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Hugh Hubbard Papers

Call Number: RG 137

Scope and Contents

Though a collection of this size cannot do full justice to the wide range of activities undertaken by Hugh Hubbard during his many years of service in China, the letters, writings, and collected material contained here provide an interesting glimpse into his life and work. These papers are complemented by papers of other American Board missionaries held by the Yale Divinity Library, as well as by the American Board archives on microfilm, and its periodical, pamphlet, and report literature.

A monograph that Hubbard contributed to The Healthy Village; an Experiment in Visual Education in West China is available in the Library's cataloged collection.


  • 1943-1974


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Hubbard family.


  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Biographical Documentation
  3. III. Writings
  4. IV. Subject Files


5 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, and collected material document the life and work of Hubbard. Hugh W. Hubbard was an American missionary serving in North China under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Biographical / Historical

Hugh Hubbard was born in Turkey of missionary parents. He was educated in Switzerland and received a B.A. from Amherst College, from which he also later received a D.D. In 1908 Hubbard accepted a short term appointment under the YMCA to Tianjin (Tientsin), China, where he served as a teacher and athletic coach. There he met Mabel Ellis, who was serving under the Women's Board of Missions. Returning to the U.S., Hugh attended Oberlin Seminary, married Mabel Ellis, and returned to China in 1913 under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The Hubbards had four children.

A 1959 tribute to the Hubbards describes their mission work in China as follows: "Assigned to Paoting, the Hubbards began at once to seek for more effective ways of carrying the Good News into all areas of life throughout that station's exceptionally large rural field. Some years later it was the marked success of literacy campaigns in the Paoting field which led Dr. James Yen of "Thousand Character" fame to select one of its county seats as the headquarters of the Mass Education Movement. "The Christian Farmer," a magazine for new literates, was another achievement, as was the North China Christian Rural Service Union, later described by the Agricultural Missions Foundation as the most significant advance in rural evangelism in a quarter of a century. The National Christian Council requisitioned Hugh's services for a time to promote nation-wide literacy efforts; and the Fan Family Village Experiment in evangelism was showing great promise when interrupted by the Japanese invasion of 1937. Pearl Harbor caught Dr. Hubbard serving as Executive Secretary of the Church and Missions. But two years of life in an internment camp only gave their talents for leadership opportunities of a different sort. The Hubbards had barely returned from a post-war furlough when in 1947 Hugh was again requisitioned, this time by UNESCO, to direct for two years a pilot project in Fundamental Education. The Hubbards were the last American Board family to leave China after Communist control was established, staying by under increasing limitations until April 1952...."

"Hugh was an ardent hunter, one of the best tennis players in North China, and as an ornithologists published in collaboration wtih Dr. George Wilder the best handbook on the birds of North China. Both Hubbards had exceptional command of the Chinese language, written and spoken."

Hugh and Mabel Hubbard worked for the American Board Office of Communication following their return from China. They retired in January, 1958. Additional biographical documentation can be found in Series II.

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 Hugh Hubbard Papers
Compiled by Shelly Rambo and Martha Lund Smalley
2000, 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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