Scope and Contents
Laughton's eclectic career as a missionary, minister, lecturer, and writer is documented sporadically in this small collection. Of particular interest are the materials related to Laughton's work on the "Fukuin Maru" mission ship in Japan between 1920 and 1926.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
- I. Correspondence
- II. Writings
- III. Collected Material
- IV. Biographical Material
- V. Addendum - 2010
2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
Language of Materials
Letters, writings, and collected material document the life and work of James Fyfe Laughton. Laughton was born of missionary parents in China, returning to Scotland to continue his education. He later studied at Crozer Seminary in Chester , PA, was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1912, and served as pastor of a church in Westport, New York for seven years. In 1920 he was called by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society to direct the work of their mission ship "Fukuin Maru" sailing among the islands of the Inland Sea and coast of Japan. He returned to America in 1926, traveled widely, and was engaged in religious education, lecturing, writing, and pastoral work.
Biographical / Historical
James Fyfe Laughton was born in northwest China, son of Scottish Presbyterian missionary parents. He attended the Quaker Mission School for missionary children in Chongqing (Chungking). He went to Scotland for further study and attended various academies, and the Technical Naval College in Greenock. He was in the British Naval Service but resigned to become a missionary. Feeling the need for further study, he went to the U.S. in 1910 and attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1912 and served as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Westport, New York for seven years. In 1920 he was called by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society to captain their mission ship "Fukuin Maru" sailing among the islands of the Inland Sea and coast of Japan.
Laughton returned to the U.S. in 1926 after the work of the "Fukuin Maru" was turned over to the Japanese, traveling widely on the way. The next few years were spent lecturing before various church and community groups and teaching. In 1929-1930 he served as Associate and Executive Secretary of Religous Education in the state of Maine. He was then called to become the pastor of the Woodhaven Baptist Church, Queens, New York, where he served for ten years. He traveled to Germany in 1934 to study the political, religious, and social conditions there. He served as chaplain for various ocean cruise lines during the 1930s.
Laughton was a lecturer at the International Seminary, East Orange, New Jersey prior to his call to the First Congregational Church, Ticonderoga, New York in 1941. He later served the Rugby Congregational Church in Brooklyn, NY and the Prospect Heights Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY. He had a particular interest in inter-racial and inter-creedal groups. Laughton also was a writer, columnist, and cartoonist for various newspapers. He died in June, 1962.
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 James Laughton Papers
- Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
- 2003, 2010
- 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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