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Henry Hale Bucher, Sr. and Louise Scott Bucher Papers

Call Number: RG 249

Scope and Contents

This collection provides valuable insight into the life and work of Presbyterian missionaries Henry Hale Bucher, Sr. and Louise Scott Bucher. The Buchers were involved in missionary work from 1929 to 1972 and served in a variety of settings, from Henry Bucher's initial period of teaching at Bangkok Christian College through their years stationed in Hainan, South China, evacuation to the Philippines during World War II, time spent in internment camps, a return to China after the war, evacuation due to the Communist takeover in China, and eventual return to mission work in Thailand.

Series I, Family Correspondence, contains frequent, detailed letters that the Buchers wrote home to their families. These letters provide excellent documentation of their mission activities, family life, and the political disruptions of the time. The letters of Henry tend to be more substantial in terms of describing events, issues, and activities of their work, while Louise's letters deal more with family matters. The series includes both "circular" type letters addressed to the home families in general as well as letters addressed to specific family members. Letters written by Henry and Louise to their own children in later years, are more personal in nature and less descriptive of mission activities.

Most valuable in Series II, General Correspondence, are the circular letters that the Buchers sent to their supporters and friends at home. These provide a succinct overview of their work in the various venues where they found themselves. Also of interest in this series are letters written to the Buchers by former students and colleagues in China and Thailand, as well as communications from Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church and from the American Consulate regarding the situation for missionaries in China and Philippines during war.

Series III, Writings and Notes of the Buchers, includes interesting journal-type writings by Henry that describe his mission trips into the countryside in great detail. Also contained in this series are writings from the period when Henry was Associate Director of Missionary Education in the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Board of Christian Education. Extensive sermon notes from through Henry's life are also included.

Series IV, Collected Material, is organized according to the various stages of their work. Documentation of the Hainan Mission of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is particularly rich. Also of significant interest is collected material relating to the internment camps in the Philippines during the Second World War and in particular the raid by the U.S. Army that rescued inhabitants of the Los Baños camp.

Series V, Personal Items and Memorabilia, is divided into three sections: Biographical documentation, Artifacts and certificates, and Audio-visual materials. This series fills out the story of the Buchers' internment experience both through biographical documentation and through audio-visual materials. Numerous photographs trace the growth of the Bucher family and illustrate the venues where they worked.


  • 1920-2012


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. Henry Hale Bucher, Jr., 2012, 2014


  1. I. Family Correspondence
  2. II. General Correspondence
  3. III. Writings and Notes of the Buchers
  4. IV. Collected Materials
  5. V. Personal Items and Memorabilia


7 Linear Feet (15 boxes + 1 portfolio)

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 the Rev. Henry Hale Bucher, Sr. and his wife Louise Catron Scott Bucher, who served as Presbyterian missionaries in China and the Philippines, and as fraternal workers in Thailand from 1929 to 1972. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from the Buchers to their families and their children. Writings of the Buchers, biographical documentation, collected material, photographs, and audio materials document their missionary work as well as their time in the Santo Tomas and Los Baños internment camps in the Philippines during World War II, when forced to leave China by the Japanese occupation.

Biographical / Historical


1907 December 7
Henry Hale Bucher born in Pennington, New Jersey to the Rev. George Hough Bucher and Anna Williams Hale Bucher
1908 October 12
Louise Catron Scott born in Childress, Montgomery County, Virginia to Samuel Alexander Scott and Lucy Alma Lucas Scott
Henry attended and graduated from Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
Louise attended and graduated from State Teachers College, East Radford, Virginia and taught biology at Radford High School
Henry taught at Bangkok Christian College in Bangkok, Thailand (Siam), appointed by Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions.
Henry attended and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary
1933 September 6
Henry and Louise married in Roanoke, Virginia.
Commissioned by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to work on the island of Hainan, South China, first stationed in Qiongshan (Kiungchow), Hainan and later in Ledong (Nodoa).
1934 November 8
Birth of first child, daughter Anna Louise Bucher, in Haikou (Haikow), Hainan
1936 March 7
Birth of second child, son Henry H. Bucher, Jr.
1937 June 6
Twin daughters born, Priscilla Jo and Dorothy June. Dorothy was stillborn and Priscilla was disabled at birth.
1937 September
Family moved to Hong Kong, staying at Phillips House, due to health reasons and Sino-Japanese war.
Family returned to Hainan, stationed in Ledong (Nodoa). Henry worked with Loi people group in island's interior.
Conditions on Hainan deteriorating due to Japanese occupation, the family left for furlough in the U.S. Christmas 1939 was spent in Roanoke, Virginia.
1940 September
Returned to China on Canadian liner, Empress of Russia. Henry and Louise enrolled in the School for Chinese Learning in Beijing (Peiping) to learn Mandarin.
1941 January
Bucher family evacuated to Philippine Islands, initially staying in Baguio and later Manila. Bucher taught at Union High School and Union Theological Seminary.
1941 December
Family evacuated to Los Baños during bombing of Manila, then returned to Manila.
1942 January
Bucher interned at University of Santo Tomas while Louise and children remained in occupied Manila but allowed to return after two weeks. Second son, George Scott Bucher, born.
1944 July
Family relocated from occupied Manila to Los Baños internment camp. Food became scarce as internment continued.
1945 February
U.S. soldiers and Filipinos enabled the escape of internees from enabled escape of internees from Los Baños camp; internees housed on New Bilibad prison grounds until repatriation.
1945 May
Bucher family returned to U.S. on USS Eberlee and went to New Jersey and later to Hartford, Connecticut where Henry and Louise enrolled at Hartford Seminary.
1946 December
Family returned to China, stationed at Qiongshan (Kiungchow), Hainan.
Children Anna and Henry, Jr. attended boarding school at Shanghai American School.
1949 Spring
Family went to Hong Kong where Henry, Sr. was hospitalized with amoebic dysentery. Doctor recommended health leave to the U.S. in the summer of 1949
1949 July
Bucher family returned to U.S. and resided in New Jersey.
Bucher served as Associate Director of Missionary Education in the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Board of Christian Education, Philadelphia
Henry and Louise Bucher served in Phetchaburi (Phetburi), Thailand under the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Daughter Priscilla severely burned when her clothes accidentally caught fire in the family's Phetchaburi (Phetburi) kitchen. This added to the trauma of cerebral palsy from childbirth.
The Buchers retired and went to live in Chattanooga, TN where Henry engaged in various temporary pastoral positions at four Presbyterian churches in the area.
For health considerations, the Buchers left Chattanooga for retirement communities, initially in Leesburg, Florida and later in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at Westminster Garden in Duarte, California. While in Leesburg, Henry was the organizing pastor of the Lake Square Presbyterian Church.
1996 November 8
Louise Bucher died. In 1997 her ashes were buried half near Roanoke, Virginia, and half in Phetchaburi (Phetburi), Thailand.
1998 November 25
Henry H. Bucher, Sr. died. In 1999 his ashes were buried half near Roanoke , Virginia, and half in Phetchaburi (Phetburi), Thailand

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 Henry Hale Bucher, Sr. and Louise Scott Bucher Papers
Melissa Kerrigan and Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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