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Roy and Clara Creighton Papers

Call Number: RG 177

Scope and Contents

Many of the letters in this collection were published by Roger L. Creighton as a book entitled "84 Randall Ave. The Lives of Roy and Clara Creighton; Letters of 1908-1978" (in YDSL cataloged collection).

These papers provide valuable insight into the work of a missionary architect and building supervisor who worked primarily in China, first for the YMCA and later for the Presbyterian Mission Board. The letters are primarily from the Creightons to their family members in the U.S., at first primarily their parents and siblings, but later their children. Periodic circular letters by the Creightons provide succinct summaries of their work. The letters of Clara Creighton from China provide an excellent record of the daily life of a woman missionary who was primarily a mother and homemaker, including documentation of the social life of mainline Protestant, city-based missionaries.


  • 1908-1972


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Roger L. Creighton


  1. I. Correspondence, with enclosures, 1908-1972


2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Consisting primarily of correspondence between the Creightons and family members in the U.S., this collection provides valuable detailed information about Roy Creighton's work, the life of a typical missionary wife, and the complications of raising a family on the mission field. Roy Creighton was an American architect who supervised the construction of buildings on the mission field. He served under the YMCA and Presbyterian Board in China, at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and Robert College in Turkey. He also taught at the Engineering School of the College of Chinese Studies. Clara Creighton was a missionary wife and homemaker.

Biographical / Historical

Roy Lamont Creighton born
Clara Linn born
After graduation from Harvard, Roy went to Hangzhou (Hangchow), China as a Building Supervisor for the YMCA
1916 January
Move to Hankou (Hankow)
1916 August
Clara came out to China and they were married at Guling (Kuling)
Roy supervised hospital construction at Boone University, Wuchang
1917 June
Son, Linn, born
Roy worked for Architects Bureau of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in Shanghai
Furlough in U.S.
Daughter, Marjory, born; died in 1922
Son, Roger, born
Daughter, Phyllis, born
Following furlough in the U.S., the Creightons when to Beirut, Lebanon (Syria) where Roy supervised construction at the American University of Beirut.
Following furlough in the U.S., the Creightons went to Istanbul, Turkey, where Roy supervised the building of a library for Robert College.
Following furlough in the U.S., the Creightons returned to China, based in Beijing (Peking). Roy taught at Engineering School of the College of Chinese Studies and traveled to supervise construction of Presbyterian Mission buildings.
Clara and two younger children evacuated to U.S. due to war conditions; Roy remained in Beijing (Peking).
1941 December
Roy interned by Japanese
1943 December
Roy repatriated to U.S.
Roy working at New York office of Presbyterian Mission Board
Roy to Shanghai to rehabilitate mission properties
Roy and Clara to Shanghai, evacuated to Hong Kong
Roy and Clara in Thailand
Roy and Clara in New York, Presbyterian Board offices
Roy retired
Roy died
Clara died

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)”.

Guide to the Roy and Clara Creighton Papers
Compiled by Alice Yafeh and 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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