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Henry Hale Bucher, Jr. Papers

Call Number: RG 250

Scope and Contents

The correspondence, writings, and collected material in the papers of Henry Hale Bucher, Jr. are focused on specific areas that are complementary to other collections at the Yale, including his participation in ecumenical study abroad programs, his work with the University Christian Movement, and his draft resistance in a movement that involved Yale Chaplain William Sloane Coffin. This collection should be examined in connection with the papers of Henry Hale Bucher, Jr.'s parents, the Henry Hale Bucher and Louise Scott Bucher Papers (Record Group No. 249). Henry, Jr.'s early life is well documented in the papers of his parents.

This collection provides personal papers that complement organizational archives held at Yale, including the archives of the World Student Christian Federation (Record Group No. 46) and the University Christian Movement Archives (Record Group No. 235), and the papers of William Sloane Coffin (Yale Manuscripts and Archives, MS 1665) and Margaret Flory (Record Group No. 86).

The Family Correspondence of Series I dates from 1955 to 1968 and primarily documents Henry, Jr.'s participation in a Junior Year Abroad program at the American University of Beirut, a Seminary Year Abroad program at the University of Ghana, Legon, his work as a Frontier Intern in Mission in France and Gabon, his work with university students when based in New York, and his Vietnam War draft resistance. The General Correspondence of Series II covers the same general time period. There is a focus within it on Bucher's interest in mission history in Africa and efforts to gather documentation. Correspondence specifically related to his study programs and work is in Series III.

Series III, Activities Documentation, is a chronological gathering of correspondence and collected materials from the various eras of Bucher's life from his Junior Year Abroad in college to his involvement in Vietnam War-era draft resistance. Areas of particular interest are Bucher's documentation of the 1964 coup that occurred in Gabon when he was there as a Frontier Intern in Mission, his ongoing interest in issues related to the Middle East, and many clippings, articles, and court documents related to his draft resistance. More information about the draft resistance effort is available in a book documenting the Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam organization: "Because of their Faith : CALCAV and Religious Opposition to the Vietnam War by Mitchell K. Hall (New York : Columbia University Press, 1990).

Series IV, Writings, includes published and unpublished writings of Bucher, sermons, and journals.

Series V, Personal Items and Memorabilia, contains biographical documentation, photographs, audio material, and artifacts that generally correspond to the areas of Bucher's life documented in the earlier series. A button and pin collection of more than 480 items provides a valuable window on social and political issues in America since the 1960s, including civil rights, the Vietnam war, drug culture, peacemaking, and ecology.


  • 1936-2013


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


  1. I. Family Correspondence
  2. II. General Correspondence
  3. III. Activities Documentation
  4. IV. Writings
  5. V. Personal Items and Memorabilia


4.5 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, and collected material document the life and work of Henry Hale Bucher, Jr., focusing on his participation in ecumenical study and mission abroad programs, his work with the University Christian Movement and other organizations concerning Middle East and Jewish-Christian issues, and his draft resistance during the Vietnam war.

Biographical / Historical


1936 March 7
Born in Hainan, China, son of Presbyterian missionaries Henry Hale Bucher, Sr. and Louise Scott Bucher
1937 September
Bucher 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).
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
Family returned to China.
1941 January
Bucher family evacuated to Philippine Islands, initially staying in Baguio and later Manila.
1941 December
Family evacuated to Los Baños during bombing of Manila, then returned to Manila.
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 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
1946 December
Family returned to China, stationed at Qiongshan (Kiungchow), Hainan
Henry, Jr. and his older sister Anna attended boarding school at Shanghai American School. In spring 1949, with General Mao’s advancing forces, Henry and sister were evacuated on the USS Repose.
1949 July
Bucher family returned to U.S. and resided in New Jersey.
Graduated from high school in New Jersey and entered Davidson College
Participated in Junior Year Abroad program sponsored by Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., attending American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
Decided to complete studies at American University of Beirut, graduated with B.A.
While attending Princeton Theological Seminary, participated in Seminary Year Abroad program at University of Ghana, Legon
Received M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary
Served as Frontier Intern in Mission under World Student Christian Federation and Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and Paris Mission Society, stationed in France and Gabon
Served on staff of Department of Higher Education, National Council of Churches, and Field Director, University Christian Movement
Henry Hale Bucher, Jr. and more than 900 others who had draft status exempting them from draft for Vietnam War, sent their draft cards to Yale University Chaplain William Sloane Coffin, who handed them in to the Justice Department in protest of the War. In response, the Selective Service System reclassified them as I-A, making them vulnerable to the draft, and many law suits followed, including "Bucher ( vs. Selective Service System." The government lost this case, setting a new legal precedent that draft reclassification could not be used as "punishment" for free speech.
M.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Comparative World History
Ford Fellow, University Wisconsin-Madison
Fulbright/Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow to France, Gabon, and Senegal
Ph.D. in Comparative World History, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dissertation: "The Mpongwe of the Gabon estuary : a history to 1860"
Academic staff, International Studies and Programs, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Educational Consultant with GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities in Basic Education) and pastor in Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Chaplain and Associate Professor of Humanities at Austin College, Sherman, TX
Chaplain Emeritus and Adjunct Associate Professor / Humanities, Austin College, Sherman, Texas

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, Jr. Papers
Martha Lund Smalley
2014, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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