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Walter and Margaret Tong Papers

Call Number: RG 189

Scope and Contents

The first section of Series I, Correspondence, consists of detailed letters written by the Tongs to family members in the United States while they were serving in the Philippines and Taiwan. These letters provide a good overview of their mission work and family life. The second section of Series I consists of letters written by Walter to his wife and children when he was in the Philippines and they were in the United States following World War II. Davao was devastated during the war and Walter was involved in re-establishing the mission work. These letters provide good documentation of the post-War situation in the Philippines. The third section of Series I contains non-family correspondence to and from the Tongs. Many of these letters are to/from colleagues in the Philippines, and to/from the central office of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The final section of Series I, Circular Letters, includes circular letters of the Tongs and of other missionaries, which provide a good summary of their work.

The Writings and Notes of Series II are primarily those of Walter and Peg Tong. They provide additional documentation regarding their missionary work in the Philippines. The Collected Materials of Series III include detailed field reports of ABCFM mission work in the Philippines. Also included in this Series are materials related to Peg Tong's work with the Committee on Christian Literature for Women and Children in the Mission Field. The archives of this Committee are contained in YDSL Record Group No. 90. Series IV, Personal Items and Memorabilia includes programs and memorabilia from the Philippines and Taiwan as well as biographical information related to the Tongs.


  • 1923-1972


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Tong family.


  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Writings and Notes
  3. III. Collected Materials
  4. IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Detailed correspondence and reports document American missionary work in the Philippines and Taiwan. Walter and Margaret Tong were missionaries serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands from 1931 to 1947. Following World War II Walter served as Candidate Secretary of the ABCFM and later they worked with Church World Service in Taiwan.

Biographical / Historical

Walter Tong was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Charles Tong. He received a B.S. degree from the Connecticut Agricultural College in 1928 and a B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1931. Margaret (Peg) Whitfield Tong was born in Knowlton, New Jersey, the daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Richard Whitfield. She graduated from Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, where she majored in home economics.

The Tongs served under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands from 1931 to 1947. Walter had oversight of ABCFM work in Mindanao, including the Davao Mission Hospital. In 1941, the Tongs were interned by the Japanese in separate camps - Walter alone, and Margaret with their three children, Eloise, Curtis,and Annarae. They were reunited in 1944 but remained interned until American forces liberated them in 1945. After the War, Walter returned to Davao to help in relief and reconstruction work.

In 1948, Walter was appointed Candidate Secretary for the ABCFM, a position he held until joining Church World Service in 1956 as a representative of the Congregational Christian Churches in Taiwan. In Taiwan, Margaret taught English and cultural skills to Chinese students recommended for study in the United States. Following their return from Taiwan, Walter returned to administrative work with the United Church Board for World Ministries (former ABCFM).

Guide to the Walter and Margaret Tong Papers
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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