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Paul and Charlotte Reynolds Papers

Call Number: RG 193

Scope and Contents

This collection provides valuable detailed information about the work of missionaries in the North China Mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. It complements other missionary papers available at the Yale Divinity Library, including those of Harold Matthews, Winfield McLean, Percy Watson, Ernest and Olivia Ikenberry, Earle and Thelma Ballou, and the Bright family.

Series I, Correspondence, includes letters written by the Reynolds to and from their family members in the United States as well as letters to and from missionary colleagues and friends, and circular letters.

Series II, Writings and Notes, contains articles and papers by Paul and Charlotte as well as writings of others. A series of letters written by Paul for publication in the Winnetka Weekly Talk in 1924 provide vivid and detailed descriptions of his activities in China. There are also notes and talks prepared by Paul and Charlotte relating to Fenzhou (Fenchow) and other areas where they visited, Chinese customs, as well as reports on events and meetings.

Series III, Collected Material, is largely related to the ABCFM North China mission, providing "on the ground" information about schools, buildings, conferences, etc. There is a fairly complete run of the mission publication "Fenchow" from the years when the Reynolds were in China, 1922-1936.

Series IV, Biographical Documentation, includes personal documents, autobiographical statements, and clippings. Of particular note is the extensive compilation, "Charlotte and Paul Reynolds - a Chronicle", which was prepared by Jo Reynolds, wife of the Reynolds' son Robert, in 1988. This privately published volume includes excerpts from the journal of Charlotte, excerpts from letters and talks, and editorial comment providing the context for the primary source documents.

The Photographs and Slides of Series V are well identified and provide a glimpse into the everyday life of the missionaries and the schools and hospitals with which they were involved. In addition to loose photographs, there are seven albums of photographs with extensive captions. The final box of this collection contains glass lantern slides of buildings, scenes, transportation, and people in China. These slides were used by the Reynolds when they visited churches in the U.S. to talk about their work in China.


  • 1909-2004


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert Reynolds, 2003.


  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Writings and Notes
  3. III. Collected Material
  4. IV. Biographical Documentation
  5. V. Photographs and Slides


4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, collected material, and photographs document the lives and work of Paul R. and Charlotte Reynolds. The Reynolds were missionaries in north China, serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1921-1936).

Biographical / Historical

1891 January 15
Paul R. Reynolds born in Bushnell, IL, son of Othello and Catherine Caldwell Reynolds
Following education at Wabash College and Ellsworth College, received B.D. from Chicago Theological Seminary
In YMCA work during World War I and then in the chaplaincy. Spent two years as secretary of Congregational Education Society.
1921 May 30
Married Charlotte Belknap of Oak Park, graduate of Oberlin College, a social worker.
1921 May 30
Paul and Charlotte ommissioned as missionaries, serving under American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM); supported by Winnetka Congregational Church
1921 October 13
Went to China
After a year in Language School in Beijing (Peking), the Reynolds were stationed in Fenzhou (Fenchow), Shanxi (Shansi) Province in Northwest China. Work was in the field of religious education, involving teaching and supervision of work over a large area in Shanxi (Shansi) and Shaanxi (Shensi) provinces.
Studied at Union Seminary and Columbia University; awarded M.A. Received D.D. from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Back in China; Chairman of North China Council Committee on Religious Education, representative of the North China Congregational churches on the National Committee of Religious Education.
While home on furlough and studying at Berea, KY, Paul wasmade field secretary of Divinity of Christian Education of the Congregational churches. Paul and Charlotte served as secretaries for the Young Adult and Family Life program.
Served as pastor of Pleasant Hill Community Church, Pleasant Hill, TN and direcotr of Community Center
Suffered heart attack and was forced to resign positions in Pleasant Hill.
Paul and Charlotte members of Board of Directors of Southeast Convention of Congregational churches, Board of Trustees of Southern Union College.
1974 October
Paul 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 Paul and Charlotte Reynolds 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

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