Emery and Elvera Carlson Papers
Scope and Contents
These papers, which constitute a major portion of the source material used by Erleen Christensen in writing In War and Famine : Missionaries in China's Honan Province in the 1940s, tell the story of Swedish-American Lutheran missionaries serving in Henan province during a turbulent period in China history. The Sino-Japanese war, Nationalist Communist conflict, banditry, and famine due to crop failures and inflation were dominant forces during the Carlsons' relatively brief but intensive period of work in China.
Series I, Correspondence, is divided into Family and General Correspondence. The Family correspondence contains detailed letters written by the Carlsons to their extended family in the U.S., and well as letters written by Emery to his wife during their wartime separation. Daily life for the family and Emery's medical work are described, as well as the frequent moves and separations occasioned by political events. In the General correspondence section, circular letters written by the Carlsons and letters to/from their mission provide additional documentation, including regarding the American School Kikungshan. For additional documentation regarding the American School Kikungshan, a Lutheran school missionary children, see YDSL Record Group No. 164.
Series II, Writings, includes journals by Elvera and Emery as well as published articles related to the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church's work in China.
Series III, Biographical Documentation, includes newspaper clippings about the Carlsons as well as documentation of Emery's work for the OSS during World War II. Series IV, Collected Material, concludes the collection with material related to fellow missionaries, programs, brochures and photos.
- Majority of material found within 1940 - 1949
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Erleen Carlson Christensen, 2012
- I. Correspondence, 1940-1949
- II. Writings, 1941-1980
- III. Biographical Documentation, 1942-1949
- IV. Collected Material, 1928-1970
1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
Correspondence, writings, and collected material document the work of Emery W. Carlson and Elvera Teed Carlson, Lutheran missionaries serving in China from 1940 to 1949. Emery Carlson was a medical doctor who worked at the Lutheran Hospital in Xuchang, Henan (Hsuchang, Honan) province from 1941 to 1944. He was active in famine relief work 1942-1944 and in 1945 became an intelligence officer working for the Office of Strategic Services behind Japanese lines in Henan. After the war Carlson returned to the mission hospital but the family was forced to leave China in 1949 due to the Communist takeover.
Biographical / Historical
Emery W. and Elvera Teed Carlson were Swedish-American missionaries in China serving under the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America (later known as the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church.) Emery Carlson was a medical doctor at the Lutheran Hospital in Xuchang, Henan (Hsuchang, Honan) province from 1941-1944. He was active in famine relief work 1942-1944 and in 1945 served as an intelligence officer for the Office of Strategic Services behind Japanese lines in Henan (Honan) province. He was allowed to return to his medical work after the war ended but the family was forced to flee when the Communists took control of the province in 1947-1948 and returned to the United States in 1949.
For more detailed biographical information see In War and Famine : Missionaries in China's Honan Province in the 1940s by Erleen Carlson Christensen.
- Guide to the Emery and Elvera Carlson Papers
- Martha Lund Smalley
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository
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