Border Service Department of the Church of Christ in China Records
Scope and Contents
These records provide valuable documentation of an indigenous program of the church in China during the years 1939 to 1950. The correspondence and writings of Archie R. Crouch also provide interesting insight into the experiences of a Western missionary serving under Chinese leadership. Crouch was English-language secretary of the Department in China 1944-1946; he continued to promote the Department and correspond with its leaders after his return to the United States.
Series I, REPORTS AND OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS, contains administrative memos, reports, records of the Board of Directors, budget information, and other material documenting the program and operations of the Border Service Department. Arranged chronologically, these records provide a thorough overview of the work of the Department during the years 1940 to 1949.
Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, contains primarily the correspondence of Archie R. Crouch and William B. Djang (Djang Po-huai). Crouch served as a liaison between the Chinese leaders of the Border Service Department and its Western supporters. His regular, detailed report letters and other correspondence provide important documentation of the work of the
Department. Particularly valuable are the substantive letters exchanged between Crouch and William B. Djang.
Series III, WRITINGS/PUBLICATIONS, includes typescript and published materials on a variety of topics relating to the work of the Border Service Department. Some of the writings specifically describe programs of the Department while others provide background regarding the ethnic groups served by the Department.
Series IV, SLIDES, includes approximately sixty well-labeled black and white slides which portray scenes and customs of China's western borders.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Archie Crouch.
- I. Reports and Official Documents, 1940-1949, n.d.
- II. Correspondence, 1935-1984, n.d.
- III. Writings, Publications, 1932-1949, n.d.
- IV. Slides, 1944-1946
2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Language of Materials
The records provide valuable documentation of an indigenous program of the church in China during the years 1939 to 1950. The correspondence and writings of Archie R. Crouch, English-language secretary of the Department, 1944-1946, provide interesting insight into the experiences of a Western missionary serving under Chinese leadership. The Border Service Department was the first missionary outreach effort of the Chinese Church. The peoples among whom the Border Service Department worked were known as the Kiang or Ch'iang, Chiarong or Gia-rung, Lolos or Nosus, and Miaos. Fields of work were western Sichuan (Szechuan) (Lifan), Sikong and Yunnan.
Biographical / Historical
In 1939, the Church of Christ in China requested permission from the government to do educational and medical work among certain ethnic groups on China's western border. There was a growing tendency to view ethnic groups as a threat to national unity in China during the 1930s, so the government eagerly accepted the Church's proposal. An agreement was made that the government would provide certain equipment and the Church would provide the staff. The Border Service Department was the first missionary outreach effort of the Chinese Church.
Cheng Ching Yi, General Secretary of the Church of Christ in China, conceived the plan for a Border Service Department but died before the Department was established. William B. Djang (Djang Po-huai), former Dean at Cheeloo University, served as General Secretary of the Department from 1939 to 1949. Some Western missionaries served under the Border Service Department, but the staff was primarily Chinese. Archie R. Crouch, missionary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., spent two years (1944-1946) as English-language secretary on the staff of the Border Service Department. It is through him that these papers of the Border Service Department have been gathered and preserved. Crouch remained in contact with Chinese leaders of the Border Service Department for many years after his return to the United States. The Department was disbanded following the Communist liberation of China.
The peoples among whom the Border Service Department worked were known as the Kiang or Ch'iang, Chiarong or Gia-rung, Lolos or Nosus, and Miaos. Fields of work were western Sichuan (Szechuan) (Lifan), Sikong and Yunnan. The Department cooperated with other agencies in carrying out educational, medical and agricultural work. During World War II, a project was carried out in conjunction with the United States Army to educate Lolo people regarding the treatment of airmen who were forced to bail out of their planes into Lolo territory.
By 1949, nearly one hundred staff members of the Border Service Department were at work among the border ethnic groups, in primary schools, medical centers, agricultural stations, hostels for travelers, and industry projects.
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)”.
- Guide to the Border Service Department of the Church of Christ in China Records
- Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository
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New Haven CT 06511 US