|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one series arranged chronologically by format.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains 54 volumes of diaries which Bashford wrote during his life in China. The diaries contain notes on his work, travels, interviews with public figures and reflections upon readings, as well as notes on history and events of his day. He also compiled extensive notes on the religions, land, people, and history of China. These appear in a separate notebook. Also included is an index for Bashford's diaries. Some entries are in the form Diary number: page number; most entries simply have four digits. For these entries the first two digits refer to the diary number. The remaining digits refer to the page number within that diary. This collection also contains a portrait photo of Bashford and a photo of buildings at Peking University, as well as collection notes.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL6, China
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL 6: James Whitford Bashford diaries, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Diaries 1-10, which cover May 1904 to October 1905, have been designated as missing since 2004 following a water incursion incident into the archives' stacks. Diaries 18 and 19, April 8 – September 5, 1907 do not form part of this collection. Because the index for his diaries does mention Diaries 18 and 19, it is most likely that they did actually exist. See collection notes in Folder 1 Box 1 for an alternate explanation of their absence.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The James Whitford Bashford diaries were deposited in the Missionary Research Library circa 1920, and were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
All materials were placed in acid-free folders, envelopes and boxes. Paper clips were removed from diaries. A printed portrait and six photographs of Peking, Peking University and family groups, which originally belonged to the MRL 6: I.T. Headland Papers were found in the Bashford boxes when processing began and were returned to the Headland photographic collection. In 2014, the collection and finding aid were updated as part of the Henry Luce Foundation grant. The original Box 1 contained Diaries 1-10, May 1904 to October 1905. This has been missing since February 2004. In 2014, box numbers were reallocated for easier access and storage, as well as overall understanding of the collection. A legacy finding aid showing original organization and box number is available. The finding aid was created by Daniel Asen in 2007, updated by Brigette Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-03-15 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Known for his work as a resident missionary bishop in China, Bashford was born on May 29, 1849 at Fayette, Wisconsin. He received his A.B. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1873, and graduated from the Boston University School of Theology in 1876. He was awarded a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1881. In 1878 he married Jane M. Field. After several pastorates in the Methodist Episcopal Church serving in Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine and Buffalo, N.Y., Bashford was elected president of Ohio Wesleyan University in 1889. In 1904 he was elected bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the same year went to China as resident bishop, first in Shanghai. From the summer of 1908 onwards, Bashford served in Peking. Bishop Bashford began his missionary career in China when the country had just experienced the Boxer Uprising. In 1911 the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of China established. Bashford advocated recognition of the Republic by the U.S. Government. It was Bashford's belief that hope for China lay in Christianizing its civilization. A man of wide influence, he approached the problems of church administration as churchman, educator and statesman. As Methodist churchman his attitude towards members of other denominations was ecumenical, but he advocated worldwide denominations rather than national churches. He died in Pasadena, California on March 18, 1919. His published works include God's Missionary Plan for the World (1908), China and Methodism (1908), and numerous pamphlets on the "Awakening of China," as well as on other subjects. His major literary work is China, an Interpretation (1916).