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Dean and Fanny Wickes Papers

Call Number: RG 257

Scope and Contents

The Dean and Fanny Wickes papers provide valuable documentation of their work as missionaries of the North China Mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions during the years 1912 to 1934. The Wickes were well-educated individuals dedicated to their work in China. Their letters home to their parents are detailed and substantial, with a focus on recounting their daily activities and surroundings in China.The Wickes papers complement other collections held at the Yale Divinity Library, including fellow North China Mission missionaries Earle and Thelma Ballou, Constance Buell, Emery Ellis, Lewis and Lois Gilbert, James and Maude Hunter, Helen Kintner, Harold Matthews, Alice Reed, Olga Robinson, and Ernest Shaw.

The Family Correspondence of Series I is primarily from the Wickes to their parents, a regular series of detailed letters. General Correspondence includes letters to and from colleagues in China.

Series II provides fairly sparse biographical documentation but does include family photograph albums and statements by the Wickes regarding their faith and work.

The Mission-related Collected Material of Series III provides insight into issues and concerns of the American Board mission during this era of political disruption in China and financial stress for missions.

Series IV contains a number of interesting reflections by both Dean and Fanny Wickes on their work and on events and customs in China. Some of these writings were published and others prepared to inform their supporters in the U.S.


  • 1908-1943


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mark Waldrop, 2013.


  1. I. Correspondence, 1908-1943
  2. II. Biographical Documentation and Memorabilia, 1908-1936
  3. III. Mission-related Collected Material, 1916-1934
  4. IV. Writings and Notes, 1912-1934


4 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


Dean and Fanny Wickes were missionaries serving in Shandong from 1912 to 1934 under the North China Mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Correspondence, writings, photographs, and collected material document the life and work of these missionaries who were engaged in educational and evangelistic work.

Biographical / Historical

1883 September 10
Dean Rockwell Wickes born in Granville, Ohio
Graduated from the University of Chicago, having received a Senior College Scholarship for excellence in the Department of Geology, and Phi Beta Kappa (1904)
Received Master's degree from Yale University
Received B.D. from Yale Divinity School
Received Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, with focus on New Testament and Religious Education
1912 August 24
Married Fanny Rollinson Sweeny, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis LaBaume Sweeny
Dean and Fanny appointed missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and sailed to China, where they were stationed first in Beijing (Peking) for language study and then at the ABCFM station in T'ungchou/T'unghsien [Tongxian] as of September, 1913, where Dean taught at North China Union College. Summers were spent at the missionary retreat area in Beidaihe (Peitaiho).
1917 August 7
Daughter Alice born
Family based in Beijing (Peking), Dean teaching at Theological College
Family on furlough in U.S., Dean studying at Union Theological Seminary, New York
Return to China; family based in Tongzhou Qu (T'unghsien)
Death of infant daughter Mary Frances
1923 October 26
Birth of daughter Margaret
1925 October
Family moved to Linqing (Lintsing)
Birth of daughter Eleanor
Furlough in U.S.; Dean studying at Union Theological Seminary, New York, received S.T.M. degree
Return to China; based in Linqing (Lintsing); Dean at Ellis Layman's Christian Training School
Family moves to Dezhou (Tehchow) as Linqing (Lintsing) station closes
Family informed that ABCFM can no longer support them in China; Dean returns to U.S. and finds job at Library of Congress
Fanny and Eleanor in in Los Angeles; move to Washington, D.C. in August; Dean is employed by Research Division of Soil Erosion, Department of Agriculture
1935 November
Death of Fanny Wickes

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 Dean and Fanny Wickes 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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