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Hartwell Family Papers

Call Number: RG 4

Scope and Contents

Dating from 1849 to 1975, these papers span three generations of Baptist mission involvement and pioneer activity. It is also interesting to note the constant westward mobility of the Hartwells - from New England, to the South, the Arkansas frontier, and finally China.

The first series, CORRESPONDENCE: FAMILY, is also the most extensive. This series contains letters exchanged between virtually every member of the immediate Hartwell Family from 1849 to 1972. The contents of the correspondence vary greatly from generation to generation. The letters of Jesse and Margaret Forman Hartwell contain parental advice and local color, while those of their son, J. Boardman Hartwell, concern travel and domestic affairs. Most complete, and perhaps most interesting, are those letters exchanged between Hartwell and his first wife, Eliza Jewett Hartwell during their courtship in America and married life in China. The letters of the third generation are few, but include those written during childhood and adulthood. Correspondence to and from various relatives of the Hartwells is also included in this section.

Frontier life, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction are parts of American history documented throughout this section. Correspondence written from China reveals anti-foreign sentiment, mission history, and living conditions.

The second series, CORRESPONDENCE: GENERAL houses letters written both to and from friends and associates of the Hartwell Family. With the exception of letters written by A. Frank Ufford, husband of Lottie Hathaway Hartwell, there is little written by members of the family. Among the most interesting material in this section are two letters written by "J.S. Murrow" to Eliza Jewett Hartwell from "Indian Territories, Creek Nation" in 1857 and 1858.

The third series, WRITINGS, contains a variety of material, the earliest being a group of sermons attributed to Jesse Hartwell, Sr. dated from 1852 to 1858. Two essays are possibly the sole writings of J. Boardman Hartwell. The life and personality of Anna B. Hartwell are reflected in her private "notebooks," which span the years 1889-1944. Inserted in these diary-like writings are correspondence, clippings, and poetry. The writings of A. Frank Ufford include printed articles, notes, possible sermons, addresses by others, and two notebooks kept in Shaoxing (Shaohing), China. Several folders contain reports prepared by Ufford and others, including the annual reports of the East China Baptist Mission. The typed manuscripts of this missionary primarily concern Christianity, Communism, China, travel, and his work in East China. Two lengthy manuscripts are also housed in this section: "The Burning Bridge," a 16 chapter autobiography and interpretation of twentieth century China by A. Frank Ufford, and the 87-page memoir "China in Retrospect" by K.K. Thompson.

PERSONAL ITEMS AND MEMORABILIA, the final series, contains genealogical and biographical information regarding the Hartwells, Chinese leases or deeds which belonged to J. Boardman Hartwell, and a variety of other material.

A. Frank Ufford's collection of "interesting autographs" spans the years 1910-1951. Much of the material bears the letterheads of Baptist organizations or educational institutions, and occasionally letters are addressed to Lottie Hartwell Ufford.

A section of photographs, located at the end of the series, includes photographs of the Hartwells, and their fellow missionary Harry Luce with his young son, Henry. Recent Chinese history is documented by two 1937 photographs depicting the burning of the Chapei section of Shanghai by the Japanese. Leaves from a photograph album show mission work in Shaoxing (Shaohing).


  • 1846-1975


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lottie Hartwell Ufford, 1969, 1975, 1976.


  1. I. Family Correspondence, 1849-1972
  2. II. General Correspondence, 1852-1969
  3. III. Writings, 1852-1953
  4. IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia


7.5 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Dating from 1849-1972, these papers span three generations of Baptist mission involvement and pioneer activity. Jesse Boardman Hartwell, 1795-1859, was the patriarch of the Hartwell family of Baptist missionaries, although not a missionary himself. He served as pastor of various Baptist churches across the United States, professor at Howard College, Marion, Alabama in 1844, and president and professor of theology at Mt. Lebanon University in 1857. His son, Jesse Boardman Hartwell, Jr., 1835-1912, graduated from Furman University, Greenville, S.C. in 1855. He served as professor of mathematics at Mt. Lebanon University and became a China missionary in 1858. He organized the first Protestant church in China north of Shanghai and was active in helping refugees during the Tai Ping rebellion, 1851-1864. Four of J.B. Hartwell, Jr.'s children were active in China missions, including daughters Nellie, Anna (Guangzhou (Canton), Penglai (Tengchow) and Longkou (Hwanghsien)) and Lottie (Shaoxing (Shaohing) and Hangzhou (Hangchow), Zhejiang (Cheking) Province). Son Charles Norris Hartwell was educated at the China Inland Mission Schools in Chefoo and the State University of Missouri. He was appointed to the Southern Baptist Convention's North China Mission in 1909. He served as principal of the Boys' High School in Longkou (Hwanghsien) and, at the time of his death in 1927, was Dean of North China Baptist College.

Biographical / Historical

Jesse Boardman Hartwell, founder of this Baptist missionary family, was born in Buckland, Massachusetts, on May 2nd, 1795. Little is known of his parents, Jesse and Jerusha Hartwell, except that his father was active in the ministry for over sixty-six years.

Baptized by his father in 1815, Jesse B. Hartwell received a license to preach the gospel the following year, and entered Brown University with the goal of becoming a missionary to India. Although he never reached the foreign field, Hartwell maintained a life-long interest in missions. He remained in Providence, Rhode Island after graduating with the Class of 1819 and undertook a three-year pastorate at the Second Baptist Church. During this period he married Maria Thayer, who died within a few years, although the exact date of her death is unknown. The couple had one child.

Due to failing health, Hartwell moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1822 and married Margaret Forman Brodie two years later. At least seven children were born of this marriage, including a son, J. Boardman Hartwell, Jr., in 1835. The following are children of Jesse B. Hartwell: Ann Hartwell Alison, Charles M. Hartwell (d. 1857), (Edward?) Hartwell, Elizabeth Hartwell (d. 1852), Ellen C. Hartwell Edwards (Mrs. Robert G.), Jesse Boardman Hartwell, Jr. (1835-1912), Maria R. Hartwell Haynes (Mrs. Edward), and Mary Helen Hartwell Gibbs. One child, possibly Maria Haynes, was born during Hartwell's marriage to Maria Thayer. His second wife, Margaret Forman Brodie Hartwell, is the mother of the other children.

Between 1822 and 1836, the elder Jesse Hartwell served at various local churches in South Carolina and became a professor at Furman Theological Institution (now Furman University, Greenville, S.C.) In December 1836, the family moved to Alabama, where he was elected President of the Baptist State Convention three years later. His approximately nine years in office were particularly critical ones, for Baptists from the North and South clashed over the subject of abolition and the refusal of Northern Boards to appoint slaveholders to foreign or domestic mission fields. In 1845, he and James C. Crane served jointly as first secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention. The University of Alabama conferred the D.D. degree upon him the same year.

In addition to his other activities, Hartwell became Professor of Theology at Howard College, Marion, Alabama, in 1844 and President of the Domestic Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention.

In 1848, the Hartwells moved to the Arkansas frontier where Jesse Hartwell conducted the Camden Female Institute until becoming President and Professor of Theology at Mt. Lebanon University in 1857. During his two years at Mt. Lebanon, he also served as President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He died in September 1859.

When Jesse Hartwell came to Mt. Lebanon University, his son, J. Boardman Hartwell, had already been appointed Professor of Mathematics at the same institution. An 1855 graduate of Furman University, Greenville, S.C., young Hartwell achieved his father's goal by becoming a missionary in 1858. (Furman University later awarded J. Boardman Hartwell the D.D. degree.) Before sailing for the Orient, he married Eliza Jewett of Macon, Georgia. The couple spent their first year in Shanghai, moved to Chefoo in 1860, and then settled in Tung Chow, where Hartwell remained until 1875.

It is interesting to note that during this time:

"Mr. Hartwell baptized the first man in Shantung province; he organized the first Protestant church in China north of Shanghai; ...perhaps the first foreign contribution ever made to missionary work came in 1869 to the Southern Baptist Convention from his North Street Church in Tung Chow." (Annual Minutes of the Baptist State Convention, South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1912, p. 110.)

During the Tai Ping rebellion (1851-1864), Hartwell devoted himself to the Chinese people: "At one time for nearly six weeks he had on his premises one hundred refugees, to whom he acted as surgeon, nurse, and preacher; dangers beset him and his; more than once he was forced to put himself under the protection of the United States Consul, and on one occasion he and his family were forced to flee on horseback to save their lives." (Ibid. p. 110.)

In 1870, Hartwell was left a widower with four children, including infant twins. The children of J. Boardman and Eliza Jewett Hartwell are: Anna B. Hartwell (1870-1961), Carrie Hartwell (circa 1861-1864), Jesse George Hartwell (1860-1932), John Holzendorf Hartwell (1870-circa 1871), Maggie Hartwell (1870-1870), "Nellie" Edwards Hartwell Beattie (1863-?). Anna and John Hartwell were twins. "Nellie's" first name is probably Ellen. The children of J. Boardman and Charlotte Norris Hartwell are: Charles Norris Hartwell (1884-1927), and "Lottie" Hartwell Ufford (1882-?). "Lottie" may be a nickname for Charlotte. Two other children, Claude Hartwell (circa 1893-before 1927) and Jane Hartwell (circa 1890) may be the offspring of Charlotte W. Norris Hartwell by a previous marriage.

Hartwell returned briefly to America the following year, and married Julia Jewett, the sister of his first wife. Widowed again eight years later, Hartwell became a missionary to the Chinese community in San Francisco, California. He was appointed superintendent for Chinese missions on the Pacific Coast by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, married Charlotte W. Norris the next year, and returned to China in 1893. He died in China in 1912, after fifty-four years of foreign and domestic missionary service.

The Hartwell missionary tradition continued through a third generation, as four of J. Boardman Hartwell's children worked in China. Nellie Hartwell married Presbyterian missionary Andrew Beattie, and the couple served together until 1908. Anna Burton Hartwell graduated from the Baptist Missionary Training School in Chicago in 1891, and worked briefly among the Chinese in San Francisco, California, before being appointed to China by the Baptist Foreign Mission Board in 1892. She performed evangelical and educational work at Guangzhou (Canton), Penglai (Tengchow), and Longkou (Hwanghsien). Lottie Hathaway Hartwell graduated from Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and married A. Frank Ufford, a graduate of the University of Vermont and Andover Newton Theological Seminary. From 1908 to 1941, the Uffords worked together under the auspices of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society in Shaoxing (Shaohing) and Hangzhou (Hangchow), Zhejiang (Cheking) Province. Mr. Ufford was engaged in promotional work for the Society in New York City from 1942 to 1946. The couple returned to China in 1946 for two years of special service. Mr. Ufford died sometime in the mid 1950s.

Charles Norris Hartwell was born in San Francisco, California, but grew up in Tung Chow and prepared for college at the China Inland Mission Schools, Chefoo. He graduated from the State University of Missouri, taught in the United States for several years, and married Elizabeth ("Bessie") Hartwell. He was appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention to its North China Mission in 1909, and immediately became principal of the Boys' High School in Longkou (Hwanghsien). At the time of his death in 1927 he was Dean of North China Baptist College.

The following additional biographical information is contained in the material given by Lottie Hartwell Ufford in 1976.

Charlotte Elizabeth Norris, born in Baltimore July 19, 1849, married Jesse Hartwell in 1881 while Mr. Hartwell was the superintendent for the Chinese Mission in San Francisco's Chinatown. Charlotte, third wife of Jesse Boardman Hartwell, and mother of Lottie Hathaway, Charles Norris, Claude and Jane, died in 1903 having been in China for ten years.

The four children, born in San Francisco, went to China with their parents in 1892. Lottie finished school at the China Inland Mission School in Chefoo before coming to the United States with her brother Charles for a preparatory year at Mrs. Potter's Private School for Girls in Everett, Massachusetts. The summer before she went to Wellesley College, while working as a waitress, she received word that Claude had died of ptomaine poisoning in China in 1902. (Box 22, Folder 12. Photographs re: Family.)

While attending a missionary rally in Boston, Lottie was "impressed" with chairman, A. Frank Ufford, who had volunteered to go to China during the Boxer Rebellion. Lottie and Frank Ufford were married in 1906 and sailed for China in 1908. One daughter was born to them, Nina (later called Betty), who married Herbert Dean. (Box 19, Folder 2. Biographical material.)

John Holzendorf Hartwell, twin brother of Anna B. Hartwell, "grew to manhood and went to Australia. Died there." (Box 21, Folder 12. Photographs re: Family.)

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 Hartwell Family Papers
Lynn Buckley Aber and Jane S. Thomson
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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