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Paul and Frieda Taylor Family Papers

Call Number: RG 227
Scope and Contents

This collection provides valuable documentation of the development and operations of Huachung University (Central China College) during a tumultuous time in China. Paul V. Taylor's work as Dean of the Faculty carried responsibility for the administration of internal affairs of the college, including the organization and direction of the curricula of its three schools, Arts, Science, and Education. According to a note left by Taylor, the curricula he worked out with Huachung President Francis C. M. Wei were adopted as standards for the whole of China.

Paul V. Taylor played an important role in the life of Huachung University. In 1922 it was proposed that a "Central China University" be organized, possibly located in Wuchang. The schools to be joined in this proposed university were the British Methodists' Wesley College in Wuchang, the London Missionary Society's Griffith John School in Hankou (Hankow), the Reformed Church in America's Lakeside College in Yueyang (Yochow), the Yale-in-China, or Yali, institution in Changsha, and the American Episcopal Boone University in Wuchang. Due to conflicting opinions about an appropriate site for the union institution and a great deal of political unrest and upheaval in Central China, it was several years before a stable Central China (or Huachung) University actually came into being. Huachung operated from 1924 to 1927 but then was closed for two years because of student unrest and political events. In 1929, the school reconstituted itself on the western part of the Boone compound in Wuchang. During 1937 many people were moving through Wuhan, headed west in advance of the Japanese occupation. The school managed to complete the 1937 academic year, despite some bombings of Wuhan but by June 1938 it was evident that Huachung woul be forced to relocate. Equipment, books, and office records were packed up and shipped by river to Hengyang, and then by train and truck to Kweilin, where Huachung opened its academic year in September 1938. Kweilin was increasingly the target of Japanese bombing however, so Huachung had to move again, first to Kunming, and finally to Hsichow. Hsichow, a small country village twelve miles north of Tali on the Erh Hai Lake, was the home of the wealthy Yen and Tung families. A group of three temples outside the village became Huachung's campus from 1939 to 1946. When Huachung returned to Wuchang in 1946, it found many of its buildings in need of rehabilitation. Plans again were made to expand the campus and the decision of the American Episcopal Mission to erect a new plant for its Boone School outside the city meant that there would be more room on the original campus. Just as Huachung seemed to have cause for optimism, political upheaval hit again, with the Communist occupation of Wuhan in May 1949. The last Western faculty members left Huachung two years later, in June 1951. Additional records related to Huachung University can be found in YDSL Record Group No. 11, Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

Most of the early family correspondence is from Frieda Taylor to her family in the U.S. From 1937, letters are primarily from Paul to Frieda, who remained in the U.S. after their furlough. The collection is of interest for the light it shines on the dynamics of missionary family life, especially under the disrupted political situation in China. Frieda was an accomplished musician and served as head of the music department at Huachang for a time, but was separated from her husband due to health and war conditions for many years.

Additional Paul and Frieda Taylor papers are available at the Philip Schaff Library of Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Some materials related to the Kuling American School and Kuling American School Association that were received with this collection have been transferred to the Kuling American School archives in YDSL Record Group No. 209. The Taylor children attended Kuling American School.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jane Taylor Slabaugh, 2010, 2014

  1. I. Correspondence, 1921-1999, n.d.
  2. II. Writings and Notes, 1924-1960, n.d.
  3. III. Biographical Documentation, 1922-1968
  4. IV. Collected Material, 1924-1962, n.d.
  5. V. Photographs
  6. VI. Addendum, 2014
Majority of material found within 1924 - 1950
4 Linear Feet (9 boxes)
Related Names
Taylor, Paul Vivian
Language of Materials