Fukien Christian University
Ginling College
Hangchow Christian University
Huachung University
Hwa Nan University
Lingnan University
University of Nanking
St. John's University
Shanghai University
Shantung Christian University
Soochow University
West China Union University
Yenching University

Records related to these institutions can be found in the archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, which are housed at the Yale Divinity Library. A finding aid to these archives is available at

For online photos of the campuses, students, faculty, etc., see the China Christian Colleges and Universities Image Database.

*Text taken from Hallowed halls : Protestant colleges in old China / [editing and captions] by Tess Johnston ; photographs [and editing by] Deke Erh ; text [by] Martha Smalley ; [artistic editor Tung-Chung Yee] Hong Kong : Old China Hand Press, 1998.


Fukien Christian University, established in 1915, was a union venture of the Church Missionary Society, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the Reformed Church in America, and the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1920, land was purchased on a spur of Drum Mountain, about five miles south of Foochow and building began. Two temporary buildings made of mud and lath housed not only six classrooms but also the chapel, laboratories, a library, a social room, the offices for the president, dean, and treasurer, the dining hall, kitchen, and dormitories.

Not surprisingly the student body was in a celebratory mood when the cornerstone for a new dormitory building was laid in 1923. The Fukien Star reported: "On November 22, during the forenoon, there was celebrated on the campus an event which may be regarded as one of the greatest occasions in the life of this University - the laying of the cornerstone of the Gardiner Hall (Jr) Memorial Dormitory. The event was celebrated with an academic procession from the campus to the new building, where fitting exercises were held, including addresses by Bishop Welsh of Japan and Governor Sah; the presiding officer was Bishop Hind, of Foochow, who also laid the stone, receiving for the purpose a silver trowel, from President Gowdy's hands, which will be sent to America to the donors of the building."

One can only imagine the distress of the university community when less than five years later the Gardiner Hall, Jr. Memorial Dormitory went up in flames. Most faculty and students were at a social meeting in the chapel on the evening of May 28, 1928, when the call of fire was heard. As reported, "By the time we reached the top of the hill the blaze was already coming out of the roof and the whole attic was filled with smoke and flames.... [The fire] descended to the next floor, and then down to each floor in succession until the entire building was consumed by the flames by 12:00 midnight."

When the rebuilding after the fire began, it was decided to redesign the Gardiner Hall, Jr. building as an Arts Hall rather than a dormitory. Faculty residences were converted into dormitories for the men and a women's dormitory built in 1932. In addition to offices for the administration, the Gardiner Hall, Jr. Memorial Arts Hall had eight class rooms, six offices for the teaching staff, and a library with seats and tables for more than 100 students at one time. By 1932 the library contained nearly 10,000 English books and 13,000 Chinese books, as well as numerous periodicals. The chapel in the Arts Hall could seat more than 400 people and was used for general meetings and concerts as well as religious services.

The Jones Memorial Science Hall was named after Fukien's first president, Edwin Chester Jones. Jones was of Methodist background and had degrees from Wesleyan University and Yale University. He taught Chemistry at the Anglo-Chinese College for several years before Fukien Christian University was established in 1915 and he became its first president. In 1923, Jones contracted encephalitis, or sleeping sickness, and resigned the presidency to return to America for medical treatment. Jones was succeeded by John Gowdy, who served from 1923 until 1927 when C. J. Lin became president.

Much of the campus at Fukien Christian University was used for agricultural purposes. Students tested various types of seeds and planting procedures on small plots. The College of Agriculture specialized in mountain agriculture, due to the geographical character of much of Fukien Province.

In 1937, the threat of Japanese invasion made it necessary for the University to leave its Foochow campus and reestablish itself on a "refugee campus" in Shaowu, 250 miles inland. Nearly a decade passed before FCU was able to start holding classes on its original campus again in May, 1946. When it was found that several of the smaller buildings on the Foochow campus had been destroyed, several temporary wooden buildings that had been used in Shaowu were placed on rafts and floated down over the treacherous rapids of the Min River to the home campus.

Returning to Foochow did not mean the end of disruption and upheaval. FCU treasurer Eva Asher reported in her diary in October, 1946: "I spent the day at the office, but things move slowly there. Dealing with inflated currency in the millions instead of thousands does not make sense. We have no budget and I do not know how to make any... What a great day it will be when daily life returns to something resembling normalcy. With this inflated bubble, people feel uneasy and restless, and cannot give their best to their work..."

Foochow was occupied by the Communist army on August 17, 1949 but Fukien Christian University was able to carry on in a fairly normal fashion until 1951. The new People's Government in China was particularly supportive of academic courses that would prepare students for service to the community, an emphasis that coincided well with FCU's traditionally strong departments of agriculture and education.



Planning for a Christian women's college in the Yangtse Valley began in 1913, with the support of five American mission boards: the Northern Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Northern and Southern Methodist, and Northern Presbyterian. The first home of the Ginling College was two large rambling mansions outside of Nanking. Classes began in September, 1915 with eight students and six teachers. Beginning in 1916, land was purchased, piece by piece, for a new campus to the west and south of the University of Nanking campus.

When the site of Ginling College was first proposed, few dared to believe that the low rice and wheat fields and lonely grave-covered hills of the area could ever be transformed into a college campus, especially a campus for young women students. In a 1928 tribute to Ginling's first president Matilda Thurston, Ginling faculty member Minnie Vautrin recalled those early days: Many were the discouraging words spoken. Some said there would be a constant menace from thieves, that the students would be afraid to live in such an isolated neighborhood, or that even the ricksha men would refuse to go out so far from the thickly populated sections of the city. Others said it was so low that it could never be drained properly, that it would be like a heated oven in summer, and the many graves could never be moved. In spite of every obstacle, Mrs. Thurston and her committee pressed steadily onward, buying bit by bit of land from this owner and from that, spending countless hours with middle men trying to determine fair prices for both the owners and the college.

The architect chosen to design the Ginling campus was Henry Killam Murphy of Murphy and Dana, a New York firm that had opened an office in Shanghai. The construction of three academic buildings and three dormitories began in 1921, after the arduous task of removing graves from the campus land had been completed. By the fall of 1923 all six buildings were ready for occupancy. The academic quadrangle was composed of a Science Building and a Recitation Building to either side of the Social and Athletic Building, which faced east toward the Purple Mountain.

The Social and Athletic Building was a gift of the alumnae of Smith College, Ginling's "sister college," and was considered to be an excellent example of the adaptation of Chinese style in architecture to a modern academic institution. Its large guest hall was the setting for art exhibits and a variety of musical and dramatic events. By 1924 the Ginling was supported by eight mission boards, Smith College, the Y.W.C.A., and the China Medical Board, with Smith College as the single largest contributor. In addition to its financial support, Smith also sent many visiting professors to Ginling over the years.

The almost "palace-like" buildings of the new campus were criticized by some, who thought that the Ginling students would become unfitted for the harsh realities of Chinese life, but most gloried in the spacious and well-designed setting. As one student wrote in the Ginling College Magazine:
The Ginling campus lies in a beautiful valley. The glorious sunshine in the morning, the serenity at night, the music of singing birds, murmuring streams, and rustling trees, the lofty Purple Mountain and the constant changing of the beautiful landscape, are all the natural garments of Ginling. Here stand seven magnificent and temple like buildings containing a library, social hall, gymnasium, laboratories and dormitories. Every thing is provided for the development of an educated Christian woman leader. A new student wrote in a letter to her father:
"Now, father, you have put me in a wonderfully wholesome position. Such a beautiful place and magnificent houses I never dreamed of! Not only these but also the teachers and college friends! I am living golden days. I am at work; I am content. I thankyou and I am grateful to God!"

The chapel and library of Ginling were orginally integrated into the existing quadrangle, but by the 1930s the student body was large enough to warrant separate buildings for these purposes. Matching Library-Administration and Chapel-Music buildings were completed in 1934. The new library was prized for its provision of quiet study areas. The library collection suffered significantly during the Sino-Japanese War as most books were removed and sold to second hand dealers. Many books were eventually recovered, but it was a mammoth task to sort through and re-shelve the piles of returned books.

The Sino-Japanese War forced the removal of academic activities from the Ginling campus in 1937. Initially Ginling had centers in three cities: Chengtu, Wuchang, and Shanghai. By 1938 the college had migrated as a whole to Chengtu, where is shared the campus of West China Union University. Meanwhile, back in Nanking, faculty member Minnie Vautrin directed relief activities for up to 10,000 refugees who packed the Ginling campus, trying to escape the outrages of the occupying Japanese army during the so-called Rape of Nanking, December 1937 through May 1938. The Japanese army occupied the Ginling campus from June, 1942 until the end of the war. Ginling students were finally able to return to their campus in Nanking in 1946. After the Communist government takeover of Nanking in April, 1949, college life at Ginling continued in a fairly normal fashion for the next one and a half years. Early in 1951 Ginling College and the University of Nanking were merged to form the National Ginling University.



Founded in 1845 by American Presbyterians as a boarding school for boys, Hangchow was one of the earliest of the institutions that later developed into the thirteen Protestant colleges in china. In 1867 it was moved to the city of Hangchow where in 1897 it attained college rating and was called Hangchow Presbyterian College. By the early 1900s room was needed for expansion and the Hangchow Board of Directors sought a new site for the campus. A beautiful site was chosen, about six miles outside the city walls, overlooking the wide reaches of the Ch'ien T'ang River as it made its way out of snow-capped mountains to the the southwest. At this relatively rural location the college began a building program and planted four thousand peach and plum trees, tea bushes, and an extensive bamboo grove, hoping to supplement its income through these crops.

The move to the new campus at Erh Lung T'ou - Second Dragon head - was made in February 1911, with 31 students in the college course and 86 in middle school. Severance Hall, the central campus building, was completed in 1911. It contained the administrative offices, a guest hall, and reading rooms on the first floor, laboratories and an assembly room on the second floor, and twelve classrooms on the third floor.. Dormitories were erected on either side of this building - Gamble Hall on the East and Wheeler and Dusenbury Hall on the west. Five faculty residences were built on the ridge above, and above them an astronomical observatory.

From 1920, Hangchow's College Construction Department was directed by Mr. J. Morrison Wilson, with the help of Mr. Dzu Sen-dang and a staff of 13 draftsmen. The Department designed and supervised buildings for various mission agencies and for the University of Nanking, as well as developing the Hangchow campus. Hangchow became well known for its architectural engineering program.

The late 1920s brought a time of financial distress for the college as political and military turmoil in the area limited the numbers of students attending. The process of registration with the Chinese government, completed in 1931, led to some major changes, including coeducation. A library and a science building were needed to satisfy the registration requirements. The alumni of the school raised the funds necessary to construct the library, which was completed in 1932.

The Teng Memorial Economics Building was an important addition to the campus completed in 1936. Sze Liang-ts'ai, a wealthy Chinese publisher and financier, and noted editor of the Shanghai newspaper "Shen Pao" visited the Hangchow campus in the fall of 1934 to see his son, a sophomore in the Economics Department. Mr. Sze was normally protected by bodyguards, but on this occasion the bodyguards were sent back by train to Shanghai, so that Sze's son and his son's friend, Teng Tsu-hsin, could make the trip in the family car. The car was waylaid by hired highwayman and the chauffeur and Teng Tsu-hsin were killed, as well as the elder Mr. Sze. Out of grief and sympathy for the family of his friend, young Mr. Sze and his mother contributed for construction of an Economics Building as a memorial to Teng.

During the Sino-Japanese war, Hangchow relocated to Shanghai but then was forced to move to the interior following the outbreak of the Pacific war in December 1941. The Colleges of Arts and Commerce were located in Shaowu, where Fukien Christian University had also found refuge, while the College of Engineering was located in Kweiyang. Administration, dormitory, and classroom buildings were constructed to serve the University during more than five years of refugee life. When President Baen E. Lee returned to the Hangchow campus in the autumn of 1945, he found nine buildings completely destroyed and the remaining ones in various stages of ruin. Hangchow's entire Chinese library, one of the best collections in Asia, had been destroyed. The water system had been wrecked and nearly all the furniture and laboratory equipment carted off. Despite this devastation, the University was in full operation again within two years, with approximately 900 students and a teaching staff of seventy Chinese and Westerners.

Hangchow Christian University came under Communist control in May, 1949. By the summer of 1951 the HCU campus was occupied by the Chekiang Teachers College. Hangchow's College of Engineering was merged with the National Chekiang University in the city, and the Colleges of Arts and Commerce were dissolved.



While some of the Christian colleges and universities in China seem to arise and thrive as if by destiny, the post-secondary educational scene in Central China remained unsolidified well into the twentieth century. By 1920 there were twenty-three Christian middle schools in the provinces of Kiangsi, Hupeh, and Honan. At least seven institutions offered post-secondary courses, but the need for a first-class union university was felt, so five mission agencies met together in 1922 and proposed that a "Central China University" be organized, possibly located in Wuchang. The schools to be joined in this proposed university were the British Methodists' Wesley College in Wuchang, the London Missionary Society's Griffith John School in Hankow, the Reformed Church in America's Lakeside College in Yochow, the Yale-in-China, or Yali, institution in Changsha, and the American Episcopal Boone University in Wuchang.

Due to conflicting opinions about an appropriate site for the union institution and a great deal of political unrest and upheaval in Central China, it was several years before a stable Central China (or Huachung) University actually came into being. Huachung operated from 1924 to 1927 but then was closed for two years because of student unrest and political events. Spurred on by the Nanking Incident of 1927 the Huachung students formed a committee to take over the campus and run their own affairs without interference of the school administration. Meanwhile, an opposition army was advancing on Wuhan while the troops of the Wuhan Government were engaged elsewhere. In the face of this uncertain and dangerous situation, the student body abandoned the campus and went home. In 1929, the school reconstituted itself on the western part of the Boone compound in Wuchang. Over the next few years existing buildings were gradually adapted for the use of Huachung, including Ingle Hall, the Administration building, and part of St. Paul's Divinity School.

1931 brought more upheaval for Huachung, but this time not of a political character. The summer of 1931 was marked by a number of heavy storms in quick succession along the Yangzte Valley, causing record-setting floods. The city of Wuchang, built on higher ground, had escaped harm throughout the summer but on August 18 a big dike gave way and much of the city was flooded. The athletic field on the Boone Compound was under two or three feet of water. Most of the campus buildings were on higher ground and escaped the water, but they were soon inundated by flood refugees who camped out in every building except the administrative offices, science laboratories, library stacks, and residences. Numerous refugees packed the University chapel, sleeping between the pews.

Renovation of Yen Hostel was undertaken in 1933, with the support of the Yen family, in order to make it better fitted for a women's residence and to increase its capacity. Huachung remained small at this time, graduating only eight students in 1933, but it had hopes that a period of stability and calm would allow for increased enrolment. In fact, by the spring of 1937 Yen Hostel was overcrowded and an addition to it was constructed over the summer.

Between 1935 and 1937 Huachung was able to purchase an additional twenty-seven acres outside the city wall, adjacent to the old campus. Architect J. Van Wie Bergamini of the American Episcopal Mission was engaged to prepare plans for the new campus. Among the proposed new buildings, new administration building was planned that would be capped by a copy of the Yellow Crane Tower, a famous landmark of Wuchang.

Huachung's brief era of peace and optimism was not to last long, however. During 1937 many people were moving through Wuhan, headed west in advance of the Japanese occupation. The school managed to complete the 1937 academic year, despite some bombings of Wuhan but by June 1938 it was evident that Huachung woul be forced to relocate. Equipment, books, and office records were packed up and shipped by river to Hengyang, and then by train and truch to Kweilin, where Huachung opened its academic year in September 1938. Kweilin was increasingly the target of Japanese bombing however, so Huachung had to move again, first to Kunming, and finally to Hsichow. Hsichow, a small country village twelve miles north of Tali on the Erh Hai Lake, was the home of the wealthy Yen and Tung families. A group of three temples outside the village became Huachung's campus from 1939 to 1946.

When Huachung returned to Wuchang in 1946, it found many of its buildings in need of rehabilitation. Plans again were made to expand the campus and the decision of the American Episcopal Mission to erect a new plant for its Boone School outside the city meant that there would be more room on the original campus. Just as Huachung seemed to have cause for optimism, political upheaval hit again, with the Communist occupation of Wuhan in May 1949. The last Western faculty members left Huachung two years later, in June 1951.



Hwa Nan was a college for women founded by the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its campus on Nantai Island, across the Min River from the city of Foochow, offered lovely views north and south. Hwa Nan evolved from a preparatory school into a four-year college, graduating its first class in 1921. The number of students remained small initially, numbering nine in the graduating class in 1925, and twelve graduates by 1928.

Marian Payne Hall, the main administrative building of Hwa Nan, and Cranston Hall were completed in 1915. Payne Hall was the first building in the Foochow area to use a Chinese style roof on otherwise Western architecture, and as such caused quite a sensation. For the teachers of Hwa Nan, the new buildings were the source of much delight. Elsie Clark wrote in her diary on March 25, 1914: "This afternoon I went into the new buildings for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it, even tho the entrance was up a steep incline into the second storey. The woodwork is artistic and everything promises to be beautiful. The blackboards will be a never-failing incentive to write. Happy day when we move out; and happy day when the classrooms are full of students..."

Trimble Hall, built in 1925, was named after Hwa Nan's first president, Lydia Trimble, who served from the beginning of the school until 1925. She was succeeded by Dr. Ida Belle Lewis, who was president for three years before turning the school over to the Chinese leadership of Lucy C. Wang. Lucy Wang, president of Hwa Nan for the next two decades, was from an illustrious family; her grandfather was the scholar Wang Jun Keng, an official at the court of the Empress Dowager. The 1930 inauguration of President Wang was a notable event in the history of the college. As Hwa Nan historian L. Ethel Wallace recounts: "On the morning of January eighteenth, the massive temple bell that hangs on the south balcony of Payne Hall pealed out its summons and the formal procession of the college Board of Directors, representative guests, college faculty and alumnae slowly advanced through the hall to the large auditorium while friends and guests assembled sang ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God.'" An inaugural banquet followed in Trimble Hall.

Throughout the winter of 1937 Hwa Nan was subject to the disruption of air raid alerts. With the fall of Amoy to the Japanese in May 1938, it was decided to relocate to Nanping, 120 miles up the Min River. Conditions were crowded on the refugee campus, with twelve students per room and a porch for a biology lab. Back at the home campus, Payne Hall was destroyed by an unexplained fire in February 1941. Foochow was occupied by the Japanese in April 1941 and again from October 1944 to May 1945. In March 1946 Hwa Nan was able to return to its devastated home campus, all the buildings little more than empty shells with no floors or windows. Temporary structures were erected to allow classes to begin again and the restoration of Payne Hall was completed in 1948.

In 1951 the new Chinese government merged Fukien Christian University and Hwa Nan College with two other institutions to form the National Fukien University. The Hwa Nan campus was designated the college of science of this new institution.



Andrew C. Happer was among the earliest proponents of establishing a Christian college in China. He and his wife taught classes in rented temporary quarters on the south side of the Pearl River beginning in March, 1888, but he had difficulty finding land to buy for a campus and was not convinced that the Canton area was the best location for a Christian college. In 1890 the illness of Happer and his wife caused their school to close, but in 1892 Canton was approved as the preferred location of a Presbyterian college in China, and the Rev. Benjamin C. Henry of the Canton Presbyterian Mission was appointed President of the institution for a term of two years.

In 1904 the College took possession of land on Honam Island, on the south side of the Pearl River close to the village of Honglok - 2 ½ miles from the eastern part of the city of Canton. Two large wooden bungalows were erected to house the institution, one bungalow housing the students and Chinese faculty, and the other housing the Western faculty and classrooms. Visitors stayed in a hired houseboat anchored in the river.

The first permanent building was completed in 1907, a three storey structure novel in the area for its red brick facade and reinforced concrete floors. This building was originally called East Hall but the name was later changed to Martin Hall to honor Henry Martin of Cincinnati.

When Charles K Edmunds became president in 1908, there was an acute need for additional dormitories. Funds for these building were raised primarily in China, with innovative fundraising techniques. A system of subscription books was inaugurated, each headed by a donor. President Edmunds and a Chinese professor at the school made calls on parents and high officials accompanied by Mr. Kong Ha, the father of one of the boys, who had a wide acquaintance and was highly respected because he had won the third literary degree. They issued invitations to come to a public meeting at the College, to be conducted by the students. The response was so great that a dozen steam launches, four large houseboats, and many smaller craft were needed to convey the hundreds of parents and other guests, among who were twenty-three high officials.

Completed in 1912, the main administration building on the campus was named Grant Hall after William Henry Grant, a member of the Board of Trustees since 1895. A bachelor of independent means, Grant was based in New York, but was responsible for raising many of the funds that made the continued operation of the college possible.

Swasey Hall, named for American tycoon Ambrose Swasey, was designated for religious activities, but became the site of a variety of ceremonial events over the years. The day following Sun Yat-sen's death on March 13, 1925, saw Swasey Hall as the setting for a memorial service for Dr. Sun. The auditorium was draped in black and white streamers, with Dr. Sun's portrait at center stage, surrounded by scrolls containing quotations from his works.

With the Japanese occupation of Canton in October 1938, Lingnan made arrangements to share space with the University of Hong Kong, which lasted until the Japanese attack on Hong Kong in December 1941. Lingnan then moved to Taitsuen, north of Kukong, where more than forty temporary buildings were erected to house the university. Another move became necessary when the Japanese captured Kukong in January 1945. Students and faculty scattered in various directions and preparations were being made to offer classes in Meihsien, 175 miles east of Kukong, when news of the Japanese surrender was received. Lingnan was able to return to its home campus and begin classes in October 1945.

Communist forces entered Canton in October 1949. On November 13, a Workmen's Beneficial Association was inaugurated on the Lingnan campus. Band music, a dramatic skit, and a demonstration of the "yang ko", a dance depicting the setting out of rice seedlings, were included in the program. Lingnan carried on its work with some degree of normality, but with the start of the Korean war in 1950, Americans were no longer welcome on the campus. The University continued as a private institution through 1951, but was then merged into the government's Chung Shan Ta Hsueh or Sun Yat-sen University.



The University of Nanking was formed in 1910 through the union of three smaller mission colleges, the oldest being the Methodist Nanking University founded in 1888. In 1914, the University owned seventy acres of land in the center of Nanking on which were three dormitories, three lecture halls or recitation buildings, one science hall, one YMCA building, one chapel, one Normal School building, one hospital and dispensary, and thirteen residences.

A uniform plan of architecture was instituted for the University of Nanking's central campus. The restrained modified Chinese style, designed by the Chicago firm, Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton, gained stateliness from the use of large gray bricks from the Nanking city wall, which was in the process of partial demolition.

By 1935, the University owned 110 acres inside the city of Nanking and 120 acres outside the city, where the University farm and agricultural experiment station were located. The University of Nanking became well known for its work in agriculture and forestry. Influenced by his work in relief activities after a devastating flood in the lower Yangtze River Valley, Nanking professor Joseph Bailie was the impetus behind the formation of the Agriculture Department in 1914. Reforestation projects and the development of improved crops were important contributions of the University.

The Administration Hall was the scene of varied events. The University of Nanking Magazine's description of a dramatic performance there gives a glimpse of campus life:
The High School Christmas celebration of this year took place on the twenty-sixth of December, at seven o'clock in the Administration Hall of the University of Nanking. A feature of the occasion was the presence of a number of guests both foreign and Chinese. The Hall was beautifully decorated. All the seats were occupied....
The subject of the play was a most familiar one. It was the parable of "The Prodigal Son" extracted from the Gospel of St. Luke in the Bible. In Chinese it was called "When there's a turning back, there's a shore." The play was divided into six scenes. These were (1) the division of the estate, (2) the younger son's association with vagabonds, (3) his encountering of afflictions, (4) his begging, (5) the period of feeding swine, and (6) the return. The story was full of exhortations. The actors also had parts that were humorous and witty. The whole was a picturesque protrayal before the eyes of the audience. It touched many a heart.

Science Hall, completed in 1917, was named after major donor Ambrose Swasey. Swasey was the inventor of the Swasey Range and Position Finder and a member of the firm of Warner and Swasey of Cleveland, builders of four of the largest telescopes in the world at this time.

Two large rooms on the third floor of the Science Building were used as a Museum. Among the specimens of interest displayed there for the benefit of the students and visitors were:
300 pairs of mounted birds and bats from Fukien Province but including forms common to both Kiangsu and the former province
3 cases of corals, 83 of the specimens being from Singapore.
81 labeled specimens of rocks from the Smithsonian Institution.
1 case containing 143 mineral specimens
William Millward's collection of ferns
A series of samples of underground telephone cable, underground electric light cable, submarine telegraph cable, etc., which were presented by the Standard
Underground Cable Company of Pittsburg.
A collection of Chinese Bibles and Scripture portions issued by the American Bible
Society, and representing the various dialects of China.

At the end of 1916, the University Library contained 4,248 Chinese books, 5,604 foreign books, about 2,500 pamphlets and several thousand unbound numbers of periodicals. The academic resources of the University of Nanking allowed it, like the other Protestant universities, to provide critically needed personnel for the economic, educational, and social development of China during a period of rapid change. It is reported that at one time in the 1930s Nanking alumni headed seven government agricultural colleges, and, within the Ministry of Agriculture, five of seven technical departments, and three of five national research institutes.

Twinem Memorial Chapel was named after Paul D. Twinem, a young mathematics professor who died suddenly in 1923. His wife, Mary, continued work at Nanking and was among the missionaries who remained in Nanking to provide relief to refugees and victims of the Nanking Massacre of 1937-1938.

Sage Chapel was built with support from the Sage legacy, a fund that was distributed for building projects on the campuses of a number of the Protestant colleges in China. The building of dormitories often took precedence over other projects because the administrations saw residential facilities as crucial for fostering the sense of school community that was a distinctive characteristic of the Protestant colleges. Campus chapels were also a centering force for the campuses, however, even after chapel attendance was not compulsory.

During the Sino-Japanese War, academic operations of the University of Nanking were transferred to the campus of West China Union University in Chengtu, where temporary buildings were erected for use as classrooms and dormitories. The campus in Nanking became the core of the International Safety Zone that was set up to shelter refugees during the Japanese occupation of Nanking. The University Hospital was the only facility available for treatment during this period of intense upheaval and horrific atrocities.

The University of Nanking was able to return to its Nanking campus in the spring of 1946 after restoration and rehabilitation of the campus had begun in the fall of 1945. The academic program was fully revived and continued after the Communist takeover of Nanking in April, 1949. Within the next year, however, curriculum and personnel were increasingly disrupted. In early 1951, the National Ginling University was formed by the merger of the University of Nanking and Ginling College.


On April 14, 1879, crowds drawn from the agricultural district outside of Shanghai watched a ceremony taking place on a peninsula of land surrounded by the Soochow Creek. The Chinese who were to be the neighbors of St. John's University observed "the novel proceedings with apparent wondering interest," according to the North China Herald, as the cornerstone of the school's first buildings was laid.

St. John's was the vision of Samuel I. J. Schereschewsky, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in China. The first buildings of St. John's were an unpretentious quadrangle used for classrooms and residence. The tiled roofs were ornamented at the corners by "upturned horns," emblems said to signify a place of learning to the Chinese.

The first building of a more permanent nature was the Pro-Cathedral, erected in 1884. In the early years, daily attendance at chapel services was obligatory for all students, with two services on Sunday. This policy was changed in 1931, so that attendance was obligatory only for students of Christian persuasion, who constituted about one-third of the student body at that time. At length, chapel attendance became voluntary for all students, in accordance with the regulations required by the Chinese government for registration of educational institutions.

Since St. John's original quadrangle was deemed "quite unworthy, as far as architecture was concerned, to be called a college," a new main building was erected in 1894. Architectural plans were drawn in America, but St. John's President F. L. H. Potts found them unsuitable and received approval to engage Shanghai architect Brennan Atkinson to design the building. The result was a style of architecture that meshed Chinese elements like a graceful curved roofline with more standard Western elements of educational architecture. This style became the model for future buildings on the campuses of various mission-supported colleges and universities in China. Named Schereschewsky Hall (though generally referred to as the more manageable S. Y. Hall), this central building provided space for classrooms, dormitory rooms, and a dining hall, allowing St. John's to increase the size of its student body on both the preparatory and college levels.

Science Hall, built in 1894, was the first instance in China of a college erecting a special building for the purpose of teaching the Natural Sciences. Of a similar architectural style as Schereschewsky Hall, Science Hall contained dormitory space on its top floor in addition to classroom and laboratory facilities. The demand for Western education was growing so quickly in the Shanghai area that, despite its expansion, St. John's had room to admit only one-third of those who applied in 1900. The need for more space was addressed in 1904 by the completion of Yen Hall, named after the Reverend Y. K. Yen, a member of St. John's first faculty. This building provided dormitory accommodations for 150 more students as well as quarters for resident faculty, an assembly space that could seat 600, a reception room, administrative offices, and a library.

College life provided a new and exhilarating freedom for the Chinese students. One alumnus reflected:
The reading of novels, the learning of amateurish Chinese and foreign music, the gormandising of food or sweet-meats and the telling of stories in the dormitories represented the sweetness of freedom. Once in a while a clique of older and braver students might take it into their heads that to emulate grown-ups, they would smoke cigarettes, drink some wine bought from the village, or even hold beanfeasts after midnight when the proctors were snoring to the rhythm of the college clock. Then it was the duty of the sentinel to listen for the approaching footsteps of Dr. Pott, who, after writing his sermon for Sunday must necessarily air his brain and incidentally catch a few mischievous boys at their escapades. However the ‘kok-kok-kok' of his heels on the pavements soon transformed the whispering revelry into grave-like silence, so the ‘nosey' president retired with the comforting thought that ‘All's well.'

The assembly hall within Yen Hall was named Alumni Hall in recognition of the financial contributions of St. John's alumni toward the project. St. John's successfully sought to develop the kind of school spirit and alumnal loyalty characteristic of American universities. The idea of loyal devotion to one's alma mater, backed by generous financial support, quickly caught on with the St. John's graduates, especially as many went on to continue their education in the United States. By the 1907-1908 academic year, thirty St. John's graduates were studying in America and ten in Great Britain.

School ceremonies and traditions became an important part of what made mission-supported colleges and universities distinctive. A contemporary description of the Closing Exercises held July 5, 1907 in Alumni Hall gives a sense of this distinctive atmosphere: "Our spacious hall was elaborately and beautifully decorated. Looking into it one would be struck first by the sight of the flags - the Chinese, the American, the British, and the College flags - hanging in the most friendly manner at the back of the platform. Besides these big flags there were six Intercollegiate Athletic champion banners, also hanging on the wall, the great achievements of the College, proving to the world that our school excels other institutions in China not only in intellectual capacity but also in bodily strength."

Later in the month of July 1907, tragedy struck a young member of the St. John's faculty. Arthur S. Mann was twenty-eight years old, a graduate of Yale College who had come to St. John's in 1904 and was a well-loved teacher of economics and New Testament exegesis. On the morning of July 29th five young men on holiday from their work in educational institutions in China began the trek from Kuling to White Deer Grotto, on the south side of the Lushan range, near Kiukiang. Arriving before noon, they examined the tablets and inscriptions to be found in the Grotto, had lunch, and then began their return journey. Around 2 p.m. the men stopped to swim in the pools formed by the river near the Goddess of Mercy Bridge. A memorial to Mann in the October 1907 St. John's Echo recounts the unfortunate events that followed:
While the better swimmers of the day were hunting for a path to the main pool, which is very difficult of access, Mr. Warren B. Seabury of the Yale Mission College in Changsha, Hunan, who was undressing on a large slimy rock, slipped and fell into the torrent, and was hurled over the waterfall into a boiling cauldron. As the other friends were planning to reach him, Mr. Mann unhesitatingly jumped into the pool, about twenty feet below the place where Mr. Seabury was last seen and attempted to swim into the waterfall. After several unsuccessful attempts, he was finally caught by the whirlpool and was seen to sink; and he never rose again. Meanwhile all the others exerted their utmost strength to rescue the two men, but to no avail.

A dormitory building built at St. John's the following year was named after Arthur Mann. Mann Hall, designed by architect A. E. Algar, provided accommodations for ninety-six students and three Western faculty. A memorial placed at the foot of its main stairway read "Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friend."

The campus continued to grow. In 1915 the cornerstone was laid for Anniversary Hall, named in recognition of President F. L. H. Pott's twenty-five years at St. John's. This building, which housed the growing library as well as seminar rooms, was funded entirely by St. John's alumni and students. A new Science Hall was begun in 1918, the first building to extend the St. John's campus to the other side of the Soochow Creek. It contained quarters for the biology, chemistry, and physics departments, including state-of-the-art laboratories.

Cooper Memorial Gymnasium, opened in 1919, was one of the first college gymnasiums in China. It had an indoor swimming pool, as well as facilities to play sports such as basketball, which had been introduced to China in 1915. The mission-supported colleges and universities, and St. John's in particular were pioneers in introducing physical education to China. The first formal sports activities at St. John's were held on the lawn in front of the chapel on May 20, 1890, and by 1902 outdoor sports were very popular on campus. As one faculty member wrote, "Any afternoon after half-past four the playground is alive with boys, who seem to have caught something of the Western out-of-school spirit. They rush and run and shout in a very unChinese way. In the three tennis courts really good play can be seen, while several bicycles fly around on what seems to be a mad career..." The popularity of intercollegiate athletic contests is attested to by broad coverage in the St. John's Echo.

At the time of St. John's Fiftieth Anniversary in 1929, a Memorial Arch was given to the university by the gentry of Zau-ka-doo (Ts'aochiatu) and the Social Hall built in memory of Mrs.. Soo-Ngoo Pott, wife of President Pott, was opened. This Hall provided an elegant site for banquets and receptions, as well as other student activities. Christmas time brought an evening celebration with a visit from Santa Claus and a pageant by the students before they gathered around the lighted Christmas tree in front of the Pro-Cathedral to sing carols.

Political turbulence took its toll on St. John's as well as on all educational institutions in China from the 1920s through the 1940s. In September 1937, following the start of the Sino-Japanese war, it was decided to move St. John's temporarily within the International Settlement in Shanghai. By 1938, the St. John's campus near Soochow Creek was filled to overflowing with more that 900 people, most of them refugees. Buildings on campus were used as storehouse and the verandahs were blocked up with huge rolls of paper belonging to a local newspaper firm.



The University of Shanghai was established in 1906 as Shanghai Baptist College, supported by Northern and Southern Baptists of America. Its campus, along the Whangpoo River about six miles east of the center of Shanghai, was ready for occupation in 1909 with the completion of the main administrative and classroom building, Yates Hall. By 1918 the University had added more than twenty acres of land to its campus and five new buildings. It was was a pioneer in coeducation in China, opening its doors to women in 1920.

The Yangtszepoo Social Center, the first institution of its kind in China, was established in 1913. It was located three miles from the University in the center of the mill district of Shanghai. Its program of social, educational, recreational, and religious activities for the people of that area served more than a thousand people per day.

The Sino-Japanese War brought major disruption to the University of Shanghai. The campus lay between the sea and the city, directly in line of the Japanese invasion of August 1937. Students and faculty took refuge in the basement of the science building during the initial attack, then made their way to the University's Downtown School of Commerce, where classes continued despite daily bombing of the city. Throughout the course of the war, the University occupied several buildings within Shanghai's International Settlement and shared the library and laboratory facilities of St. John's University. On April 8, 1938, University president Herman C. E. Liu was assassinated by the Japanese. For the duration of the war the University operated two programs, the Shanghai Institute in Shanghai, and the School of Commerce in Chungking.

Much rehabilitation of the University of Shanghai campus was required before it could be occupied again in April 1946, eight and a half years after its evacuation. Several new buildings were constructed during the next two years, including a women's dormitory. The University's newspaper, the Shanghai Spectator, for February 8, 1949 recounts the reaction of students moving into the new dormitory space:
The girls' dormitory is a friendship tree which our American friends have planted on our campus - because it was they who gave the money which enabled our University, amidst its economic stringency to erect the girls' dream house, the great building, greater than any other dormitory on this campus. At the beginning of this term, the lucky junior and senior girls moved into this new building....
One of the senior girls wrote:
I never realized how beautiful the girls' new dormitory is until I came back late this evening from the birthday party of Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Wei, the Chinese secretary of the President. Viewing the new building in the moonlight, I beheld its magnificence, sparkling and cozy. Some of the windows even have draperies and curtains. It looks more like a fine apartment home than a dormitory!

The Shanghai Spectator also records the post-war optimism of the student body, which was organizing a tree-planting movement on the campus:
How inviting, graceful, and majestic will our campus look when all the trees we have planted, and will plant, grow up to some 30 or 40 feet high, with their dense foliage billowing in the wind, filling the air with sweet scent and lovely music. And how thankful will the future strolling lovers be, if along the various pathways, criss-crossing the campus, trees on opposite sides embrace each other, forming a canopy that will hide them from the peeping sun..."
This dream did not come to fruition for the University of Shanghai. Operations continued as normally as possible for the University following the Communist occupation of Shanghai in May 1949, but by 1952 the campus was taken over by the People's Government and the era of Christian higher education in Shanghai had passed.



American Presbyterian, English Baptist, Anglican, and Canadian Presbyterian mission agencies worked together to form what came to be known as Shantung Christian University. The University's earliest roots went back to Tengchow College, which was established by American Presbyterians in 1882 with Calvin Mateer as its leader. In 1902 the Presbyterians and English Baptists agreed to combine their efforts in higher education in Shantung, forming an Arts College at Weihsien, a Theological College at Tsingchowfu, and a Medical College, which was eventually established in Tsinan. By 1909 it had been determined that the University should be consolidated in one location, and Tsinan was chosen. Fundraising efforts for a new campus in Tsinan were led by Henry W. Luce and the Chicago architectural firm of Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton was engaged to design the buildings. Luce was a very effective fundraiser but he did not see eye-to-eye with the president of the University regarding the manner in which the funds should be spent. He resigned from Shantung rather unexpectedly in 1917 and went on to do successful fundraising for Yenching University.

Cheeloo, as the Shantung Christian University was called informally, was renowned for its medical education program. Even before the main campus was ready, plans for a hospital carefully drawn and building operations begun in 1914, under guidance of Harold Balme. Between 1916 and 1923 the former Peking Union Medical College, the Medical Department of Nanking University, the Hankow Medical College, and the North China Union Medical College for Women all were moved to Tsinan, the five schools combining to form the Cheeloo University School of Medicine. When a new hospital building was completed in 1936, this older hospital building was utilized by the School of Medicine.

In 1917, the College of Arts and Science moved from Weihsien and the College of Theology and the Normal School from Tsingchowfu to occupy the new campus at Tsinan. The campus was on the south side of the city wall, separated by the wall from the buildings of the School of Medicine. The four dormitories ready for occupation were arranged in courts, with each court designed to have its own commons building, including a dining room, social hall, kitchen, and bathrooms.

Bergen Science Hall was the first classroom building completed on the new campus in Tsinan. It was devoted to Chemistry and Biology while the matching Mateer Science Hall was devoted to Physics and Physiology. Centered between these two classroom buildings, across a central green, was the main administration building, McCormick Hall. The center of the campus was the setting for University events that helped to foster the sense of school spirit that was a distinctive characteristic of the Christian universities in China. The Cheeloo Weekly Bulletin for January 7, 1928 reports, for example: "Another innovation in Cheeloo customs which may well become permanent (weather permitting!) was the New Year's Day celebration in the centre of the campus between McCormick Hall and the Chapel. A goodly number of students and faculty gathered in a large circle around the flag-pole at nine o'clock New Year's morning for a short meeting.
The programme consisted of a hymn; the raising of the flag; a selection by the University Band; a short speech by Dr. Peter Kiang; an ode written for the occasion and read by one of the women students; and a ‘community bow' - everyone bowing three times to the flag, and three times wishing for the Republic of China ‘a thousand years.'"

A new women's dormitory was constructed in the 1920s. The plans for it were recounted, with enthusiasm in the Cheeloo Weekly Bulletin of August 1923: "It will be a two-storey block , almost covering fthe four sides of a square, with a quad garden within. The centre wing will contain Reception rooms, large Y.W.C.A. room, and Reading Room, and, on the second floor, four large common studies in which the women students can work during the evening. The north and south wings will contain bedroom accommodations for sixty students (two to each room), and also a commodious suite of rooms for three foreign or Chinese members of staff - this suite having its special entrance, and including office, sittingroom, dining room, bathroom, and four bedrooms. The whole dormitory will be centrally heated and lighted with electricity, and there will be ample bathtubs and sanitary installations. On the fourth side of the square there will be a large diningroom, pantry and kitchen, connected with the corridor on the north wing..."

The Kumler Memorial Chapel was dedicated with impressive ceremonies on June 8, 1923. It opened its doors every weekday morning at eight o'clock for a worship service of twenty minutes duration. The attendance of students was voluntary and varied from fifty to eighty percent of the student body. As one Cheeloo student wrote of the chapel: "The Chapel of our University stands on the southern part of the campus. It is made of stone. The beauty and the extensiveness of it impress you a lot. If you stand on the top of the tower and look around, all the beauties of nature are in your sight. Perhaps you can distinguish what are the differences between living in society and living in solitude. Inside the chapel is as bright as outside for there are about one hundred windows in our chapel. It is a sacred place."

This water tower, near the edge of the Cheeloo campus, overlooked significant famine relief efforts undertaken by the University during the 1920s. A village of huts of famine refugees housed several hundred people, who were fed and given medical care during the winter months. Women students mended and remade discarded clothing for the use of the refugees. Various fundraising events were held to support the relief efforts. On December 17, 1927, for example, the students of the Department of Sociology secured the moving picture Erh Pa Chia Jen and had two showings in a campus building, selling tickets for fifty cents and twenty cents, all proceeds going for famine relief.

During the Sino-Japanese War, the work of Shantung Christian University was primarily carried on in Chengtu, on the campus of West China Union University. The hospital remained open in Tsinan with a largely Western staff and the College of Theology, Nursing School, and Rural Institute remained in operation until Pearl Harbor. The entire campus was used as a hospital by the Japanese during the War, housing 1,200 patients as well as 600 officers. In the summer of 1952 the College of Medicine was merged with the Shantung Provincial Medical College and the resulting Shantung Medical College occupied the entire campus. The College of Science was merged with the new National University in Nanking while the College of Theology joined Nanking Theological Seminary.



Soochow University developed from three institutions supported by the Southern Methodist Church. In 1899, Buffington Institute, a successful primary and middle school in Soochow, merged with the Anglo-Chinese College in Shanghai, a secondary school that attracted many students who wanted to learn English for business purposes. This freed the campus in Soochow for the Kung Hung School, which in turn became the foundation for a new institution called Tungwu College. In 1911 the Anglo-Chinese College merged with Tungwu to form what became known in English as Soochow University.

After the Soochow University Board of Trustees was organized in November 1900, additional land was sought adjacent to what had been the Buffington Institute campus. Contributions from Chinese friends were used in acquiring land and removing hundreds of graves, mostly of victims of the Taiping Rebellion half a century before. Often it was very difficult to acquire land on which there were graves; but this area, thickly dotted with grave mounds, became the heart of Soochow University campus without trouble, thanks to cooperation of the authorities and the Jen Chi T'ang ("Benevolent Help Hall"), which was high in popular esteem.

In 1901 the Southern Methodist Church began a campaign to raise $100,000 for the development of the campus. Plans were drawn by a British architect in Shanghai and work started in December on the Main Building. This building was named Allen Hall after the death of Dr. Young J. Allen in 1907.

Between 1901 and 1911, several buildings were added to the Soochow campus, including six residences on the campus and five nearby, three "temporary" dormitories, (one of them was still in use in September 1949), a dining hall, kitchen, and servants' quarters. A second large academic building was in course of construction when David L. Anderson, Soochow's first president, died in 1911 so the donors, Court Street Church of Lynchburg, Virginia, named it Anderson Hall, as a memorial.

Lacking money for a full fledged gymnasium in its early years, Soochow erected a semi-open low-cost structure, a design subsequently replicated by various educational institutions throughout China. Although unheated and open to the weather along the upper walls, the structure was a great improvement over the outdoors, providing a good basketball and gymnasium floor, and allowing for winter class work and the intramural and intercollegiate games. Funds were found for a permanent gymnasium in the 1930s. Soochow held the first basketball tournament in China and volleyball, tennis, soccer, and track were also popular sports. Baseball was attempted but as Soochow's historian has noted, "it was found to be the least enjoyed, possibly due to the lack of any previous training in the necessary skills. The rules were far too complex for inexperienced spectators to understand, as may be judged from the name of "wild ball" which the translators gave it."

With its network of canals and surrounding fields for rice and other aquatic crops, Soochow was an ideal location for the study of freshwater biology. Nathaniel Gist Gee, noted biologist on the faculty, studied freshwater sponges and other organisms in the environment. In 1919, a new science building was authorized, with funding provided by the Celebration of Centenary of Missions of the American Methodist Churches (Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal Church South). This reenforced concrete structure was designed and constructed by the architectural bureau maintained by the Methodist Churches for Centenary building projects and named in honor of the Rev. James Madison Cline, who was the father of Soochow's second President, and a member of the Little Rock Methodist Conference.

Following the Japanese attack on Shanghai in August 1937, it was decided to move the Soochow Colleges of Arts and Science to Huchow. Only four weeks later Huchow was in danger of invasion, so Soochow University was again in refugee mode. While some groups made their way to Chengtu, Yunnan, or Kweichow, the majority of faculty and students took refuge in the International Settlement of Shanghai. There Soochow joined with St. John's University, the University of Shanghai, Hanghow University, and a portion of Ginling College to share library and laboratory space. They offered classes with open enrolment to students from all the participating schools and had joint commencements in 1939, 1940, and 1941. With the expansion of the war in December 1941 some Soochow activities, including its renowned Law School, continued "underground" in Shanghai, but many students and faculty scattered to West China.

Soochow was finally able to return to its home campus in 1946. Following the war, proposals were made to merge Soochow University, Hangchow University and St. John's University into an East China Union University. For various reasons, not the least of which was the disintegrating economic and political atmosphere, this plan did not succeed. By the spring of 1949 the Communists occupied Soochow and the path of the institution was set in a different direction.



West China Union University was established in 1910 as a union venture of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, the Friends' Foreign Mission Association of Great Britain and Ireland, the General Board of Missions of the Methodist Church of Canada, (later the United Church of Canada), and the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, USA. The Church Missionary Society of England became a partner in the University in 1918 and the Women's Foreign Missionary Boards of the American Baptist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Canada were admitted to participation in 1925.

In 1911-1912, shortly after WCUU was established, political unrest forced most Westerners to leave West China, and the activities of the University were in abeyance for two years. Beginning operations again in 1913, the University planned an ambitious building program of more than twenty buildings. According to the articles of union, each mission partner in the venture was responsible for purchasing property, erecting buildings for the housing of its staff and students, and contributing a college building for teaching purposes. The Board of Governors of the University purchased property for the teaching buildings and general campus and erected the university administrative and teaching buildings and residences for those members of the staff who are maintained by the Board of Governors. Accommodations were to be provided for six hundred and fifty students, as well as the faculty and staff.

A firm of British architects, Fred Rowntree and Sons, was selected by competition to design a plan for the WCUU campus. An initial difficulty facing the architects was the large number of grave plots, some very old, that were scattered on the more than one hundred acres of farm land just south of the city of Chengtu that had been purchased for the WCUU campus. These graves, mounds of earth built up on raised land above the general level of the water which covered the adjacent fields at rice-growing season, all needed to be transferred elsewhere. A second difficulty was the system of irrigation canals on the plain where WCUU was to be situated. Some of these canals were diked up higher than the surrounding land, so care had to be taken to not interfere with agricultural needs beyond the campus.

The scale of WCUU's building program was particularly ambitious considering that before the advent of air travel, three months of travel were required to reach Chengtu from Europe or North America. According to a 1932 report:
One to two months of that time would be spent on a houseboat amid the perils of rapids, rocks, and robbers along the Yangtse River. On arrival at Chungking it was often deemed advisable to take the overland trip of four hundred miles to Chengtu. That stage was made on foot or by sedan chair, through territory usually infested by bandits and often occupied by armies engaged in civil war. By night "China's millions" of creeping, crawling, hopping things lay in wait to devour the wayfarer in the poor shelter of China's inns."
Such difficulties of transport did not prevent WCUU from developing a well-appointed campus. Of particular note was the installation of a central heating system in the new Library-Museum building. A brochure from this time period reports:
"Not only is it the first modern heating plant installed in this part of the world, but, as expressed by our Dean of Arts, it is the greatest cultural contribution that has been made. It is expected to transform a deserted building into the center of scholastic activities during long winter evenings and remove the fire hazards of a lot of stoves."

The Administration Building, designed by British architect Rowntree, was built under the supervision of Superintendent of Construction Raymond C. Richer. Richer's March 21, 1920 report to the WCUU Board of Governors gives a glimpse of the difficulties encountered in the building process:
"It was a great disappointment to me, and to the Senate, that the work was not completed earlier. A year ago last November finishing lumber enough to complete the flooring of the North wing was contracted for, and all was to be delivered within a few weeks. The dealer kept making promises along with his excuses for delay, and official pressure being unavailing, it became necessary to place another contract, the time then being very disadvantageous from the standpoint of price, and of stage of water to ensure a prompt delivery. It was actually eight months before this lot of lumber, promised in full within five weeks, was delivered, and that only after both official and consular pressure had been exerted for many months. Of course the lumber was wet and unfit for use immediately without kiln-drying, so that extra expense and time was necessitated."
Richer's problems were compounded by a long distance relationship with an architect unfamiliar with Chinese building materials:
"I have learned from experience in these buildings that I should not attempt to follow as closely as a builder in America is supposed to follow, the architect's plans. There have been very grave problems in the construction of the roof of the Administraton building, owing to the "trusses" being in no case real trusses, i.e. structures stable in themselves, without the aid of supporting walls or buttresses to take up the thrust. These have not held up under the great weight of the Chinese tiles, and have cause spreading...."

Hart College, built by the Canadian Methodists, was formally opened in April, 1920. It was used by the University for chemistry, physics, and biology laboratories and classrooms, as well as classrooms for the Faculty of Religion. It contained a chapel used for Sunday evening services.

The Coles Memorial Clock Tower, completed in 1926, was the gift of J. Ackerman Coles of New York. To the chagrin of WCUU, Coles died in 1925 and left no provision in his will for the funds necessary to complete the tower. A hefty file of correspondence in the WCUU archives documents the University's efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Coles estate.

The West China Union University was renowned for its medical and dental education programs.
The Faculty of Medicine was organized in 1914. The Faculty of Dentistry was organized in 1920, the first such program in all of China. By 1932 nearly half of all the students at West China Union University were registered in the Medical-Dental College. At that time fifty-eight of the 112 students registered in the Faculty of Medicine were women; six of forty-four students registered in the Faculty of Dentistry were women. The missionary hospitals in Chengtu associated with the Medical-Dental College were treating more than 100,000 people per year in the 1930s.


Yenching University was a union venture blending Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, American, and British strands. Predecessor institutions included the Methodist-supported Peking University and the North China College, which was established by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and located in Tungchow, about twelve miles east of Peking. The union institution was originally known as Peking University, but in 1912 the name of the Chinese government institution in Beijing (called the Imperial University by Westerners) was changed to Peking University and it seemed wise to rename the Christian university Yenching University in order to avoid confusion. From 1916 to 1926 Yenching was housed in buildings in Beijing, but its site was deemed too small for the proposed growth of the University, so land was sought outside the city. Dr. J. Leighton Stuart became President of Yenching in 1919 and was a strong force in the development of the school.

Finally in the summer of 1920 a site was secured for the new campus five miles to the northwest of Beijing on the main highway to the Old Summer Palace and the New Summer Palace. The land had been a country estate developed by Ho Shen, Minister of State in the reign of the Emperor Ch'ien Lung, and was called Shu Ch'un Yuan, Garden of Modest Gaiety. When Emperor Ch'ien Lung died in 1789, Ho Shen was condemned to death by the new Emperor; his estate was confiscated and became part of the cluster of parks, palaces, gardens, and residences belonging to the Manchu Emperors.

The estate that became the core of Yenching University's new campus covered sixty acres and was landscaped with man-made hills, grottos, lakes, and islands. It had fallen into considerable disrepair when purchased by Yenching, but the underpinnings of a beautiful campus remained. The University purchased several surrounding plots of land and by 1925 200 acres were available for campus development, of which 116 were owned by the University.

Yenching's Construction Bureau, headed by Professor John McGregor Gibb, was kept busy for years as the new campus developed. The first building erected was a School of Religion building named for Bishop William Ninde of the Methodist Church. This was followed by a library named for Thomas and Janet Berry and a central administration building named for Bishop James W. Bashford. Bashford Hall contained a large assembly hall and administrative offices. To the left of Bashford was a recitation or classroom building named McBrier Hall, and to its right a science building housing the biology and physics programs.

The North China Women's College became the Women's College of Yenching University in 1920. It received support from the "Seven Oriental Colleges for Women" fundraising campaign to erect several buildings, including a recitation building named Sage Hall and an administraton building named Luella Miner Hall in honor of the first Dean of the Women's College.

Yenching began operating from its new campus in the fall of 1926, though the Dedication and Formal Opening of the campus were not held until October 1, 1929. The enthusiasm engendered by the new campus is reflected in the following description:
Entering the campus from the west through the gorgeous Alumni Gateway with its bright-red doors and pillars and gaily cornered cornices, and with its two fierce-looking marble lions constantly on guard, the visitors beheld a charming panorama of academic buildings, designed in Chinese style. The grass lawn ... was adorned with two lofty marble pillars, entwined with carved dragons reaching up to clouds which projected horizontally and thus seemed to be floating in air. Atop each pillar was a mythical animal. These pillars originally flanked the Imperial Ancestral Hall in the Yuan Ming Yuan (Old Summer Palace). These sculptures, plus the lions at the gate and two other mythical animals which flanked the entrance to Bashford Hall, had been rescued by the University from the ruins of the nearby Yuan Ming Yuan and installed on the campus by permission of the last Emperor of China, confirmed by the Mayor of Peking.

South of the main group of buildings was a large man-made lake, with the Luce Pavilion on an island reached by an arched bridge. A graceful octagonal structure with scarlet pillars supporting its roof, sheltered by an ancient pine tree, the Pavilion was financed by friends in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to honor Yenching's Vice-president, Henry W. Luce.

From a distance the most striking feature of the Yenching campus was its pagoda. Located on the southeastern border of the lake, the tower was a thirteen storied replica of an ancient Tungchow pagoda, but was used as a water tower. As Dwight Edwards, Yenching's historian relates:
Before it was built there was considerable debate whether it was seemly for a Christian institution to adopt a type of structure brought to China by Buddhist missionaries. But a study of the function of pagodas revealed that they had very wholesome associations and that, when the breeze stirred the little bells hanging from the successive pent roofs, the listener was expected to turn his mind to pure and exalted thoughts. So the pagoda was accepted, but not the proposal made by some members of the faculty that the smokestack be concealed in the water tower. The majority did not want to see smoke billowing out of the top of the pagoda.

This hexagonal pavilion was located on a hill near President J. Leighton Stuart's residence. Hours were announced by its great bronze bell, which had been cast by order of the Manchu Emperor Yung Cheng more than 200 years previously. The bell was decorated with imperial dragons and ocean waves, and was made to sound by a swinging wooden beam.

The Women's College buildings were clustered on the southwest portion of the campus. The two square buildings with Chinese roofs rising to a central knob-shaped finial were Miner Hall, and administration and student activities building, and Gamble Hall, the Dean's residence. These buildings were modeled after two small towers flanking the central tower over the main gate to the Purple Forbidden City in Beijing.

At a time when the Chinese government was largely utilizing Western styles for its new public buildings, because of their flexibility and lower cost, Yenching wanted to demonstrate its desire to preserve the best in Chinese culture, and adopted a modified Chinese style of architecture. Some of the faculty, including Dr. T. T. Lew, were more in favor of a Gothic style of architecture, but the architectural firm engaged by the University strongly supported the Chinese style, which it had already implemented on the University of Nanking and Fukien Christian University campuses. According to Dwight Edwards' account, when architect Henry K. Murphy first visited Beijing's Forbidden City, he "wandered spellbound for hours among the magnificent palaces there, which he described as the finest group of buildings in the world, matchless in stateliness and grandeur." The architects sought to replicate this sense of grandeur in a kind of modified "palace" architecture on the Yenching campus, creating structures with massive pillars and beams, overhanging curved roofs, and ornate, brilliantly colored decoration.


collections | about the project | colleges | links
home | search

The American Context of China's Christian Colleges project is based at Wesleyan University.
For more information, please contact the Project Director or Website Coordinator.

Last updated:

design by