Objects owned or gifted by Gladys Aylward

Scope and Content

This series contains an array of Chinese costume and doll artefacts which were originally acquired by Gladys Aylward throughout her missionary work in China. Included among the artefacts are one pair of shoes for the bound feet of a girl, and a pair of scissors with which Gladys Aylward used to cut the bindings on young women's feet.

Administrative / Biographical History

During her early mission work in Yangchen [Yangcheng], Shansi [Shanxi] Province, Gladys Aylward was offered the position of local foot inspector in order to help enforce the footbinding laws in operation at the time. Local laws had been implemented against the tradition of footbinding, including the practice of tightly binding, and the forcible breaking of young women's feet.

Note that it was Gladys Aylward's custom to give dolls and other Chinese items as gifts to fundraisers. Notably, during her visits to friends within the UK, she brought a collection of dolls, slippers and other Chinese accessories as samples to raise money. For further historical context to these particular artefacts, please see 'Memories of Gladys Aylward' by Reverend Patrice Sessions, SOAS Reference: MS 291571/09/01.

Access Information

Artefacts may be viewed upon making a request to the Archivist. Artefacts are fragile and gloves must be worn whilst viewing them.

Restrictions Apply

Acquisition Information

Various donors.

Alternative Form Available

Digital images of most objects are available.

Archivist's Note


Related Material

Related item 'Memories of Gladys Aylward' by Reverend Patrice Sessions (SOAS Reference: MS 291571/09/01) - provides an overview of the historical context for artefact items 5, 6 and 7 within this series.