Overseas Department. China Mission Records

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Reference number


Level of description



Overseas Department. China Mission Records


  • 1835-1954 (Creation)


55 cu.ft. (152 boxes)

Name of creator

Name of creator



In 1834, the Board of Directors of the DFMS passed a resolution to establish a mission in China, with its first missionary, Rev. Henry Lockwood, being appointed the following year. It wasn’t until 1844, however, that Rev. William J. Boone was appointed the first Bishop of China. He quickly established several schools, with evangelical work and plans for medical institutions being the secondary focus. The next several decades would see great expansion for the mission in both territory and effort, but also serious challenges in the form of national political upheaval and damage to the mission's properties. Soon after the end of the Boxer Rebellion in 1901, the General Convention restructured the Mission by defining the coastal Province of Kiangsu as the Missionary District of Shanghai, while the rest of the original missionary territory became the Missionary District of Hankow. Growth dictated yet another division in 1910, and the Missionary District of Wuhu (later renamed Anking) was created, comprising the Province of Anwhei and the northern portion of Kiangsi. In 1949, after the People’s Republic of China gained control, atheist policies and anti-American sentiment prompted the foreign Episcopal missionaries to gradually vacate their stations. The National Council formally recalled all its workers in China in December 1950 at the same time that the United States made it illegal to send money to China, rendering it impossible for the General Convention to fund the China missions.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The records of the Overseas Department document the missionary endeavors of The Episcopal Church in China from 1835 to 1954 and include correspondence, reports, financial records, publications, and visual records. The three geographic districts in which Episcopal missions were located, Shanghai, Hankow, and Anking, as well as Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui, the Holy Catholic Church in China, are represented.


Papers of the Foreign Secretary, 1836-1950
Financial Records, 1836-1950
Publications, 1900-1954
Conference Materials, 1902-1937
Visual Materials, 1917-1943

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Access to Episcopal Church records is governed by the Archives Public Access Policy. Research requests must be submitted in writing.

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The Archives is able to respond to limited requests for reproductions subject to copyright restrictions, internal policy, and the condition of the source documents.

Languages of the material

  • English

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