Skip to main content

Trustees of Lingnan University Records

Call Number: RG 14

Scope and Contents

Record Group No. 14 represents the official archives of the Trustees of Lingnan University from approximately 1952 to the present. The documentation in this record group complements the earlier records of the Trustees of Lingnan University which were sent to the Harvard University Library in the late 1950s. The financial records and photographs in Record Group No. 14 provide substantial early documentation of Lingnan University and its predecessor, Canton Christian College. The remaining series deal primarily with the Trustees' actions and policies during the period of transition following the Communist takeover of Lingnan in 1949 and the development of new spheres of influence in the support of institutions such as Chung Chi College, Lingnan College and the Lingnan Institute of Business Administration in Hong Kong. Notable correspondents include administrators and former faculty, including Yorke Allen, William Cadbury, William P. Fenn, Henry S. Frank, George Weidman Groff, Y.L. Lee and C.T. Yung.

The Consolidated General File of Series I is the office file from the New York headquarters of the Trustees. The original order of this file has been maintained except for minor rearrangements necessitated by inconsistent or illogical filing procedures. The file is primarily correspondence, but also includes financial, legal and other documents. A large portion of the file deals with financial matters - ranging from pensions for former faculty members to disputes regarding the disposition of bequests made to Lingnan University to documentation of investment holdings. Also in Series I, the relationship between the Lingnan Trustees and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia is documented. There are numerous letters providing certification of graduation for former students at Lingnan whose scholastic records were made unavailable by Communist control of Lingnan. Noteworthy documentation of the work of former faculty members includes material regarding the G. Weidman Groff Collection of books, articles and manuscripts recording observations of the occurrence and use of plants in China from 1907 to 1947. (This collection was deposited at Pennsylvania State University. Penn State had a close relationship with the agriculture program at Lingnan.) Also of note are correspondence and notes related to the history of Lingnan written by Charles H. Corbett.

The Administrative Records of Series II center around the annual and semi-annual meetings of the Trustees. Minutes and supporting materials thoroughly document actions and policies of the Trustees from 1952 to 1982. The relationship between Lingnan College in Hong Kong and the former Lingnan University is one of many subject areas touched upon in these records. In one incident documenting this relationship, it is noted that a 1976 Progress Report from Lingnan College stated that the College was a continuation of Lingnan University. The Trustees, having repeatedly warned the College against making such assertions, drafted a letter to the College in yet another attempt to discourage further statements of this nature. Fairly complete records from the Finance Committee and more sporadic documentation of other committees are also available in Series II.

The Financial Records of Series III represent only a portion of financially related material in the record group. Numerous folders in the Consolidated General File, extensive records of the Finance Committee in Series II and financial records in Series IV related to the institutions supported by the Lingnan Trustees all supplement the ledgers and statistical reports of Series III. This scattering of financial records has led to some duplication and inconsistency. For example, investment reports can be found both under the Bank of New York in the Consolidated General File and in Series III.

Series IV, Related Institutions and Programs, contains correspondence, reports, publications and financial records which trace the development and operation of institutions in Hong Kong supported by the Trustees of Lingnan University. The majority of the material concerns Chung Chi College, Lingnan College and the Lingnan Institute of Business Administration, which was later known as the Lingnan Graduate School of Business Administration. Additional records related to Chung Chi College are available in the Library's Record Group No. 11, Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

Series V contains nearly seven linear feet of photographs dating from 1898 to 1978. The buildings and grounds of Lingnan University, and scenes from its environs are well documented. Numerous individual and group portraits are available for faculty, students and others associated with the University. Aspects of campus life documented include agricultural activities, athletics, clubs, and special events. The photographs are, in most cases, well identified.

Series VI, Addendum, includes materials previously housed at the Harvard-Yenching Library.


  • 1885-1982


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.


  1. I. Consolidated General File, 1926-1977
  2. II. Administrative Records, 1945-1982
  3. III. Financial Records, 1919-1981
  4. IV. Related Institutions and Programs, 1954-1981
  5. V. Photographs, 1898-1973, n.d.
  6. VI. Addendum, 1885-1950, n.d.


30 Linear Feet (68 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Collection contains letters, minutes, financial reports, photos and other documents. These records represent the official archives of the Trustees of Lingnan University from approximately 1952 to the present. Originals of the earlier official archives are located at Harvard; a microfilm copy is available at the Yale Divinity Library. The photos and financial records in this collection provide substantial early documentation of Lingnan University and Canton Christian College. Lingnan University, located in Guangzhou (Canton), China, was formerly known as Canton Christian College. It received its charter from the New York Board of Regents in 1893. American involvement with the University ended in 1949 following the Communist takeover of Guangzhou (Canton). The Trustees of Lingnan University supported other institutions and programs after 1949, including Chung Chi College, Lingnan College, and the Lingnan Institute of Business Administration, all in Hong Kong.

Biographical / Historical

Andrew P. Happer, founder and first President of Lingnan, was a pioneer in establishing the Presbyterian Mission in Guangzhou (Canton), China. He lived in the Portuguese colony of Macao and sought converts to Christianity through his medical practice.
Rev. B.C. Henry presented a paper to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in an attempt to secure their approval of the establishment of a Christian college in Guangzhou (Canton), which later would become Lingnan.
Dr. Happer and six of his friends met at the Mission House in New York City to organize a Board of Trustees for Lingnan.
The Trustees authorized Dr. Happer to go to China, rent buildings, and open the college. He had been elected as President.
Dr. Happer opened a scientific school. Classes began on March 28.
Scientific school was closed due to the failing health of the Happers.
Guangzhou (Canton) was approved as the future site of the college.
Christian College in China received its charter from New York Regents. Its campus was located at Pui Ying School at Fati. Rev. B.C. Henry was elected President.
Commencement of the first academic year, with a faculty of four Chinese and two Americans. Dr. Henry resigned as President, but was persuaded to remain in that office until 1896.
H.V. Noyes was elected President.
The college became nondenominational and moved to Macao for four years during the Boxer Rebellion. Rev. Oscar F. Wisner held the office of President until 1907.
The name of the college was changed to Canton Christian College. At the same time, the Chinese name was changed from Kaak Chi Shue Yuen to Ling Nam Hok Tong.
Lingnan was one of the pioneers of coeducation in China. Girls were admitted to classes and it was found to be so successful that the practice was continued. The primary school was opened in this year.
Charles K. Edmunds served as President.
The Medical School was opened, but soon was closed because four of its five students had received scholarships to study medicine in America.
The Preparatory Department was lengthened to five years and became known as the Middle School.
The first three men were graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The $25,000 legacy of General Horace W. Carpentier made possible the purchase of the land and buildings for the University Medical School.
The College of Agriculture opened under the leadership of George Weidman Groff.
James M. Henry served as President, with Chung Wing-kwang as Associate President.
The institution was officially called Lingnan University. "Ling Nam" ("Ling Nan" in Mandarin) means "South of the Mountain Range".
The university was in the control of the Chinese Board of Directors. The Board of Trustees in New York became known as the American Foundation.
Chung Wing-kwang held the office of President. James M. Henry remained as the Resident Director of the Foundation and Provost of the University. The main function of the New York Trustees was to continue to support the western personnel.
The College of Engineering was established.
The Associated Boards for Christian Colleges in China was formed but did not include Lingnan, which remained independent. Lingnan continued its relationship with Pennsylvania State College.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Medical College of Lingnan was founded. It was formed by the union of Hackett Medical College for Women and the ninety-year-old Canton Hospital, for which Lingnan had accepted responsibility since 1930.
The College of Arts and Sciences was divided into two colleges: the College of Arts and the College of Sciences, with the College of Engineering reduced to a department of the latter. Y.L. Lee served as President.
Lingnan was evacuated to Hong Kong.
The Japanese took possession of Lingnan on the same day they seized Hong Kong.
Lingnan and ABCCC joined with other organizations to form the United China Relief to help raise funds for emergencies incurred during the war with Japan.
Lingnan had to close its Guangzhou (Canton) campus because of the war. General Yue Han-mou allowed Lingnan to use a site at Taitsuen, where the university remained until 1945.
Lingnan University reopened in Guangzhou (Canton).
Ch'en Su-cning was chosen to hold the office of President. Under his direction, a College of Business Administration with a Department of Math was organized.
Communist forces entered Guangzhou (Canton). Americans, students and all nonessential people were forced to leave. The Communists took over the university and made changes in the curriculum.
Lingnan subsidized Chung Chi College and Lingnan Middle School in Hong Kong.
Completely under the rule of the new Chinese government, the university was now called the College of Arts of Sun Yat-sen University. Ch'en Su-ching was allowed to remain, now serving as Vice President. All western personnel departed and contact between America and Lingnan ceased.
UBCCC, later UBCHEA, assisted the Trustees of Lingnan in administration and financial matters, however, Lingnan remained a separate organization.
After the Communists took over Lingnan University, the Trustees formed a policy committee. The committee made its report in June and voted to widen the scope of the Lingnan Trustees and to fund a variety of programs.
The Lingnan Institute of Business Administration opened on the grounds of the new Chinese University of Hong Kong, with Maurice Moonitz as its founding director.
Lingnan College of Arts and Sciences opened in Hong Kong.
While the Trustees continued their support of all of their related institutions and programs, the progress and development of Lingnan College was of utmost concern. Henry Frank made an evaluative visit to the Hong Kong campus in September, 1968 and found that the college was striving to uphold the high academic principles established by Lingnan University.
The Lingnan Institute of Business Administration inaugurated a one-year general management training course for executive and middle echelon businessmen who were nominated and financed by their own firms.
The Trustees decided that any attempt to restore Lingnan University, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere, as it formerly functioned in Guangzhou (Canton) would face unsurmountable obstacles. Therefore, it was voted that the Board would have no active interest in supporting such attempts. A Program Planning Committee was appointed for the purpose of reviewing and developing new educational projects and activities with the People's Republic of China. The Trustees continued to appropriate funds to institutions such as LIBA and Lingnan College as finances permitted.
The Trustees voted to appropriate $34,050 to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a three-year research study entitled "The Commune and Social-Economic Development in Communist China" to be conducted by the University's Social Research Centre. Due to the lack of permanent faculty members at LIBA, the Trustees decided to contribute a sum of $20,000 to enable the Institute to defray the salaries of a teacher in the area of human behavior and an administrative assistant during the academic year of 1977-1978. From that time on, the Institute secured financial support from the Hong Kong Government.
The name of the Lingnan Institute of Business Administration was formally changed to Lingnan Graduate School of Business Administration in order to avoid confusion with the recently established Research Institute of Business and Management of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Russell A. Phillips, Jr. was elected to serve as President of the Lingnan University Board of Trustees, succeeding Yorke Allen, Jr. who had served as President since 1954. Alfred Hayes was the predecessor of Yorke Allen, Jr.
The Trustees voted to disburse a total of $79,520 to Zhongshan University to aid in rebuilding its Sociology Department, and $60,000 to Hong Kong Baptist College for a faculty development project.
Guide to the Trustees of Lingnan University Records
1986, 2013
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

409 Prospect Street
New Haven CT 06511 US
(203) 432-5301

Opening Hours