Papers of Myra Carpenter

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes: family correspondence; documents concerning Tanishan Orphanage; diary entries and reminiscences on missionary work in China; material on women in China collected by Carpenter; articles, pamphlets and cuttings; photographs; musical scores; and maps.

Administrative / Biographical History

Myra Carpenter (known as Mollie) was a China Inland Mission (CIM) missionary in Sichuan, China. After having her first application turned down she was accepted for missionary training by the CIM in London in 1925. She left for China in October 1928 arriving in Yangzhou in December where she spent some time studying Mandarin. In April 1929 she began her journey to Sichuan where she was to spend most of her working life. From August 1930 she was based in Guangyuan near Paoning (Langchung) sometimes spending time at Sintientsi. Her time was occupied with learning the language, taking classes and meetings, and, when possible, travelling through the surrounding country evangelising.

Between 1933 and 1935 increasing unrest meant that Carpenter was evacuated from the Paoning area four times. She spent periods at Mienchow, Liangshan, Juxian, Chienkoh, Chongqing, and Tienkiang before settling in Tahsien (or Suiting) in November 1935. She remained there until she went on furlough between April 1936 and September 1938. On her return to China she spent some time in Shanghai before leaving in December 1938 for Tanishan near Paoning which she reached at Easter 1939.

At Tanishan she was in charge of the mission's orphanage but also spent time taking classes and travelling to surrounding towns and villages. She continued to view the evangelical side of her work as important and regarded the area in which she worked as her 'parish'. Her next furlough was from May 1947 until October 1948. On her return to China she was based in Paoning but continued to visit the surrounding area and the orphanage at Tanishan. With the arrival of the Communists she found her work increasingly difficult and finally left China in early 1951. Once back in England she reluctantly accepted that her health would not allow her to work in any of the Mission's new fields in Asia. She settled at her late mother's house in Chippenham and did some work as a companion to elderly ladies and occasionally in rest homes. She also wrote articles, presented classes on China and took classes on religious themes as well as representing the British and Foreign Bible Society. She continued to keep in touch with developments in China by collecting news cuttings and articles until her death in the 1970s.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers. It is essential to arrange an appointment in advance to view the archive in order that someone can be available to help. Please contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated by the family of Myra Carpenter.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue is available to researchers visiting the Centre.

Archivist's Note

Description originally written and researched by Caroline Brown in June 2001. This had been added to Archives Hub in August 2012 by Louise Williams.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of materials (for example by digital camera) is free for private research and educational use, although we ask researchers to sign an agreement. Please contact us for enquiries on using the material in a commercial setting, for which there will be a fee. Contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Accruals

No further additions to the collection are expected.

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Geographical Names