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Guide to the China Mission of the California Province of the Society of Jesus Records 1305 ChiM
1305 ChiM  
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Collection Details
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  • Scope and Contents
  • History
  • Other Guides related to China Mission

  • Title: China Mission of the California Province of the Society of Jesus Records
    Identifier/Call Number: 1305 ChiM
    Contributing Institution: California Jesuit Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 30.0 Linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1928-1958

    Scope and Contents

    The bulk of the collection contains the Provincial files and personal papers of the Jesuits from the California Province who labored in the China Mission from 1928 through 1957 when the last of the men, imprisoned by the Communists, were allowed to leave. Also included are records of later Jesuit personnel who worked in the Far East Mission in the Philippines and in Taiwan, 1958-2009. Materials include correspondence, legal documents, reports, photographs, audiotapes and audiocassettes, motion pictures, devotional writings, educational materials in English and Chinese, publications, newsletters, and memorabilia. Pre-1957 materials are contained in Boxes 1-65; materials after 1957 in Boxes 66 and 67.


    In September 1928 five Jesuits of the California Province set sail from San Francisco to initiate a new mission in mainland China. Arriving at St. Ignatius College in Zikawei near Shanghai, they began the study of Chinese and evangelical work with the community of Chinese Catholics. They were commissioned to serve the China Mission by Father General Wlodmir Ledóchowski, S.J. at the request of Pius XI and a Chinese layman, Joseph Lo Pahong. Their activities were centered in Nanjing, Haizhou, and Shanghai. From 1928 to 1957 fifty-five California Jesuits labored to serve an expanding community of the faithful and to assist in the formation of a native clergy.
    Achievements include: the founding of Gonzaga High School and St. Aloysius Church and Primary School, and the administration of Sacred Heart Church, 1934-1938, and later Christ the King Church, all in Shanghai. Prior to and after World War II the California Jesuits administered Ricci High School in Nanjing, a part of the Yangzhou Mission District.
    In 1957 the Jesuit Far East Province was established and California Jesuit personnel were assigned to work in the Philippines, Formosa/Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Several California Jesuits spent their entire careers in service in the Far East particularly Taiwan. Additional materials can be found in 1700 China Province (formerly Far East Province, 1957-1991.)

    Other Guides related to China Mission

    The California Province Archives holds several other collections directly connected to the China Mission.
    1310 China Mission Vertical Files This collection contains materials acquired by the California Province through missionary activities in China Mission, Far East Province, and finally the China Province. These materials were collected and stored in the offices of the American Jesuits in China (AJC) and its successor, California Jesuit Missionaries (CJM) in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Topical files are arranged alphabetically by geographic name, person, institution, or general topic such as, Buddhism, Marian devotions in China, and Mission news bulletins, 1929-1948. Contents include: printed materials, published articles and books, Chinese educational material, correspondence, photographs, audiotapes and audiocassettes. Files of particular interest include: Jesuit Missions in Nanjing, Shanghai, Pengu, and Yangzhou; the Taichung Jesuit Chinese Dictionary series, 1954-1960; newsletters California Review, Shanghai, 1941-1949, and China News Analysis, 1968-1998 (scattered); Kuangchi Broadcast Service; Taiwan; and Zikawei. There are oral histories covering Mission history, 1926-1935, the Nanjing Institute, as well as individual missionary's accounts. This is a varied resource with over 120 topics. The topical files reflect many aspects of missionary activity of Jesuits and other religious orders with whom the Jesuits were associated. When the CJM offices closed in 2003, the files were transferred to the California Province Archives.
    1320 China Mission Photograph Archives Throughout the decades of Jesuit apostolic activity in the Far East, photographs were taken to contextualize the records. From the first "departure ceremony" from San Francisco in the 1920s to activities in Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand in the 1990s, this collection documents the California Jesuit missionaries' lives, study, and work with the Catholic community. The first series contains a small set of group photographs, 1927-1994. The next series is arranged by individual in alphabetical order, extending through Box 25. The bulk of the collection consists of topical files in alphabetical order. This series begins with the photographic tour of Jesuit Missions taken by Bernard Hubbard, S.J. and Calvert Alexander, S.J. in 1947. Alden Stevenson, S.J., John Dahlheimer, S.J., and Frederic Foley were photographers who took a large number of photographs which were used in Jesuit missionary publications. The photographs taken on mainland China reflect places and ways of life which have long since disappeared. Jesuit and other clergy are identified by name in most cases.
    1350 Mission Procurator / American Jesuits in China / California Jesuit Missionaries The finances of the China Mission of the California Province of the Society of Jesus were managed through the Provincial Office until 1937 when Pius Moore, S.J. was appointed as the first Mission Procurator and the China Mission received tax-exempt status. Each Jesuit Province was assigned a mission somewhere in the developing world and the Mission Procurators met nationally from time to time. Father Moore served in an office in San Jose, 1938-1950, succeeded by John Lipman, S.J., 1950-1955, and William Klement, S.J., 1955-1964. John Houle, S.J. opened an office in Los Angeles which ran from 1957-1992, and the San Francisco office was managed by Edward J. Murphy, S.J., from 1964 to 1981. Theodore Taheny, S.J. was the last Mission Procurator, 1981-2003, and closed the San Francisco office, whose function was blended into the Province Advancement Office. In 1953 the mission office adopted the name, American Jesuits in China (AJC), and in 1971 the mission scope was enlarged and the name changed to California Jesuit Missionaries (CJM).
    This collection contains correspondence (individual, diplomatic, and commercial), reports, financial records, mission appeals, and fundraising materials with donor and benefactor lists. Publications include the China Letter, 1929-1968, which contains specific accounts of work in the field and well-captioned photographs. The Bamboo Wireless was published from 1952-1959 during the expansion of Communist rule on Mainland China. Other materials include: immigration information and several Procurator scrapbooks. Of particular interest may be correspondence from individual Jesuit missionaries from which newsletters to their donors were composed and mailed stateside. Also José A. Peña, S.J. served at Xavier House, Hong Kong as financial manager for Jesuits expelled from China between 1952 and 1953 and his records contain information about the difficulties on the mainland at that time. The collection is comprised of 37 document boxes and some oversize materials.