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Finding Aid to the Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, bulk 1905-1954
BANC MSS 87/22 cz  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Grace Service papers
    Date (inclusive): 1855-1957,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1905-1954
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 87/22 cz
    Creators : Service, Grace, 1879-1954
    Extent: Number of containers: 13 boxes, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 8.0
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, contain correspondence, diaries, short stories and other writings, along with some family and personal papers, with the bulk of the collection spanning the years 1905 to 1954.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Grace Service Papers, BANC MSS 87/22 cz, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Golden inches: typescript, BANC MSS 81/29 c
    Golden inches: the China memoir of Grace Service, BV3427.A1.S48.1989
    John Service Papers, BANC MSS 87/21 cz
    Caroline Schulz Service Papers, BANC MSS 99/237 cz

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Young Men's Christian Associations of China. National Committee
    Daughters of the American Revolution
    American Association of University Women
    China--Description and travel
    China--Social life and customs--1912-1949

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Grace Service Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by John Stewart Service in July 1986. Additions were made by Robert E. Service on February 24, 1999.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Clayton Chan; revised and completed by Mary Morganti in December 2001.

    Biographical Information

    Grace Josephine Boggs was born to William S. Boggs and Virginia Clarke of Independence, Iowa on November 26, 1879. The family moved to San Bernardino, California, where Mr. Boggs became a banker and Grace spent her childhood. She entered the University of California in 1898 and graduated in 1902. Grace was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and several literary societies, and was active in the campus Y.M.C.A. Before graduation, she became engaged to a classmate, Robert Roy Service, who was class president, an athlete, a member of Psi Upsilon, and active in various honor societies and campus affairs. They both joined the Student Volunteer Movement, declaring their intention to devote their lives to missionary work. Roy was accepted by the Y.M.C.A. for its foreign work, and sent to the Y.M.C.A. at Purdue University for training; Grace taught high school Latin. After Roy completed his training, they were married in Independence, Iowa on June 30, 1904.
    The International Committee of the Y.M.C.A. sent the young couple to Chengtu, Szechwan, in far west China to establish Y.M.C.A. work in that developing center of new, "modern" education. They arrived in Shanghai in late 1905 and reached Chengtu, their final destination, in May 1906. Part of the 5-month journey was a tedious and slow trip up through the Yangtze Gorges by Chinese junk, during which their infant daughter, Virginia, became sick and, with no medical aid available, died.
    Except for a home leave during 1915-1916, the Services resided in Chengtu from 1906 to 1921, and where sons, John Stewart (Jack), Robert Kennedy, and Richard Montgomery were born. In 1921, Roy Service was sent by the Y.M.C.A. to open their work in Chungking, also in Szechwan province. Grace, however, had developed a number of health problems, and in 1925 doctors for the Y.M.C.A. objected to her continued residence in the isolated and primitive conditions that existed in Szechwan. The family was transferred to Shanghai, where they resided until Roy died in October 1935. During their years in Shanghai, Grace served as a member of the China National Committee of the Y.M.C.A. and was active in American and international women's activities, including the American Association of University Women and Daughters of the American Revolution.
    After her husband's death, Grace lived with her youngest son, Richard, a member of the staff of the American Consulate in Foochow, Fukien. Later, she lived with her eldest son, John, an officer of the American Embassy in Peking, followed by another period with Richard in Tsingtao, Shantung. In 1940, families of American official personnel in China were advised by the State Department to return to the U.S. because of the threatening situation between Japan and the U.S. Grace returned home in the late 1940s and took up residence in Claremont, Calif. She was assigned a lot in Pilgrim Place, a developing retirement community for missionaries and Christian workers, on which was built a small cottage of her own design. Here she lived quietly until her death, following several strokes, on October 20, 1954.
    Adapted from biographical information supplied by John Stewart Service

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, contain correspondence, diaries, short stories and other writings, along with some family and personal papers, with the bulk of the collection spanning the years 1905 to 1954.
    The greatest quantity of correspondence is found in the detailed letters Grace wrote to her mother from 1906 to 1931, as well as to her friend, Mabel Yard from 1923 to 1931. The contents of her letters to family and friends vary from political events in China to family affairs. The letters to Grace primarily discuss family matters, with most of the letters from her son, Jack, and his wife, Caroline.
    Service records her daily activities and feelings in her diaries, but the entries are not very detailed and do not necessarily discuss events occurring in the mission or in China; in fact, she does not always indicate in the diaries when she travels or relocates.
    Service's stories, which are very detailed and descriptive, provide a unique insight into China's culture and landscapes. Her notebooks include travel journals, poems, and quotations copied from the books she read.