Service and Missionary Work in Japan and China


This primary source packet contains resources related to service and missionary work undertaken by Americans in 20th century Japan and China. These materials can support classes and research interested in US relations with China and Japan, mission work, education, non-governmental organizations, humanitarianism, and international medical work. Potential pedagogical goals from using these materials might include understanding the ways in which Americans working in Asia talk about their experiences and the people they work with, thinking about US-Japan and US-China relationships in the years around World War II, examining whose voices are represented and whose are not, and exploring, analyzing, and putting in conversation primary sources. 

The materials in this packet document several women teaching at Friends School, Tokyo, a woman working with relief organizations in post-World War II Japan, and a medical missionary and educator in China. This is only a small amount of the materials on these topics available in Quaker & Special Collections. More information on further materials can be found in our subject guide on materials related to Asia in the collections. 

Packet contents:

  • List of primary sources
  • Guiding questions for engaging with the primary sources
  • Articles which provide background on this topic

Primary Sources

Alice Lewis Pearson. Correspondence. 1905-1923. HC-MC-1010.
[Digitized materials]

Esther Balderson. Correspondence. 1914-1915. HC-MC-1185.
[Digitized materials]

Sara Greene Smith. Letters from students and friends in Japan. Mostly 1940s and 1950s. HC-MC-955.
[Digitized materials]  

Esther Rhoads. Materials related to post-World War II AFSC and LARA relief work. 1940s and 1950s. HC-MC-1153.
[Digitized materials]

William Warder and Catherine Cadbury. Letters and Photographs. 1920s. HC-MC-1192.
[Digitized materials]

Guiding Questions

  • Who created the document(s)?  For what purpose?
  • Describe the implied audience for these materials. What informs your opinion?
  • How do these documents inform our thinking about international mission work?
  • Do these documents provide support for ideas you have been discussing? If so, how? If not, why might that be the case?
  • What additional (contextual) information would you need to know to fully understand your document(s)?  Where might you find some of this information, and why might you choose a particular source over another?