Burke Library

Western Medicine in China: A Guide to Sources in The Burke Library

The Burke Library (Columbia University Libraries) at Union Theological Seminary, New York 3041 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 Email: burke@libraries.cul.columbia.edu

Prepared by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron, March 2012

1. Introduction and Contents

This subject guide describes the rich range of sources which document the development of Western medicine in China and which are available in The Burke Library. This guide is presented in seven sections:

  1. Introduction to Missionary Research Library Resources
  2. Archives from Medical Missionaries in China, and from Non-Medical collections
  3. Mission Research Library Pamphlets
  4. Mission Research Library Chinese Hospital Reports
  5. Mission Research Library Chinese Medical Educational Institution Reports
  6. Journals
  7. Related materials

A broad range of sources is to be found in both published and primary archival material from the contents of the Mission Research Library (MRL) and the Charles Cuthbert Hall Memorial Library of Christian Missions which were merged within The Burke Library.

The development of the original independent Missionary Research Library was initiated by John Mott following the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910. The aim of that library was to provide information for the development and preparation of missionaries as well as a center to provide a documentary source of the history of missions. Its collections were later described as covering

  1. “The history, theology, principles, methods, and problems of missions,
  2. The culture, history, sociology, ethnic religions, etc. … and
  3. International affairs and global trends.” 1

Many missionary boards, organizations and individuals continued to donate rich and remarkable publications and archives to the MRL library for decades. Unfortunately financial support from those same organizations decreased and, eventually this interdenominational, ecumenical and international library, heavily used by both missionary and secular scholars from across the globe, was closed in 1976. On closure it merged with the library at Union Theological Seminary in 1967 and its original resources continue to be available.

Although guides to the contents of this remarkable library were published in 1968, it only later became evident that a substantial proportion of the unique resources in the MRL were not catalogued at the time of its merger with The Burke Library. Work has been directed towards the cataloguing of published books which are now fully listed in the Columbia Libraries online catalog CLIO. http://clio.cul.columbia.edu:7018/vwebv/searchAdvanced Searching this catalog by subject or keyword will reveal both the published books and even the thousands of scarce or unique ephemeral mission pamphlets on Western medical issues and experiences in China of medical missionaries and nurses.

A project, funded by the Luce foundation, to trace sources which identify the spread of Western Medicine in China has revealed remarkable sequences of Chinese hospital and education reports and other published and archival sources, which are now documented in detail for the first time and form a rich and unique resource for researchers in this area.

2. Archives of the Mission Research Library

Few archival collections of specifically Chinese medical missionaries’ personal papers are to be found at The Burke Library, although many more institutional and personal archives contain further scattered but relevant material on topic. Both types of archival sources are listed below with links to the relevant archival finding aids.

From 2011 to 2014 the remaining Mission and Ecumenical archives at The Burke will be processed for access, through the generosity of the Henry Luce Foundation. These unidentified materials include 300 linear feet of unprocessed archival records consisting of previously unknown archival collections and publications. This subject guide will be updated with further news of collections or items on this topic as they are identified and become available.


Access to Archives at The Burke is by advance appointment to consult the items directly or by limited reproduction request. Please follow the links on this webpage for either service: http://library.columbia.edu/content/libraryweb/indiv/burke/rare_books.html

Archival Collections of Medical Missionaries in China

(John) Horton Daniels and Helen Daniels Papers, 1919 - 1956

Contain the correspondence of John Horton and Helen Daniels to their family and friends. This mainly consists of personal correspondence, which reports and reflects on their experiences in China. Horton was a member of the medical staff at the University Hospital in Nanking 南 京(Nanjing) from 1919 to 1927. Following the Nanking Incident in 1927, they returned to Nanking in 1930 where Horton was appointed Head of the University Hospital. He remained there in post until 1941 and was interned by the Japanese, being finally released in 1943. Following the war the couple returned to Nanking to resume their work, but as a decade of conflict had drained the hospitals resources they returned home in 1950 after just one year of working in the new People’s Republic of China.

For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_8513545.pdf

William Edward Smith Papers, 1897-1936

Dr. William Edward Smith 王為霖 (Wang Weilin), 1864 - 1944 was a medical missionary in Junghsien 榮縣, Szechuan 四川 (Rongxian, Sichuan), West China from 1905 to 1936. Smith was the first missionary in the new mission station in Szechwan 四川 (Sichuan), China from 1905 for the Canadian Methodist Mission, later known as the West China Mission. His archival papers mainly consist of diaries and letters, which detail his experience working as a missionary and as a medical practitioner in west China. It is understood that Smith’s book, A Canadian Doctor in West China: Forty Years under Three Flags (Toronto: Ryerson Press) 1939, was compiled from material recorded in these diaries.

For the archival Finding Aid of the Smith papers, please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_4492597.pdf

Douglas Newton Forman Papers, 1930 - 1949

This small collection of papers on medical mission work was collected by Douglas Forman during his tenure initially as administrator and then as Executive Secretary at the Christian Medical Council for Overseas Work (CMC) from 1943- 1960. The bulk of the papers concern China in the period following the Second World War, although some data covers mission fields, such as the Philippines, India, and Africa. The papers in folders 3 - 4 formed part of a report to the State Department on American medical mission institutions and staff in China following the outbreak of war with Japan. Folders 8 - 10 are mainly concerned with the planned establishment of a Hospital Service Agency in Shanghai 上海 to meet the needs of war-damaged mission hospitals in China.

For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_8513561.pdf

Archival Collections from Non-Medical sources

Materials on Western Medicine and Health issues in China are also to be discovered among a range of Mission Research Library archival collections of both people and organizations not directly involved in medicine as listed below.

Higher Education Institutions in China Records, 1909-1967

Series 1 box 1 folder 7 consists of Yale-in-China / Nurse-in-China correspondence, 1941-1945. The Yale-in-China association, incorporated in 1934, established a college first in Changsha 長沙, Hunan province 湖南 and later in Wuhan 武漢, Hubei province 湖 北 (Hupeh). The Nurse-in-China program was centered on Hsiangya Hospital 湘亞 醫院 (Hsiangya i yüan, xiangya yi yuan) in Changsha.

For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_8516204.pdf

Charles Luther Boynton Papers, 1897-1964

This collection contains the papers of a Baptist Missionary to China, who was working with the YMCA and was mainly involved with the National Christian Council of Churches and with educational institutions rather than medical studies. However Boynton’s lengthy project to gather the names of all protestant missionaries to China from a variety of published sources is particularly useful for researchers seeking the identification of individuals involved in bringing Western medicine to China during the period from 1830 to 1948. Three folders within the collection contain the manuscript lists in ledger books of the names of doctors and nurses.

Series 1 box 8 f1-3 Lists of Doctors in China, 1889 – 1948, 1830 – 1948; List of Nurses, 1948.

Series 1 box 8 f 2 contains a list of the medical missionaries’ names, Society or Denominational Board by initials, doctor’s nationality, gender, degrees, years served and absences from China, 1830-1948. Within this ledger a shorter regional list of hospitals in 1944 is to be found, naming the doctors working in each place.

Series 2 box 23 f 5 contains more general information on Western involvement in the advancement of medicine in China from the period mainly dated to 1948. This contains mimeographed typescripts of the Foreign Missions Conference: Medical Work in China written by Drs. Douglas N. Forman and Wilfred S. Flowers. Topics include the draft for a public health plan as part of medical missions and Reports on Christian medical work in North and South Fukien 福建 (Fujian). Also in this folder a short statistical review of hospitals in China maintained by North American Missionary Societies in 1940 includes the numbers of Chinese and Foreign staff and patients at that time.

Further documents reveal discussions and joint planning on Chinese medical work in the 1947/8 period including issues arising over the education of Chinese national medical students in the USA. For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_5798989.pdf

Abbe Livingston Warnshuis Papers, 1877 – 1963

Series 6 f 81 This single folder contains correspondence and documents relating to the Wilhelmina Hospital in Amoy in 1924. Warnshuis was a Reformed Church of America missionary who was involved in both educational and missionary activities in Fukien Province. He arrived in Amoy in the year of the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and served first as a missionary and then from 1915 – 1920 as the National Evangelistic Secretary of the China Continuation Committee in Shanghai.

<>For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_6277110.pdf


Hunter Corbett & Harold Smith papers, 1862 – 1948

Box 7 f 13 contains a pamphlet in English celebrating the Opening of the Presbyterian Hospital, Chefoo, 1914

Box 8 f 16 China Medical Missionary Association pamphlet of a Council on Public Health

For archival Finding Aid please follow this link: http://library.columbia.edu/content/dam/libraryweb/libraries/burke/fa/mrl/ldpd_5799092.pdf

John Franklin Goucher Papers, [16??] – 1962

Among the papers of this Methodist Episcopal minister, college president, missionary leader and philanthropist the following items of interest on medical education in China are to be found in the first series:

Series 1 box 3 f 7- 8: East China Union Medical College, circa 1912 - 14: (University of Nanking 匯文書院 Hui wen shu yüan, Hui wen shu yuan; 金陵大學堂 Chin ling ta hsüeh t’ang, Jin ling da xue tang)

Series 1 box 4 f 12: Medical Education in Beijing and North China, Notes and Report, 1908 – 1917 (Peking University 燕京大學 Yen ching ta hsüeh,Yan jing da xue)

Series 1 box 6 f 7: College of Medicine and Dentistry: Plans, Layout, Curriculum, Correspondence, History, 1937 – 1954 (West China Union University 華西學堂 Hua hsi hsüeh t’ang, Hua xi xue tang; 華西協和大學校 Hua hsi hsieh ho da hsüeh hsiao, Hua xi xie he da xue xiao) in 1953 became Sichuan Medical College 四川醫學院 Szechuan i hsüeh yüan, Sichuan yi xue yuan.

Series 1 box 7 f 4: East China Union Medical College, 1910 -1922 (East China Union Medical College 金陵醫學 Chin ling i hsüeh, Jin ling yi xue, Nanjing 南京 )

Series 5 box 19 f 1: Photograph of Public Health Education Campaign first meeting, Peking 北京 (Beijing), May 1915

Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry Records, 1898 – 1939

This important and controversial survey of missions in China, India and Burma by a group of laymen in New York instigated by John D Rockefeller Jr. in 1930 collected useful source material together on a broad range of mission, social and cultural topics. This led to a published report in 1932 (reference below).

LMFI Archival Records

The following selection of folders presents the sources on this topic in China

Series 1Box 4 f 6 Medical work in China, [May 1931]

Series 1Box 5 f 4 Medical Work in China, Appendix V-XIII, manuscript by W.G.Lennox

Series 1Box 5 f 10-11 Medical Work in China: Appendix, ms by William G. Lennox, includes Hospital survey

Series 1Box 8 f 1-5 Medical Professionals in China; Churches in China [1931?] includes individual records of medical professionals (mostly in Chinese).

Series 1Box 10 f 7-18 Medical Work and Public Health in China, Jan-May 1931: Copies of clippings re Doctors, Medicine, Public Health, Nurses, Health Centers, Hospitals, Plague and Cholera, Quarantine, Leprosy publications and Health education.

Series 1Box 10 f 52 Medical Work in China, 1931: Fact-Finders manuscripts

Series 1Box 10 f 55 Christianity and Missions in China, 1929-1931: Fact-Finders Notes, Reports, Printed Materials

LMFI Published Report

The final published report of the Inquiry can be found in The Burke Library: Re-thinking missions; a laymen's inquiry after one hundred years, by the Commission of appraisal, William Ernest Hocking, chairman. 1932 http://clio.cul.columbia.edu:7018/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=4607665

In 1933 an additional Supplementary Series to this publication was produced consisting of Part I (v. 1-3): "Regional reports"; Part II (v. 4-7): "Fact-finders' reports" Permanent link to the e-book of the Supplementary Series Vol. 2 China: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924052119389 (accessed 03/15/2012)

In the Supplementary series Vol. 2 Chapter 6, Medical Work in China is covered in pp157-177. Sections of this chapter briefly cover the comparison of the social and medical background situation in China and India; problems of medical missions including a review of three Medical Colleges (Hackett College, the Shanghai Medical Schools and Cheeloo University Medical College, Tsinan 濟南), and Nursing.

The final section of Recommendations summarizes the greater detail of the original Report: Re-Thinking Missions, chapter 13. However following the discursive from p172 statistical and other collateral data are abstracted here from the fuller Fact -finders’ report by William G. Lennox.

3. Mission Research Library Pamphlets

The remarkable pamphlet collection from the Mission Research Library containing more than 30,000 rare items, dating from 1840s to 1960s, remains one of the most useful and most frequently consulted sections of this library by researchers worldwide. Researchers who are interested in the spread of Western medicine into China will find full and varied coverage of this subject from individuals and institutions by using keyword searching through CLIO (Columbia Libraries Catalog) http://clio.cul.columbia.edu:7018/vwebv/searchAdvanced

Searches using ? to truncate words and to permit the inclusion of plurals or other forms, such as mission, mission, missionary, missionaries should be used, for example:

Keywords: Chin? medic? mission?


Restricting to: The Burke Library

Sorting results: by oldest entry first

This will list the most useful books, and journals, but mainly pamphlets which can be recognized by the Location: Burke [UTS] MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating).

Access to MRL pamphlets is by an appointment to consult the item directly or by a reproduction request. Please follow the links on this webpage for either service: http://library.columbia.edu/content/libraryweb/indiv/burke/rare_books.html

Listed below are some selected examples from the many MRL pamphlets on topic to illustrate the variety of sources available.

Aspland. W.H. Graham, Estimate of the yearly amount of narcotic drugs required for medical use in China . Peking: International Anti-Opium Association, [1924?] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 0799

Bo yi hui, Proposed establishment of a Union Medical College for Eastern China, 1909 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1388

Boston Medical Association: Committee Papers relative to hospitals in China: [introductory remarks], 1841 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1393

Cowdry, Edmund Vincent, Renaissance of medicine in China , Published:[1921] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1407

Fulton, Mary, Twenty-five years of medical work in China, 1909. Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1389

Hume, Edward Hicks, Medicine in China, old and new. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1930. Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1407

Lee C.M., Leaves from the notebook of a missionary doctor, 1932 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1408

Lennox, William Gordon, Self survey by mission hospitals in China, 1932, Extract from Chinese Medical Journal, 1932, Vol. XLVI. p. 484-534 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1408

Medical Missionary Association of China / Bo yi hui, Constitution and by-laws, [1887] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1406

Medical Missionary Association of China List of members, with appendix giving name and location of all other medical missionaries in China, 1923 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non- Circulating) 1408

Medical Missionary Society in China, Philadelphia, December 8th 1838. Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1407


Moline, Mary, A threatened hospital in China: being the story of St. Agatha's Hospital, P'ing Yin, Westminster: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1933 Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1409

Report on medical education in China, Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain and Ireland, 1916. Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1387

Sheets, Emily T., Doctor Mary Stone, [1918?] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1836

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (Great Britain), Value of medical missions: Chinese president's remarkable testimony. London: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, [1921] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1398

Sturton, Stephen Douglas, Medical work in China, London: China Society [1946?] Burke MRL Pamphlets (Non-Circulating) 1408

4. Mission Research Library Hospital Reports: China

One new source of information for the spread of Western Medicine in China is the substantial collection of annual reports from Hospitals which were recently discovered in MRL storage. These are now accessible and listed for the first time on the linked Excel file below. Dating from 1838 to 1941, the bulk of the reports contain hospital statistics, illustrations of staff, buildings and patients and occasionally a brief history of the development of the hospital.

See Excel file of Burke Chinese Hospital Reports Survey

5. Mission Research Library Chinese Educational Institution Reports

A survey has been undertaken of the large group of MRL Education Reports to identify the coverage of medical educational institutions in China. The resulting list of reports linked below contains in addition occasional plans, bulletins and other publications with a date range of 1864- 1971.

See Excel Burke Chinese Medical Education Reports Survey

6. Journals

The following Journals are available on microfilm or paper for use in the Burke Library on this topic:

Caduceus : journal of the Hongkong University Medical Society. Hong Kong : Hongkong University Medical Society, 2-3,6-20, 1923-1941 (Language: English)

[Microfilm] China medical missionary journal [microform]. Shanghai : Kelly & Walsh, 1887-1907. Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 1887)-v. 21, no. 2 (Mar. 1907) Microfilm U-006824Burke [UTS] Microfilm (Non-Circulating) China medical missionary journal, Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1887-1907. Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 1887)-v. 21, no. 2 (Mar. 1907). Bound and shelved as China Medical Journal. (Language: mainly English, some Chinese)

[Microfilm].China Medical Journal Shanghai : Medical Missionary Association of China, 1907- 1931. Vol. 21, no. 3 (May 1907)- Cease with v. 45, 1931. Location Has: 1907-1921 Microfilm U-006824 Burke [UTS] Microfilm (Non-Circulating) China Medical Journal , Medical Missionary Association of China. Shanghai : The Association, 1907- Vol. 21, no. 3 (May 1907)-v. 45, no. 12 (Dec. 1931). (Language: English) Notes: merged with English section of Zhonghua yi xue za zhi to form Chinese Medical Journal (Peiping, China: 1932).

Chinese Medical Journal, Peiping: Chinese Medical Association, [1932-1966] Vol. 46, no. 1 (Jan. 1932)-v. 85, no. 9 (Sept. 1966). (Language: English)

Council on Medical Missions, Chinese Medical Association. Occasional leaflet Shanghai, No. 1 (Dec. 1932) - (Oct 1948) 4 issues only.

Yali quarterly: devoted to the interest of the College of Yale in China, Hsian Ya College of Medicine, Hunan-Yale School of Nursing, Hsiang Ya Hospital. [New Haven, Conn.] Vol. 1 (1916/17) - Vol. 21 no 1 (Oct 1932)

Zhonghua yi xue za zhi 中華醫學雜誌. Shanghai : Zhonghua yi xue hui 中華醫學會, Nov. 1915- v.1:no.1 (1915:Nov.), v.9:no.4 (1923:Dec.) Shelved as National Medical journal of China. Location: Offsite (Non-Circulating) (Language: Distinct English and Chinese articles, not bilingual)

7. Related materials

From MRL unprocessed archives materials a group of lantern slides depicting Chinese hospitals were recently been brought to light by the Luce funded project. A list of these is linked below and following preservation work, an online exhibition will be planned.

See Excel of Burke Chinese Medical Lantern Slides

This guide will be updated as the remainder of the Mission Research Library materials is catalogued, and any further information relating to the spread of Western Medicine to China is discovered.

If you have further questions on this topic or about access to the materials, please contact The Burke Library staff by email at burke@libraries.cul.columbia.edu

1 Union Theological Seminary Catalog, 1957/58