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McCandliss-Judson Family Papers

Call Number: RG 248

Scope and Contents

Of particular value in this collection is the Family Correspondence series, which sheds light on the lives of two prominent Presbyterian missionary families in China. The records in this collection are complemented by the papers of Robert McCandliss, brother of Ruth McCandliss Judson, which are located in YDSL Record Group No. 8, as well as by extensive published Presbyterian reports and periodicals, and the Presbyterian mission archives available in microfilm format. Additional family correspondence was added to the collection in 2018.

This collection contains material of relevance to the study of missionary children, containing correspondence of two generations of children separated from their parents while at school. Both Robert McCandliss and Herbert Judson were medical missionaries, as was Ruth McCandliss Judson's father, Henry McCandliss, so the collections are also of relevance to the study of medical work in China. The Writings series includes Judson's yearly reports as a medical missionary from 1919 to 1923 and a sketch of the Hospital for the Insane that was founded by Ruth McCandliss Judson's grandfather John G. Kerr.

While the collection is constituted primarily of correspondence, it also includes a variety of interesting items collected in China, including a long embroidered banner given in thanks to Dr. Herbert Judson for his service in China.


  • 1879-1952


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Brad Bryan, 2012; additional correspondence purchased in 2018


  1. I. Family Correspondence, 1879-1944
  2. II. General Correspondence, 1885-1952
  3. III. Writings, 1912-1923, n.d.
  4. IV. Biographical Documentation, 1917-1929, n.d.
  5. V. Collected Material
  6. VI. Photographs


3 Linear Feet (5 boxes; one oversize)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


This collection documents the life and work of Herbert Alfred and Ruth McCandliss Judson, who were Presbyterian missionaries to China, stationed primarily in Lianzhou (Linchow), Guangdong province from 1919 to 1927. Herbert and Ruth were children and siblings of missionaries to China and these papers also shed light on the lives and work of their families, in particular Olivia Kerr McCandliss, mother of Ruth McCandliss Judson. She was the daughter of John G. Kerr, who was well known for establishing a hospital for the insane in China. The men of the McCandliss and Judson families were medical missionaries, the McCandliss family being stationed in Hainan.

Biographical / Historical

Miriam Ruth McCandliss Judson and her husband Herbert Alfred Judson served as Presbyterian missionaries in China from 1919 to 1927, stationed primarily in Lianzhou (Linchow), Guangdong province. Both Ruth and Herbert were born in China, the children of China missionaries. Ruth McCandliss Judson (1893-1960) was the daughter of Olivia Kerr McCandliss and Henry Martyn McCandliss, who served as Presbyterian missionaries in China from 1885 to 1925, primarily stationed in Hainan. Olivia Kerr McCandliss (1869-1933) was the daughter of John G. Kerr, Presbyterian missionary in China from 1854 to 1901. Ruth McCandliss Judson's brothers Robert and William also served as Presbyterian missionaries in China. Papers of Robert McCandliss are available in YDL RG 8, China Records Project Miscellaneous Personal Papers Collection.

Herbert Alfred Judson (1892-1981) was born in Hangzhou (Hangchow), China, son of Jennie and Junius Herbert Judson, who were Presbyterian missionaries in China from 1887 to 1923. Herbert Judson was a medical doctor stationed at the hospital in Lianzhou (Linchow) [Lianzhou]. Judson was a graduate of Park College in Missouri and received his medical degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Unable to return to China after 1927 due to political disturbances, Herbert Judson began a general medical practice in Portland, Oregon. Ruth and their two daughers, Olivia and Margaret, remained in Oregon while Herbert took post-graduate training in radiology in Massachusetts and then the family lived in California where Herbert served as a radiologist.

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 McCandliss-Judson Family Papers
Martha Lund Smalley
2013, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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