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Donald MacInnis Papers

Call Number: RG 204

Scope and Contents

The largest section of this collection, Series I, Research Files, contains correspondence and materials gathered by MacInnis in connection with his major writing project, China Chronicles from a Lost Time: The Min River Journals. The manuscript for this work was submitted to EastBridge Books. MacInnis gathered documentation and primary sources material from the families of missionaries who had worked in the Min River valley area of Fujian (Fukien) province. According to the agreement made by MacInnis with these families, all original format primary sources that MacInnis received for his project have been transferred to the Yale Divinity School Library's China Records Project collections. The finding aid indicates which collections now contain original format materials that MacInnis received. MacInnis's research files contain extensive photocopies and letters that provide detailed information about both Protestant and Catholic missions in the Min River area.

Series II contains writings by MacInnis and by others. Series III, Personal Papers, contains family and circular letters that document MacInnis's work as a missionary in China and Taiwan, as well as his efforts in the 1990s to raise funds for flood relief in China, and biographical information. The Collected Material in Series IV includes documentation regarding Christianity in the People's Republic of China. The photographs in Series V, Audio-Visual Material, include some that were given to MacInnis by families of the Min River missionaries but they were not well-identified as to source, so have not been transferred to the Library's China Record Project collections.


  • 1899-2005


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been transferred to Yale University

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the MacInnis family, 2006


  1. I: Research Files,1899-2002
  2. II: Writings, 1945-1995
  3. III: Personal Papers, 1948-2005
  4. IV: Collected Material, 1928-2004
  5. V: Audio-Visual Material, 1908-1999


14 Linear Feet (43 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The bulk of this collection consists of research files compiled by Donald MacInnis, a prominent historian of missions in China. Correspondence, writings, collected material, and photographs gathered by MacInnis for his book China Chronicles from a Lost Time: The Min River Journals provide extensive documentation of Christian missions in Fujian province. The collection also includes correspondence, writings, and biographical documentation of MacInnis, who was a missionary in China and Taiwan and director of the China Program of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the Midwest China Center, and the Maryknoll China Research Program.

Biographical / Historical


1920 October 8
Born in Jefferson, WI
Taught at Anglo-Chinese College, a Methodist senior middle school temporarily based in Yangkow
Military service with Army Air Corps, Army Specialize Training Program (Chinese language) and Office of Strategic Services; service in China as coastwatcher in Xiamen (Amoy), Fujian
1945 January
Married Helen Paulsen; children: Bruce, Peter, Kristin, Martha
Attended Stanford School of International Relations after discharge from military service
Taught at Fukien Christian University; evacuated in May 1949 due to approach of Communist army
M.Div., Yale Divinity School; ordained as minister of the United Methodist Church
Served as Methodist missionaries in Taiwan
China Program Director, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, NY
Director of Midwest China Center, St. Paul, MN
Director of China Research Program and Maryknoll History Program, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Maryknoll, NY
Retired to Brunswick, ME
Research and writing for book China Chronicles from a Lost Time: The Min River Journals, to be published by EastBridge
2005 December 11
Died in Brunswick, ME

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)”. Original alphabetization was maintained: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” is still alphabetized under “P.”

Guide to the Donald MacInnis Papers
Fantasia Thorne and Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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