Scope and Contents
This collection contains research materials gathered by Hersey while preparing to write his novel, The Call. The main figure in this novel, David Treadup, was partly based on the lives of six actual missionaries to China, including Hersey's father. Hersey did a considerable amount of research in the personal papers of China missionaries and other figures such as ecumenical leader John R. Mott. The first five notebooks contain primarily copies of original documents related to mission work and political and social events in China. The sixth notebook (which was originally in two sections) consists of Hersey's notes on a variety of secondary sources.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of John Hersey.
- I. Notebook 1
- II. Notebook 2
- III. Notebook 3
- IV. Notebook 4
- V. Notebook 5
- VI. Notebook 6
2.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Language of Materials
This collection contains research materials for Hersey's novel The Call (1985), a fictional account of a missionary to China. John Hersey (1914-1993), a prominent American author, was born in Tianjin (Tientsin), China, the son of missionaries.
Biographical / Historical
John Hersey was born on June 17, 1914 at Tianjin (Tientsin), China, where his parents were missionaries. His father, Roscoe M. Hersey, Sr. worked for the YMCA. John Hersey returned to America where he attended Hotchkiss and then Yale, graduating in 1936. He spent a year at Clare College, Cambridge, served as secretary to Sinclair Lewis briefly and joined Time in 1937. During the Second World War broke out he was sent to the Far East and travelled in China and Japan, before becoming a war correspondent with the Marines. He went on to write numerous novels on a variety of subject. Hersey died in 1993.
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)”. Original alphabetization has been maintained: e.g. "Beijing (Peking)" is still alphabetized under "P".
- Guide to the John Hersey Papers
- Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
- 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