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Willard Livingstone Beard Family Papers

Call Number: RG 108
Scope and Contents

The Willlard L. Beard Family Papers consist of five linear feet of material divided into six series. The papers provide valuable early documentation of ABCFM and YMCA work in the Fuzhou (Foochow) area. They include not only Beard's personal correspondence and diaries, but also collected report and printed material documenting mission work in Fujian (Fukien) province. A substantial amount of material has been added to this collection since it was microfilmed as part of the Adam Matthew "China Through Western Eyes" collection and the box and folder numbers have been revised. The Beard Family Papers complement other collections at the Yale Divinity Library that document mission work in the Fujian (Fukien) Province, including the papers of Emily Susan Hartwell, Eva Asher, Charles and Mary Storrs, and others.

Series I, Correspondence, consists primarily of family correspondence, with a small amount of correspondence addressed to non-family. The family correspondence is arranged in chronological order. The original collection contained forty-nine letters of Beard, one from Ellen Kinney Beard and two from Phebe Kinney Beard. In 2006, the Beard family donated more than one hundred additional letters. Transcripts and abstracts of the added letters have been prepared by Jana Jackson, wife of the grandson of Kathleen Beard Elmer; they are filed in the same folders as the original letters. Digital copies of transcripts of letters are available at Many of the added letters were in the possession of Donald MacInnis for a number of years, as he did research for his book, China Chronicles from a Lost Time: the Min River Journals. The letters are primarily written from Fuzhou (Foochow) of Kuliang (a summer resort for missionaries in the mountains) to family memgbers in the U.S. Letters addressed to "Friends at home", "Home friends", and "Folks at home" have been included in the Family Correspondence sub-series. The letters give substantial accounts of the Beards' daily work and touch on political events and social issues in China.

Among the newly added correspondence in Series I are substantive letters written by Willard Beard's sisters Flora and Mary. Besides describing their day-to-day work at the North China American School in Beijing (Peking) (Beijing), they describe trips they took in China, the funeral procession of Yuan Shi Kai, the political situation, and rest and relaxation at the seaside resort of Beidaihe (Pei Tai Ho).

The Diaries and Journals of Series II include three daily diaries of the Imperial English and Chinese Diary format, which provide regular accounts of Beard's activities and acquaintances, and two accounts of trips taken by Beard. A daily account of a trip from Fuzhou (Foochow) to Shaowu and back (1906 November - 1907 January) provides a valuable detailed account of typical missionary work.

Writings in Series II include Beard's account of a dispute between two villages near Fuzhou (Foochow) and the visit of E. Stanley Jones to Fuzhou (Foochow). Collected Material in Series III documents the work of the American Board in Fukien Province and Foochow College. Photographs, biographical information, and memorabilia, and a set of compiled documents complete the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Geraldine Beard (original collection, ca. 1993) and the Beard family (addendum, 2006-2007, 2010).

  1. I. Correspondence, 1894-1944, n.d.
  2. II. Diaries and Journals, 1895-1907, 1928.
  3. III. Writings, 1915-1941, n.d.
  4. IV. Collected Material, 1896-1947, n.d.
  5. V. Photographs, 1901-1956, n.d.
  6. VI. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1900-1964.
  7. VII. Compilation of Documents, 1892-1950s
6 Linear Feet (13 boxes)
Related Names
Beard, Willard Livingstone, 1865-1947
Language of Materials