Japan-related Collections at the

Yale Divinity School Library

The Divinity Library holds both original format and microform collections of manuscript and archival materials related to missionary work and the Christian church in Japan. These records are of use both in providing information about events, movements, and institutions in Japan, and in providing insight into the Western societies that sent, supported, and were embodied in the missionaries.


Types of missionary records:



How to find archival materials:



Samples of collections held at the Divinity Library:


Microfilm collection: Film Ms.32   Guide: http://www.library.yale.edu/div/fa/ABCFM.htm#japan
The ABCFM was an American, Congregational mission agency. The documents date from 1862 and include letters written by missionaries to the home board, station reports, minutes, etc.  An example of the documentation is the extensive correspondence of O.H. Gulick who was stationed in Kobe and Nigata from 1870 to 1893. Gulick started the first Japanese Christian newspaper in 1875, the weekly Shichiichi Zappo. There is also documentation of educational work in Japan, such as re. Kobe College and Doshisha University.

Microfilm collection: Film Ms 109, Section I: East Asia Missions
The CMS was a British mission agency.  Examples of documentation include: Part 1: the archive of the Loochoo Naval Mission, 1843-1861, with the important journals of Dr Bernard Bettelheim and Rev G H Morton, describing their missionary activities. Researchers can study the papers relating to the main educational centre in Osaka, where the famous CMS school for girls was opened in 1879 and developed under the guidance of Miss Katherine Tristram between 1888 and 1925. There is also good material on the work of Rev John Batchelor amongst the Ainu on the island of Yezu.  See the online guide at:: http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/collections_az/CMS-1-01/highlights.aspx (Reels 1-21). Part 2 continues coverage of the Japan Mission and comprises Original Papers for 1887-1915. There is material on the CMS missions at Osaka, Tokyo, Hakodate, Tokushima, Fukuoka, Matsuye, Hiroshima, Sapporo and Otaru. Reports from different mission stations cover the experiences of individual missionaries, their problems and working conditions. Guide: http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/collections_az/CMS-1-02/highlights.aspx.

Microfilm collection – Film Ms. 170  Guide: http://archives.gcah.org/eadweb/gcah3749.htm
The Methodist Episcopal Church was an American mission agency. This collection includes of missionary letters and reports with the earliest records from 1887.

Microfilm collection: Film Ms. 117 Guide: http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/digital_guides/japan_through_western_eyes_part_1/Contents.aspx) This collection includes missionary documents from the William R. Perkins Library at Duke University.  Individuals for whom records are available include the following:

·         John Caldwell Calhoun Newton, missionary of the Methodist Church South, first went to Japan in 1888 as a faculty member of the Kwansei Gakuin Union Mission College and Seminary in Kobe, Japan. He lived in Japan until 1897, and then again between 1903-1923..  (Reels 4-13)

·         Hattie (McClain) Gring was a missionary in Japan during the 1880s and 1890s. Sponsored first by the German Reformed Church and later by the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Grings lived in Yokohama, Tokyo and Kyoto. Hattie Gring’s letters are contained in the papers of Mary E (McClain) Sword (Reel 19)

·         Elizabeth Russell was Methodist missionary in Nagasaki. Russell wrote about Japanese customs, missionary work in Japan, the restoration of that country, and Russian refugees in Japan. Her letters are contained in the papers of William E. Tolbert. (Reel 20)



Documentation of the “Nanking Massacre”: The Divinity Library collections include notable documentation of the Japanese occupation of Nanjing during the late 1930s.  Many of these documents have been digitized and are available on the following website: http://www.library.yale.edu/div/Nanking.



For more information, contact the Divinity Library Special Collections Librarian, Martha Smalley at martha.smalley@yale.edu or 203 432 5289.