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Elizabeth Curtis Wright papers

Identifier: A 301

Scope and Contents note

The Elizabeth Curtis Wright Papers offer some of the more reflective documents produced by a foreign missionary woman. The collection contains her memoirs, published in 1973 that recount her missionary career. Also included is a manuscript in typed and handwritten form entitled "History of the Missionary Church in China." The hand-written version was composed on the back of a variety of documents researchers may find useful, including a 1954 roster of members of the "Peking Union Church Reunion," memorials to foreign missionary women, and newsletters recounting the church activities overseas or discussing church finances. The Wright Papers include a 1929 manuscript entitled "The Christmas Season in Far-away China" and a 1950s manuscript on the imprisonment of Sara Perkins by the communist government entitled "Notes on Sara Perkins." Wright also authored a short story entitled "Chang su Hsien's Winter Vacation." In it she recounted the dangers some of the students courted during holidays. Wright used this anecdote to encourage further support for overseas missions.

Also included is a large cartoon map of Beijing intended to be a humorous commentary on welfare in the city. It is undated and no author is listed; it is entitled "Welfare Map of Peiping."

For more information on missionary women who resided in China during the same period as Wright, see the collections of Myra Snow (A 186), Myra Jaquet (A 180), and Edith Shufeldt (A 208) all of whom also resided in Tientsin (Tianjin). See also the collection of Elsie Reik (A 166) and Edith Simister (A183) who lived in Foochow (Fuzhou); or the collection of Clara Dyer (A 198) who was a resident of Ch'iangli. These collections are also housed in Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Oregon.


  • 1919-1973


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

Born in Connecticut in 1887, Elizabeth Curtis Wright began missionary work in 1919 and was assigned to the Y.W.C.A. in Tientsin in northern China. Wright joined the Presbyterian Foreign Mission in 1926 and moved to Nanhsuhou, Anhui Province, where she taught at a mission school. Wright also taught in Pyengyang (Korea) during the late 1920s after the Presbytery removed missionaries from Anhui Province due to civil war in China. Wright remained in Nanhsuhou until 1931 when she was reassigned to a mission school in Beijing. In 1941, the Japanese interned her as a prisoner of war in Weihsien, Shantung Province. (NOTE: For more on this prisoner of war camp, see the collection of Barbara Kelman Hayes (A 296) in Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon). Wright was repatriated in 1943; she returned to Beijing in 1946 along with hundreds of other missionaries and resumed her teaching duties at the missionary school. Communist successes precipitated her evacuation to the U.S. late in 1948. Wright spent the remaining three years of her missionary service in the Tennessee mountains at Sunset Gap Mission. She retired from missionary work in the early 1950s. She published her memoirs in 1973 and died in Tennessee in 1974.


0.5 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Elizabeth Curtis Wright (1887-1974) was a Christian missionary teacher in China in the early 1920s through the 1950s. The collection includes correspondence, biographical materials, memoirs, and miscellaneous documents that reflect her mission work.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I. Personal Memoirs and Biographical Information; Series II. Personal Account; Series III. Correspondence; and Series IV. Map.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Dorothy Barnes in 1975.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Available in microfilm as part of: Women's lives. Series 3, American women missionaries and pioneers collection (MICROFILM BV3703 .W66 2006, reel 14); Primary Source Microfilm, 12 Lunar Dr., Woodbridge, Conn. 06525.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection has been microfilmed. Microfilm reels are available for purchase, or via Inter-library Loan. When requesting reels for this collection, please request: “Women’s Lives, Series 3, American Women Missionaries and Pioneers Collection, reel(s) 14.”

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 Elizabeth Curtis Wright papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Veta Schlimgen, Manuscripts Processor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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