George and Mary Schlosser Papers
Scope and Contents
The Schlosser Papers are a valuable addition to the China Records Project collections at the Yale Divinity School Library from a number of standpoints. Their documentation of the work of the conservative American Free Methodist denomination in central China is a useful balance to documentation in other records of more mainline, liberal, and educational work. (Widespread mainline encouragement of medical work in China, for example, is countered by George Schlosser's statement: "The medical work in China, unless it can be a means toward soul saving is in no sense a blessing as I see it, but may even be a curse" Letter to Winifred, 1934 Nov 22) The Schlosser Papers provide useful insight into the dynamics of a missionary family, demonstrating the intimacy and the strains fostered by their chosen lifestyle. The documentation of Mary Schlosser's intensive involvement in evangelistic work provides interesting comparison with other missionary wives who were more exclusively involved with their nuclear family and household responsibilities. Finally, detailed descriptions in the letters and diaries of this manuscript group supplement the body of documentation available at Yale regarding famine relief work, societal routine, and disruption in China during the period 1908 to 1949 and the daily routines of missionary life. Because they did not live on a college campus or in a mission compound, the Schlossers came in closer touch with the common Chinese people than did most Westerners in China. Vivid descriptions of rats, centipedes, and mosquitoes, of idol worship, the night sounds of a Chinese village, dramatic encounters with soldiers, and the suspense of parents separated from their children during a chaotic period of Chinese history enable one to visualize the context in which the Schlossers strove to present the Gospel. ((Letter of Mary to Frances and Winifred, 1934 Mar 4;Letter of George to Mary, 1908 Dec 13.)
Series I is divided into Family Correspondence and General Correspondence. Family Correspondence forms the bulk of the series and consists primarily of letters exchanged between George and Mary Schlosser during the period 1906 to 1912 and letters to and from their children during the period 1929 to 1954. Personal or family news is interspersed with descriptions of events and activities. Interesting documentation of the children's life at boarding school and summer vacations in Jigongshan (Chikungshan) is available. The family letters are candid regarding discouragements and discomforts suffered by the Schlossers and also give good indication of the strong spiritual basis of their work. The General Correspondence section includes letters to and from the siblings of George and Mary, as well as letters exchanged with colleagues in China and with the Free Methodist Missionary Board. Substantive report letters written by George and Mary for circulation among members of their denomination are in Series III, WRITINGS. Additional correspondence of the Schlossers' daughter Frances Schlosser Scherer is available in the records of the Yale-China Association held at Sterling Memorial Library.
Series II, DIARIES, consists of seven volumes of the five-year variety, covering the periods 1912-1935 and 1950-1952, and one journal dated 1944. Six of the seven volumes were used primarily by Mary Schlosser. The entries are brief and factual, with little introspection. The diaries provide valuable documentation of the everyday routines of the Schlossers' work, particularly for the 1913 to 1930 period not covered by family correspondence.
The WRITINGS of Series III include report letters and articles written by the Schlossers for publication in denominational periodicals. Two issues of the Praise and Prayer magazine published by the American Free Methodist Mission in China provide an overview of the Mission's work, setting the context for the Schlossers' activities. Minutes of the Free Methodist China Annual Mission Conference for 1934, found in Series IV, supplement the denominational documentation of Series III. Frances Schlosser Scherer's To Be A Pilgrim, 1988, describes her work with Yale-in-China. Also of interest in Series III is an unpublished, undated account by George Schlosser of his conversion experience.
Series IV, PERSONAL ITEMS AND MEMORABILIA, includes biographical information about the Schlossers, five folders of photographs of George and Mary Schlosser, the family, and mission life in China, and other items collected by the Schlossers.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Frances Schlosser Scherer.
- I. Correspondence, 1906-1951, n.d.
- II. Diaries, 1912-1952
- III. Writings, 1908-1988, n.d.
- IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1906-1935, n.d.
5 Linear Feet (13 boxes)
Language of Materials
The papers document the work of the conservative Free Methodist Church in central China. Both George and Mary Schlosser was active in evangelistic work in the countryside and came in close contact with the Chinese people. Famine relief work, societal routine, and the disruption of Chinese society during the period 1908 to 1949 are documented. George and Mary Ogren Schlosser were missionaries under the Free Methodist Church Foreign Missionary Board. Stationed primarily in Henan (Honan) Province, George served from 1908 until his death in 1936. Mary served from 1909 to 1936, and then returned to China from 1939 to 1940 and 1946 to 1949. In the years between her missionary work she was a pastor in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Biographical / Historical
- George Donald Schlosser born in Clinton County, Missouri, son of John and Drusilla Schlosser
- Maria Christina (Mary) Ogren born in Jamestown, New York, daughter of J. Peter and Anna Maria Ogren
- George Schlosser attended South Dakota Agricultural College.
- George Schlosser joined First South Dakota Infantry of U.S. Volunteers and saw action in the Philippines.
- 1905 January
- George Schlosser entered Greenville College, a Free Methodist college in Greenville, Illinois.
- 1905 September
- Mary Ogren entered Greenville College, joined Student Volunteer Band, met George Schlosser who was Band's leader.
- 1906 November
- George Schlosser left Greenville to serve in South Africa under the Foreign Missionary Board of the Free Methodist Church.
- George Schlosser and Mary Ogren engaged
- 1907 fall
- George Schlosser received permission to switch his field from Africa to China, his first choice and Mary Ogren's strong preference.
- 1908 March
- George Schlosser arrived in China, took responsibility for an orphanage in Qingjiangpu (Tsing Kiang P'u), Jiangsu (Kiangsu) Province. Orphanage was financed by Christian Herald magazine.
- Mary Ogren graduated from Greenville College.
- 1909 December-1911 January
- Mary Ogren stationed in Chengchow for language study.
- 1911 January 13
- George Schlosser and Mary Ogren married. Children: Frances, Mary Winifred, John, Anabel. Frances later served as a nurse for Yale-in-China.
- Civil war forced evacuation of missionaries to Shanghai; George Schlosser returned to Qingjiangpu (Tsing Kiang P'u) for famine relief work.
- Schlossers stationed in Kaifeng and Kihsien, Henan (Honan) Province; Mary was active in evangelistic work among women while George had administrative as well as evangelistic duties.
- Furlough in U.S.
- Stationed in Kihsien, summers spent in Jigongshan (Chikungshan)
- Furlough in U.S.
- Stationed in Kihsien for one year, then in Jungtseh, Henan (Honan) Province
- 1936 December 9
- George Schlosser died in St. Louis, Missouri, while family was on furlough.
- Mary Schlosser in China for one year before disruption of war caused her return to U.S.
- Mary Schlosser served as pastor of Free Methodist Church in Valley City, North Dakota.
- Mary Schlosser returned to China, stationed first in Kaifeng and then in Chongqing (Chungking).
- Mary Schlosser served as pastor of church in Brookings, South Dakota.
- 1955 April 18
- Mary Schlosser died in Kansas.
For additional biographical information see: George and Mary Schlosser: Ambassadors for Christ in China by Frances Schlosser Scherer
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 George and Mary Schlosser Papers
- Compiled by Dineen Dowling 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.
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