|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series organized in rough chronological order.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains papers, meeting minutes, articles, reports, and other publications collected or created by Bates regarding missions in 20th century China, most of which are connected to the research project on which he was working after his retirement (and which remained incomplete at the time of his death). The publication in folder 7 was an attempt to collect his notes and drafts from this project. The Hunan 湖南 Synod of the Church of Christ in China is well represented in the collection, as is Bates' experience in Nanjing 南京 in the late 1930s, dealing with the Japanese occupation. This collection also contains some provenance information and signature cards.
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, MRL6: Miner Searle Bates papers, 1927-1984, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
MRL 6: National Christian Council of China records, 1919-1950, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Miner Searle Bates Papers (RG 10), Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These records were donated to the Burke Library in 1979 by Mell Williams, while the publication in folder 7 was donated by the China Program Director of the NCCC USA in 1984.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Metal clips and staples were removed from materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were separated from one another by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. The finding aid was created by Gregory Adam Scott in 2010, reviewed and updated with unprocessed material by Brigette C. Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2020.
2020-08-17 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Miner Searle Bates was born on May 28, 1897 in Newark, Ohio, and was the son of Miner Lee Bates, a Disciples of Christ minister who later became president of Hiram College. M.S. Bates received a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University, where he earned his A.B. and M.A. degrees. When the United States entered World War I, he volunteered with the YMCA and served in Mesopotamia. In 1920 he was commissioned by the United Christian Missionary Society to teach history at the University of Nanking in China. He married Lilliath Robbins, a teacher at Ginling College, in 1923, and received a Ph.D. in Chinese history from Yale University in 1935. At some point he began to use the Chinese name Bei Deshi 貝德士.
Bates was one of the key figures in the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, which sought to protect Chinese from the Japanese soldiers who invaded and occupied the capital city in late 1937. He was appointed Vice President of Nanking University in January 1938 in order to enhance his standing with the Japanese and help his efforts to protect the Chinese. Bates remained in the city from 1937 to 1941, and after the war was summoned as a witness to the Tokyo War Crimes trials.
Bates was active in many missionary organizations, including the International Missionary Council, the China Council of Higher Education, the Nanking International Relief Committee, and the executive committee of the National Christian Council of China. From 1950 to 1965, Bates was Professor of Missions at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and after his retirement worked on a research project devoted to the history of Protestant missions in twentieth-century China. He died in 1978 in New York City.