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Lorenzo and Ruth Bennett Morgan Papers

Call Number: RG 126
Scope and Contents
This collection documents many facets of the life and times of Lorenzo and Ruth Morgan and their three children, both during their time in China as doctors and missionaries (1904-1946) and in the United States (1946-1955) after their return. Extensive correspondence, diaries, writings, biographical data, collected material, and photographs in these archives provide detailed documentation regarding the Morgans' work and the turbulent events of Chinese society during the first half of the twentieth century. These papers complement the papers of Paul and Helen Hayes (RG 18) who were Methodist missionaries stationed in Wuhu and Zhenjiang (Chinkiang), Anhwei Province from 1921 to 1935.

Series I, Family Correspondence, is the largest portion of the collection. The majority of family correspondence consists of letters of Loren and Ruth to and from their parents and siblings in the U.S. and to their children away at school. The letters describe their six-month journey from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to their first assignment in China, as well as the travails and adventures they experienced once they reached their destination. Forty-one years of correspondence from China provides descriptions of the Morgans' medical missionary work, as well as their involvement in various events, including the 1907-1908 famine in Jiangsu (Kiang Su) Province, the 1918 outbreak of plague in Datong (Tatung) and the area northeast of Beijing (Peking), a major revolution against all foreigners in Lianyungang (Haichow) in 1927; the Japanese invasion of their city, Wuhu, and their hospital in 1936,and the imprisonment of foreigners in Shanghai by the Japanese from 1942 until 1945. The frequent, detailed letters to family members also document family activities, marital stresses, successes and setbacks in their medical work, relationships with other missionaries, daily events including language learning and running a household, trouble with bandits, and so forth. Correspondence between Loren and Ruth during his absence from her while fighting the plague in 1918, and his letters from the internment camp in Shanghai where he was held against his will for over three years (1942-1945) is of particular note. This series also includes correspondence from the three Morgan children to each other, their extended family, and their friends, and letters from other family members to one another.

Series II, General Correspondence, consists of more than 1200 letters arranged in alphabetical order by recipient or sender other than the Morgans. These letters document the Morgans' professional medical and missionary activity. Letters to and from friends, physician colleagues, fellow missionaries, students, benefactors, and various organizations document their personal, collegial and professional relationships. The more prominent correspondents are listed individually and include Ira Cardiff, Ed and Gay Currie, Dr. Ailie Gale, Letty Grafton, Thomas B. Grafton and his son Cornelius, Gilbert Nee, John W. Paxton, Arthur Stillians, the Vinson family, and James Woods. Correspondence with the Mission Boards of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the Methodist Church documents the Morgans' appointment to the mission field and their eventual move from the Presbyterian to the Methodist board.

Series III, Writings, is split into three sub-series: 1) Articles/Reports/Notes; 2) Diaries; 3) Notebooks/Compilations. Writings of Loren Morgan include papers from his high school and college years and his reports to various English edition Chinese newspapers commenting on the political scene and daily vicissitudes of life in China. Also of note are Loren's detailed diaries from the period of his internment at the Argyle Southern Highlanders (ASH) Camp at the Civil Assembly Center, Shanghai. In addition to the fragile originals, there are also photocopies and typed transcripts of the diaries, as well as other related documents, compiled into packets by Carrel Morgan.

Series IV, Biographical Information, consists primarily of printed materials about the five members of the immediate Morgan family and various aspects of their lives. Included in this series would are passports and various academic diplomas of the Morgans, school grades, personal bibles and books used and annotated by them, as well as newspaper and magazine and church bulletin accounts of their various accomplishments and travels and speaking engagements while at home in the U.S. on furlough.

Series V, Collected Material, is divided into five sub-series: 1) Artifacts/memorabilia; 2) Art Work; 3) Publications; 4) Maps of China; 5) Topical Subject Files. While in China, the Morgans took clippings from the English press there and filed them for their own use or sent them home to friends and family members to keep them abreast of developments in China. This part of the collection is valuable because it gives the scholar an on-scene description of events that the Morgans themselves witnessed. These clippings were preserved by family members and in later years were collected by the Morgans' youngest child Carrel to be preserved in this archive. Of particular interest in the "Topical Subject Files" are materials related to Ellen Lavine Graham Hospital, Lianyungang (Haichow), the Wuhu General Hospital, the plague in Datong (Tatung) (1918), the murder by bandits of John W. Vinson, and materials related to former students and aides in China whom the Morgans sponsored for medical training and practice in the USA.

Series VI, Photographs, is divided into four sub-series: 1) People; 2) Places; 3) Topics; and 4) Scrapbooks/compilations. The people depicted are primarily the Morgan family, Western missionary colleagues, and Chinese people, including during the famine years of 1906-1907. Places depicted include the hospitals where the Morgans worked and the Lianyungang (Haichow), Guling (Kuling), and Wuhu areas. Topical groupings include photos related to the ASH internment camp, the German airplane that landed in Lianyungang (Haichow) in 1914, and the trip of Carrel and Dorothy Morgan to China in 2000 to participate in ceremonies there honoring the work of Loren and Ruth Morgan. The scrapbook collections of photographs were primarily compiled by Carrel Morgan and document various aspects of the Morgans' life and work in China.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Carrel and Dorothy Morgan, 2002 - 2005
  1. I. Family Correspondence, 1862-2001
  2. II. General Correspondence, 1900-1990
  3. III. Writings, 1895-2001
  4. IV. Biographical Information, 1868-1955
  5. V. Collected Material, 1900-1994
  6. VI. Photographs, 1885-2000
22 Linear Feet (37 boxes; 8 oversize boxes)
Related Names
Morgan, Lorenzo Seymour
Language of Materials