Robert and Eva Tharp were both born in
China to missionary parents, and both took on missionary work in China individually and
after they married in 1938. After the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Robert was imprisoned
by the Japanese, and after his release 8 months later the Tharps moved to India where
they worked as liaisons between Chinese and Indian citizens and for the British
government. They returned to China to continue their mission work, but were forced to
flee to America in the wake of the Communist takeover in 1949. In the United States,
Robert worked as a Chinese instructor for the Defense Language Institute and the Yale
Institute for Far Eastern Languages. The Tharps also opened Chinese restaurants in the
Monterey area in the 1970s, and were active in the Chinese community in the area. In
1994, Eva published Robert's autobiographical work,
Called Us White Chinese
. The collection consists of items related to both
Robert and Eva's family and experiences in China, their careers in the United
States, and the publication of
They Called Us White
Robert Tharp was born in 1913 to British missionary parents in the Jehol Province of
Manchuria. Evangeline (Eva) Kok was born in 1914 in Yunnan, China, to Dutch missionary
parents. In 1918, the family moved to Peking (Beijing), where her father served as the
First Chancellor of the Netherlands Legation in China. Eva attended the Peking American
School, graduating in 1931. She then attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and
returned to China to perform mission work after graduating in 1936.
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This collection is open for research use.