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Kenneth Scott Latourette Papers

Call Number: RG 3

Scope and Contents

The papers are arranged in six series:

The papers contain extensive documentation of Latourette's personal life , scholarly activities, and involvement in various organizations. The material organized in 1974 is given minimal description in this register. The material added in 1983, has been processed according to current YDSL standards and is described in more detail.

The first series, Correspondence, is divided into three Sections: Family Correspondence, General Correspondence, and Postcards. The Family Correspondence section contains letters to and from Latourette's more immediate relations. There are various letters addressed to "Uncle Ken" in the General Correspondence section because of that term's common usage among Latourette's students. The General Correspondence documents the full range of Latourette's involvements. A list of prominent correspondents is contained in the first folder of this series. Two bound volumes of letters written to Latourette by his colleagues at the time of his retirement are located in the oversize box of Personal Items and Memorabilia, Series III.

Material added to Series I in 1983 includes letters and papers related to Latourette's involvement in various organizations and projects. Latourette was, for example, Chairman of the Committee on Research of the International Missionary Council and in that capacity sought to assemble every few years a list of unpublished studies on missions topics. The material filed under International Missionary Council in Series I includes letters to and/or from prominent individuals in the field of missions such as Henrik Kraemer, John R. Mott, Julius Richter, D. M. Schlunk, Bengt Sundkler, and A. L. Warnshuis. Correspondence and papers filed under the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America contain interesting material related to a statement by Latourette about the "Cairo Communique" of December 1943 and subsequent responses.

The second series, Diaries and Ledgers, contain five diaries from the years 1905 to 1916 and two ledgers from the years 1917 to 1921 and 1922 to 1924. Latourette's experiences as a faculty member of Yale-in-China, 1910-1912, are documented in the diaries.

Series III, Personal Items and Memorabilia, contains photographs, degrees,citations, artifacts, and biographical documentation.

Series IV, Writings, Addresses, Notes, contains articles, book reviews, pamphlets, and papers by Latourette, reviews of Latourette's works, material related to his family, and manuscripts. Series V and VI contain similar material that was added to the papers in 1983 and 2003.


  • 1905-1970


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kenneth Scott Latourette


  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Diaries and Ledgers
  3. III. Personal Items and Memorabilia
  4. IV. Writings, Clippings, Notes - Original sequence
  5. V. Manuscripts
  6. VI. Writings - Addendum


70 Linear Feet (169 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers contain extensive documentation of Latourette's personal life, scholarly activities, and involvement in various organizations. Latourette was a professor of missions and Oriental history at Yale University. He held leadership positions in the American Baptist Convention and Foreign Mission Society, American Historical Association, Far Eastern Association, International Committee of Y.M.C.A.'s, Japan International Christian University Foundation, United Board for Christian Colleges in China, World Council of Churches, and Yale-China Association.

Biographical / Historical

1884 Aug 6
Born in Oregon City, Oregon, son of DeWitt Clinton and Rhoda (Scott) Latourette
B.S., Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon
B.A., Yale
Ph.D., Yale
Traveling secretary, Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions
Faculty member, College of Yale in China, Changsha, China (forced to return for health reasons)
Professor of history, Reed College, Portland, Oregon
Professor of history, Denison University, Granville, Ohio
Ordained to the Baptist ministry
1921 -1927
Professor of missions, Yale
Professor of missions and Oriental history
Received Order of Jade from Chinese government
Chairman, Department of Religion, Graduate School, Yale
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religion, Yale
Professor Emeritus, Yale
1968 Dec 26
Died in Oregon City, Oregon

Latourette held leadership positions in the following organizations:

  1. American Baptist Convention and Foreign Mission Society
  2. American Historical Association
  3. Far Eastern Association
  4. International Board, Y.M.C.A.
  5. Japan International Christian University Foundation
  6. United Board for Christian Colleges in China
  7. World Council of Churches
  8. Yale-in-China Association

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)”. Original alphabetization was maintained: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” will still be alphabetized under “P.”

Guide to the Kenneth Scott Latourette Papers
Compiled by Lynn Buckley Aber and Martha Lund Smalley
1974, 1983, 2003
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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