Skip to main content

Wakefield Family Papers

Call Number: RG 183

Scope and Contents

These papers complement other collections at the Yale Divinity Library, including the Robert and Gladys Bundy Papers, Record Group 141 (colleagues of the Wakefields at Boone) and the records of Huachung University held in the Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, Record Group No. 11. Quite apart from the China-related material in this collection is its interesting documentation of the treatment of tuberculosis in the United States during the 1930s.

In the Family Correspondence of Series I, letters written by Paul Wakefield to Olive from 1926 to 1927 provide valuable commentary on the political and economic situation in China and at Boone College. The General Correspondence: China-Related of Series II also provides detailed reporting of the situation in China, the siege of Wuchang, and mission "politics", particularly in substantive letters with Wakefield's colleague Robert Bundy and Bishop Logan H. Roots. Paul Wakefield was a man of strong opinions who did not hesitate to express his views. Also of interest in Series II are numerous letters from Francis C. M. Wei (1881-1976), who was President of Huachung University (Central China) and a prominent figure in Christian higher education and theology in China. Wakefield continued to receive correspondence from China after his return to the States, including a substantive series of letters from Bishop A. H. Gilman dated 1939-1946. The Topically arranged section of Series II contains both letters and other documents that provide information about Wakefield's work at Luchowfu Hospital and the circumstances surrounding his resignation, the seige of Wuchang in the fall of 1926, the development of Boone College and Central China (Huachung) University, the Wakefield's vacation home in Guling (Kuling), and the Nanking Incident of 1927.

The Writings, Sermons, and Speeches of Paul Wakefield in Series V include documentation of the Siege of Wuchang, medical subjects such as tuberculosis treatment, and devotional material. Of particular interest in Series V are writings by Minnie Vautrin describing the refugee work at Ginling College in Nanking during 1937-1938, as well as reports and writings by Francis C. M. Wei.

Series VI, Personal Items and Memorabilia includes biographical material, letters of condolence following Paul Wakefield's untimely death, and materials related to a controversial interview of Wakefield by New York Times reporter Frederick Wells in June 1927.

The Collected Material: China-Related of Series VII contains valuable documentation of the American Church Mission (Episcopal) in China, including printed newsletters of the District of Hankow (1926-1949) and printed newsletters of the Districts of Anking and Shanghai. Three issues of The Magpie, a magazine published by the students of Central China University provide fascinating insight into the campus life and issues of concern during the 1924-1926 period.

The Wakefield Papers also include photographs of the Wakefields, their colleagues and surroundings in China and samples of newspapers of the era from China and Japan.


  • 1904-2000


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Catharine Wakefield Ward.


  1. I. Family Correspondence
  2. II. General Correspondence: China-Related
  3. III. General Correspondence: Post-China Era
  4. IV. Writings/Sermons/Speeches of APW
  5. V. Writings of Others
  6. VI. Personal Items and Memorabilia
  7. VII. Collected Material: China-Related
  8. VIII. Collected Material: Post-China Era
  9. IX. Photographs
  10. X. Newspapers


4 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, and collected material document the life and work of Arthur Paul Wakefield and family, including information regarding medical work in China and interactions with Chinese colleagues, among them Francis C. M. Wei. Arthur Paul Wakefield was a medical missionary serving in China under the Disciples of Christ and Episcopal mission agencies from 1905 to 1927. He served at Luchowfu Hospital in Anhui (Anhwei) province from 1912 to 1919 and at Boone College, Central ChristianUniversity in Wuchang from 1919 to 1927. Following his return from China, Wakefield was involved in public health and tuberculosis treatment in Maine and Massachusetts.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Paul Wakefield was born in North Bloomfield, Ohio on October 5, 1878. He grew up in Hiram, Ohio where his father taught at Hiram College. Wakefield (known as Paul) graduated from Hiram College in 1900. In 1904 he received his M.D. from Rush Medical College and married Olive Catharine Lindsay. Olive was a 1901 graduate of Hiram College and the sister of poet Vachel Lindsay. The Wakefields had three surviving children: Vachel, Catharine, and Martha. Their second child, Mary Churchill Wakefield, died of scarlet fever at the age of nine,

while a student at the Shanghai American School.

Paul Wakefield was a medical missionary in China, first stationed in Nanking under the Foreign Missionary Society of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1905 to 1912 and later serving in Luchowfu until 1919 and in Wuchang under the Episcopal American Church Mission from 1919-1927. He was decorated by the Chinese Red Cross for flood relief and dyke reconstruction work along the Yangtze River. Wakefield received a Master's degree from Bethany College in 1907 and was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Graduate School of Tropical Medicine at Harvard University in 1917.

At Boone College, an Episcopal institution in Wuchang that became part of Huachung, or Central China University, Wakefield was in charge of student health work from 1919 to 1927 and also taught courses. He aided in saving the university property when Wuchang was under seige by the Soviet-Nationalist army in 1926-1927. In October 1928 all missionaries in the Wuchang area were forced to leave because of political disruption.

The Wakefields settled in Massachusetts where Paul worked for several years with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Chadwick Clinic. Dr. Chadwick, later Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts, founded this ten-year clinic to examine public school students throughout Massachusetts for evidence of early tuberculosis. The Chadwick Clinic made such a difference in discovery and treatment of early stage tuberculosis that various sanitoria for young people in Massachusetts were converted to care for the elderly. Paul Wakefield later became superintendent of the Central Maine Sanatorium and specialized in surgical procedures for tuberculosis. He spent his final years back with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health directing a statewide program for crippled children. Paul Wakefield died suddenly at age 63.

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 Wakefield Family Papers
Compiled by Kathryn Lund 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

409 Prospect Street
New Haven CT 06511 US
(203) 432-5301

Opening Hours