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Smith Family Papers

Call Number: RG 5
Scope and Contents
The papers date from 1894-1971 and primarily document the activity of Edward Huntington Smith and his daughter, Helen Huntington Smith, in the United States and China.

Correspondence, the first series, is divided into three sections: Correspondence: Edward H. Smith; Correspondence: Helen H. Smith; Correspondence: Grace T. Smith, Eunice S. Bishop, Merlin A. Bishop.

The bulk of Correspondence: Edward H. Smith consists of letters written by the missionary to his family in Norwich, Connecticut. This material, in fact, forms a diary-chronicle touching on such topics as social change, missionary finances, education, bandits and travel. Documentation of modern China's political turmoil--the formation of the Republic in 1911, Chiang Kai-shek's entry into Ingtai in 1918, civil war, official corruption, anti-Christian activity of the Nationalist Army, 1949 Communist victory--is evident throughout Smith's correspondence.

Correspondence to Edward H. Smith is also incorporated in this section, although it is not extensive. Before going to China, he received letters regarding the Student Volunteer Movement, etc. While in China, he occasionally received correspondence from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). During furlough years, other China missionaries wrote to him. After his expulsion in 1950, many of Smith's former students corresponded with him.

A separate section of Newsletters to and from Edward H. Smith follows the regular correspondence.

Correspondence: Helen H. Smith spans the years 1910-1970, but is not extensive. Early material is primarily of a familial nature, while that of later years is professional. Again, Newsletters follows regular correspondence.

Correspondence: Grace T. Smith, Eunice S. Bishop, Merlin A. Bishop is quite brief. Grace T. Smith's letters are to her children and in-laws. Eunice S. Bishop and Merlin A. Bishop material is housed in two folders. Additional Merlin Bishop material is available in Record Group No. 8, China Records Project Miscellaneous Personal Papers Collection.

The second series, Writings, contains biographical information regarding the Smith family, as well as three main divisions: Writings: Edward H. Smith; Writings: Helen H. Smith; Writings: by Others.

Writings: Edward H. Smith include several notebooks of memoirs, a diary, historical sketches, poetry, etc. and four account books documenting the financial aspect of missions. Notes regarding Fuzhou (Foochow) mission history, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. also appear.

Writings: Helen H. Smith contains diaries, addresses, resources for worship, material regarding the Council for Lay Life and Work, papers, examinations, and short stories attributed to her.

Writings: by Others primarily consists of memorial tributes to Helen H. Smith collected at the time of her death.

A wide variety of contents is housed in the third series, Printed/Professional Material. One of the most extensive sections is the Minutes and Reports, dating from 1900-1965, and including that of the International Opium Society (1922) and Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, organized by Rewi Alley (1939-1940). Among the other categories are magazine and newspaper clippings, music, NCCC China Bulletin, and Material re: Early Career of Edward H. Smith. Box 13 contains pamphlets, including many published by the Friendship Press and many belonging to Merlin A. Bishop. Magazines, Reprints and two tape recordings by Helen H. Smith are contained in Box 14. Reprints include several works by Lewis Hoodus, Theodore Hsi-En Chen, some regarding Rewi Alley, and "Congregational Missionaries in Foochow During the 1911 Revolution" by Thomas E. Korson. Chinese language material, primarily regarding education in Ingtai, is located in Box 15.

The final series, Photographs, contains photographs of the Smith family, groups, and Chinese Christian religious art as well as several albums, and an album/scrapbook entitled "Ing Hok District of Foochow Mission, China."

In 1914, the district name "Ing Hok" was changed to "Ing Tai", which varies in spelling.
Language of Materials
Materials are primarily in English. Chinese language materials are found in series III: Printed/professional material.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Writings
  3. III. Printed/professional Material
  4. IV. Photographs
  5. V. Personal Items and Memorabilia
6 Linear Feet (17 boxes)
Related Names
Smith family
Language of Materials