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David S. and Luella R. Tappan papers

Identifier: Coll 103

Scope and Contents note

The David S. and Luella R. Tappan Papers consist largely of correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, and publications from Hainan, China.

The correspondence, arranged chronologically, falls between 1921 and 1965. Most of the outgoing letters were written by Luella Tappan to family members and friends.

The twelve volumes of diaries cover the years 1913 and 1921-1966. Though they were written by both Rev. and Mrs. Tappan; Luella Tappan did most of the recording in them.

The diaries are followed by manuscripts relating to the Tappans' experiences in China. The publications have issues of the Haiban News Letter between 1929 and 1949, and drafts of the Hainan Reporter. Also, there are publications by both the Tappans, and by others.

The Newspaper article series contains information about the Tappans' mission in China, and also the Tappan family in general.

The miscellaneous series contains announcement cards for newborn babies, Luella. Tappan ticket certificate, Feng autobiography, and other miscellaneous materials.

Photographs include eight images of the Tappans, their travels and their home, circa 1910s-1960s.


  • Creation: 1913-1966


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

The Reverend David Stanton Tappan II was born in 1880 in Oxford, Ohio and attended Miami University in Ohio and Princeton Theological Seminary. Between 1906 and 1949 he was a missionary to Hainan, China. His wife, Luella Rice Tappan, accompanied him to China where they shared duties in their various jobs and experiences. While in Hainan, Rev. Tappan founded Hainan Christian Middle School. He served as Executive Secretary to the Presbyterian Mission there, and was an advisor to the Hainan synod.

In their efforts to serve the Christian community around them, both Rev. and Mrs. Tappan learned the Chinese language and culture, dealt with the terrain and weather, and got tangled up with pirates, bandits, and corrupt government figures. During their stay, the Tappans experienced the Japanese invasion of Hainan Island on February 10, 1939. They immediately provided a sanctuary for Chinese refugees during the course of the crisis, transforming their compound into a mixture of residence, feeding-house, church, and barn.

In September 1941, Rev. Tappan was interned by the Japanese and brought to Canton. Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, he was placed under house arrest in Hackett Medical Center (in Canton). In February 1943 he was freed from arrest, and his internment under the Japanese ended in September of that year. He returned to the Hainan mission where he and his wife remained until 1949, when the island was turned over to Chinese Communist rule. The Tappans then turned to the United States. Reverend Tappan died in April 1968 and Mrs. Tappan died in January 1980. They had two children, Ruth Tappan Bauer and David Stanton Tappan III, and seven grandchildren.


2.25 linear feet (6 containers)

Language of Materials



David S. and Luella Tappan (husband and wife) were Presbyterian missionaries in Hainan, China. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, and miscellaneous materials that relate to their missionary work.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I. CorrespondenceSeries II. DiariesSeries III. ManuscriptsSeries IV. PublicationsSeries V. Newspaper articlesSeries VI. MiscellaneousSeries VII. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of David and Luella Tappan in 1960s.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the David S. and Luella R. Tappan papers
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Finding aid prepared by Aika-Maria Kihunrwa, Manuscripts Processor
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA