese Studies. For a period he was a member of the International Famine Relief Commission.

Theodora Culver Gleysteen taught English at Truth Hall and engaged in relief work during the war in addition to being the mother of five children and three stepchildren. The Gleysteen children attended Peking American School.

Theodora and William Gleysteen and their two youngest children were interned at the Weihsien internment camp for several months in 1943.

A DVD containing digital scans of substantial portions of the documents and photographs in this collection is contained in Box 1 Folder 1.

Dates

  • 1842 - 1973
  • Majority of material found within 1900 - 1955

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Gleysteen family, 2017

Arrangement

I. Correspondence

II. Diaries and Notebooks

III. Writings

IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia

V. Photographs

Extent

21 Linear Feet (54 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/divinity.273

Overview

This collection provides extensive detailed documentation of the life and work of Theodora Culver Gleysteen and William H. Gleysteen, American Presbyterian educational missionaries based in Beijing (Peking) (now Beijing), North China from 1905 to 1943.

Biographical / Historical

Chronology of Culver and Gleysteen families

1861 January 21
Theodore Baker Culver, father of Theodora Culver (Gleysteen), was born in Philadelphia.
1866 October 23
Annie J. Skilton Wallace (Culver), mother of Theodora Culver (Gleysteen), was born in Philadelphia.
1876 July 17
William H. Gleysteen was born in Alton, Iowa, the son of Dirk Gleysteen and Klazina van der Linden Gleysteen.
1883
Theodora Culver was born in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Theodore Baker Culver and Annie Skilton Wallace Culver.
1897
William H. Gleysteen received BA from the University of Michigan after transferring from Grinnell College. He went on to complete graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University and was ordained in Brooklyn.
1905
William H. Gleysteen began his mission work in China, serving under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church. He was engaged in educational work in Beijing (Peking), mainly at Truth Hall, a high school for boys, where he was Head of School, but also in organizing Presbyterian educational work throughout North China.
1907
William H. Gleysteen married Alice Carter.
1910
Alice Wilhelmina Gleysteen born, daughter of William H. and Alice Carter Gleysteen. She later married Rev. William Scott Morton of Edinburgh, Scotland.
1912
Theodore Carter Gleysteen was born, son of William and Alice Gleysteen. He later graduated from Yale in 1934.
1914
Margaret Gleysteen was born, daughter of William and Alice Gleysteen.
1916
Theodora Culver received BA from Wilson College. She went on to receive a Master's degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania.
1917
Theodora Culver began mission work in China, serving under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church.
1917
Alice Carter Gleysteen, wife of William Gleysteen, died in China.
1920 June
William Gleysteen and Theodora Culver were married in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
1921
Anne Gleysteen was born, daughter of William and Theodora Culver Gleysteen.
1923
Klazina Van der Linden Gleysteen was born, daughter of William and Theodora Culver Gleysteen.
1924
Gleysteen family was on furlough in United States.
Culver Gleysteen was born, son of William and Theodora Culver Gleysteen. He later graduated from Yale and was engaged in diplomatic service.
1926
William Henry Gleysteen was born, son of William and Theodora Culver Gleysteen. He later graduated from Yale in 1947.
1928
Theodore Culver, father of Theodora, died.
1930
Dirk Gleysteen was born, son of William and Theodora Culver Gleysteen.
1931
Gleysteen family was on furlough in United States following trip home from China via Europe.
1939-1940
Gleysteen family was on furlough in United States following trip home from China via Europe.
1940-1942
The Gleysteens returned to China in 1940 and were in Beijing (Peking) when the United States entered the war against Japan. In December 1941 Japanese soldiers surrounded the Beijing (Peking) compound and Gleysteens were placed under house arrest. After a time the gate guards were removed but William and the Gleysteen sons were required to wear red armbands when out in the street, indicating that they were Americans.
1943 March
American and British residents in Beijing (Peking) were notified by Japanese authorities to go to the Civilian Assembly Center at Weixian, Shandong (Weihsien, Shantung) where the former Presbyterian compound had been made ready to receive about 1800 internees from North China. Theodora, William, William, Jr., and Dirk Gleysteen were interned at Weixian (Weihsien).
1943 September
Gleysteen family was among the American and Canadian citizens repatriated, leaving China on the Teia Maru and then transferring to the S.S. Gripsholm.
1944
Upon return to the United States, the Gleysteens stayed at the home of Theodora's mother in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. William worked for the Presbyterian Board of Missions, presenting the cause of missions in the New York and Philadelphia areas.
1948 January 18
William H. Gleysteen died in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
1957
Annie Wallace Culver, Theodora's mother, died.
1976 May
Theodora Culver Gleysteen died in Pennsylvania.

Processing Information

Place names were modernized in the description, with the name originally used in the collection material or in an older version of the finding aid in parenthesis: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” or “Benin (Dahomey)”.
Title
Guide to the Gleysteen Family Papers
Author
Paul Strike and Martha Lund Smalley
Date
2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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