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Monona Cheney papers

Identifier: Ax 275

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of correspondence. There are 266 letters from Monona Cheney to her family in the United States, spanning the years from 1918 to 1930; there are also a few incoming letters in the collection from her family or friends. The correspondence is arranged chronologically. Also included in the collection are many photographs from her time in Peking, ranging from images of the poverty stricken to the architectural magnificence of the city. There are also a few pictures of family from the period after her mission. Many photographs are unidentified; basic descriptions of the images are provided in the box and folder listing. Finally, there are also a few Christian publications dealing with missionary work.


  • 1918-1932


Conditions Governing Access

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

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

Monona L Cheney was born in Madison, Wisconsin on December 28, 1890. She was educated at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, receiving a B.A. in 1914; she went on to receive an M.A. in education at Teachers' College, Columbia University in 1918. In 1918 she traveled to the newly formed Republic of China to spread the word of her church, serving as a missionary teacher for the Methodist Episcopal sect of the Christian religion. She initially taught at the Keen School in Tientsin until 1920, when she started teaching at the Gamewell School. She taught history, English, and bible studies, and engaged in rural evangelicalism in the Peking area. After a short break in the United States she returned to China and taught at Yenching University from 1926 until 1930. The letters she wrote during her mission were addressed to her family, and she also was fond of taking photographs of Chinese life.


2 linear feet (8 containers)

Language of Materials



Monona Cheney (1890-1982) was a Christian missionary in China between 1918 and 1930. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, sermons, and publications that reflect her life as a missionary in China.


Collection is organized into the following series and subseries:

Series I: Outgoing Correspondence

Series II: Articles and Sermons

Series III: Publications

Series IV: Photographs

Series IV, Subseries A: Mission

Series IV, Subseries B: Family

Series IV, Subseries C: China

Series IV, Subseries D: Albums

Series IV, Subseries E: Oversize

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Monona Cheney in 1966.

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) 12-14.”

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 Monona Cheney Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Troy Barnard, 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