Finding Aid to the Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, bulk 1905-1954

Finding Aid written by Bancroft Library staff
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2007
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, bulk 1905-1954

Collection Number: BANC MSS 87/22 cz

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California
Finding Aid Written By:
Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
January 2009
© 2009 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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
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: .
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.

Container List


Series 1 Correspondence 1855-1957

Physical Description: Boxes 1-5

Scope and Content Note

Divided into 2 sub-series: Family Correspondence, and Correspondence with Friends. Family Correspondence has been further divided into Letters from Grace, Letters to Grace, R.R. Service Letters, and Other Family Correspondence. The bulk of Grace's letters are written to her mother, with only a very few addressed to her father, and one each to her aunt and mother-in-law. The majority of letters written to Grace are from her son, Jack, and his wife, Caroline; only a few are from her husband, written during their brief times apart. The remainder of the family correspondence consists of a few miscellaneous letters of Rob Roy's and various family members. Correspondence with Friends has been further divided into Letters from Grace, Letters to Grace, and Letters to R. R. Service. Other than her sustained correspondence with Mabel Yard, most of letters from Grace's friends are miscellaneous, single letters, while letters sent to R. R. Service include some relating to his missionary work.

Subseries 1.1 Family Correspondence 1855-1957


Letters from Grace

Box 1, Folders 1-17

To her mother 1906-1911

Box 2, Folders 1-16

To her mother 1912-1921

Box 3, Folders 1-17

To her mother 1922-1931, undated

Box 3, Folders 18-21

To her father 1908-1923, undated

Box 3, Folder 22

To "Auntie" [Fanny?] 1914 June 21

Box 3, Folder 23

To "Mother Service" 1905 Dec. 22


Letters to Grace

Box 3, Folders 24-27

From Rob Roy (husband) 1912-1930

Box 4, Folders 1-21

From Jack (son) 1920-1957

Box 4, Folders 22-36

From Caroline (Jack's wife) 1941-1954, undated

Box 4, Folders 37-39

From Ginny, Bob, Philip (grandchildren) 1953-1954, undated


R.R. Service Letters

Box 4, Folder 40

To his mother Circa 1906, 1909 August

Box 4, Folder 41

From "Mother Service" to Grace and Roy 1917 March 25


Other Family Correspondence

Box 4, Folder 42

Letter from Florence Montgomery to Mrs. Boggs (Grace's mother) Circa 1905 November

Box 4, Folder 43

Letter from W.E. Holden, International Committee, YMCA, to W.S. Boggs (Grace's father) 1911 September 22

Box 4, Folder 44

Letter from "Mother Service" to her sister 1915 November 8

Box 4, Folder 45

Unidentified family letters 1855; 1927, undated


Subseries 1.2  Correspondence with Friends 1906-1950


Letters from Grace

Box 5, Folders 1-15

To Mabel Yard 1923-1931

Box 5, Folder 16

To Florence Rawlinson (photocopy) 1937 Christmas


With cover letter from her son, John L. Rawlinson, Aug. 1974.
Box 5, Folder 17

To Fred 1945 June 11

Box 5, Folder 18

To "Friends" 1907 Nov. 16


Letters to Grace

Box 5, Folder 19

From [Fletcher] Brockman 1912 Dec. 20, 22


Includes telegram.
Box 5, Folder 20

From Ethelwyn E. Clark 1910 Nov. 8

Box 5, Folder 21

From Mildred Cranston 1950 July 2

Box 5, Folder 22

From Warburton and Hettie Davidson 1950 Nov. 17

Box 5, Folder 23

From H. C. Mei 1949 Oct. 19

Box 5, Folder 24

From Philip D. Sprouse, U.S. Dept. of State 1950 March 27

Box 5, Folder 25

Miscellaneous notes and letters 1910-14, undated


Letters to R.R. Service

Box 5, Folder 26

From E. A. Hamilton, Sintu, China 1911 Oct. 20

Box 5, Folder 27

From James R. Hayman 1923 Jan. 30

Box 5, Folder 28

From William Kelly 1924 Oct. 10

Box 5, Folder 29

From various Chinese persons to the Friends Mission [1906 April]


Series 2 Diaries 1908-1954

Physical Description: Boxes 6-10; Box 11, folders 1-7


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Contains 57 diaries, in which Grace records daily activities and feelings in brief entries.
In 1943, her diaries expand to two volumes per year: the first recording her daily entry, and the second containing logs of letters received and answered, recipes, accounts, lists of books read, and invitations. Diaries for the years 1953 and 1954 are represented by addendum volumes only. Loose items removed from various volumes follow at the end of the series.
Box 6, Vol. 1-13

In Chengtu, Shanghai, and U.S. 1908-1920

Box 7, Vol. 14-25

In Szechwan, Shanghai, and Berkeley, Calif. 1921-1925

Box 8, Vol. 26-37

In U.S., Shanghai, Tsingtao, and Claremont, Calif. 1933-1943

Box 9, Vol. 38-47

In Claremont, Calif. 1944-1948

Box 10, Vol. 48-57

In Claremont, Calif. 1949-1954

Box 11, Folders 1-7

Loose items from diaries 1934-1954


Series 3 Short Stories and Other Writings 1927-1948; undated

Physical Description: Box 11, folders 8-25; Box 12, folders 1-2


Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes 86 short stories, as well as a notebook of untitled drafts, some poems, and drafts for a novel.
Box 11, Folder 8

An Appreciation

Around the Fire at Ju Fung


Box 11, Folder 9

The Bean Boat

The "Big Road"

Black and Red


Box 11, Folder 10

The Canton Shawl

Cause -- Chicago Waitress

Box 11, Folder 11

A Chinese Courtyard

Chinese Food

A Chinese Friend of Mine

Chinese New Year

Chinese Pigs and American Toothbrushes

Chinese Streets

Box 11, Folder 12

Christmas House

A Chromatic Interlude


Chungking Streets

Chungking Szechwan China "Visited"

Box 11, Folder 13

Complaint from a Distance

The Confucian Sacrifices -- Chengtu, 1921

A Cycle of Cathay -- in Shanghai

Box 11, Folder 14

Decorated Food

The Dragon Boat Festival

Extra Luggage

The Fairies Cave


The Flag

The First Big Steamers

Box 11, Folder 15

Ferrying the Yangtze at Chungking

Flowers under the Bed

Foreign Cloth

A Garden Swing

The Gateway to the Temple of Learning

Box 11, Folder 16


The Hand

Happy Affliction

The Hokow Bridge

Hsiang Tan


The Kwanhsien Bridge

Box 11, Folder 17

Last Moments -- A Shanghai Fantasy

A Literary Message

Making the Best of it


Mei Hwa

Miss Polorick

Box 11, Folder 18

Morning on a Small Native Boat

The Mountain Child

Mountain Travel

Octopus at Twilight

Omei's Golden Summit

Box 11, Folder 19

On Owning a Ship

Oriental Tolerance

Paddy Fields

Peony Prospect Mountain


Plenty of Money

Poets on the Yangtze


Box 11, Folder 20

A Raft Trip



At Round Top

The Scent of Freesias

School Fees

Sedan Chair Travel -- the Start; -- the Day; -- Experiences

Box 11, Folder 21

The Shannons

A Slippery Thief

Sons' Heritage

The Spring Fair at Chengtu

Street Restaurants

A Summer Vacation

Box 11, Folder 22

Sunday Island

Szechuen Miniatures


Torn by a Tiger

Vital Statistics


The Water Tank

Box 11, Folder 23

White Shoes

Yangtze Travel

The Yangtze of Chungking

The Young Lad

Yuin Hwa Temple

Box 11, Folder 24

Notebook, untitled drafts

Box 11, Folder 25



Series 4 Notes and Notebooks 1911-1945; undated

Physical Description: [v. 58-59] in Box 5; Box 12, folders 3-9


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes travel journals, miscellaneous notes, poems, and quotations.
Box 5, Vol. 58

Kiating, West China 1911 Dec. 17-27


Written in the form of a letter to "Florence."
Box 5, Vol. 59

Chungking to Shanghai 1912 Jan. 12-25

Box 12, Folders 3-6

Notes Circa 1931-1935, 1937

Box 12, Folder 7


Box 12, Folder 8

Notes and poems Circa 1945

Box 12, Folder 9

Quotations and notes Undated


Series 5 Family and Personal Papers Circa 1906-1937; undated

Physical Description: Box 13; Oversize Folder 1

Scope and Content Note

Contains miscellaneous material relating to the Service's life in China.
Box 13, Folder 1

Floor plan of residence in China Circa 1906

Box 13, Folder 2

Guest book from residence 1917-1931

Oversize Drawer A, Folder 1

Map of Chungking 1933 Sept.


Annotated to show motor roads and residences.
Box 13, Folders 3-6

R. R. Service reports and memorabilia


"Report concerning trip to mountain temples near Chentu" [1906]


"Missionaries and Politics" 1917


Typescript copies of articles from the North-China Herald, including mentions of R. R. Service

"The First Szechwan Student Summer Conference," program 1918


Article about R. R. Service from The Christian Collegian . 1923

Box 13, Folder 7

Family Newsletter, The Daily Noise; and printed program of "Entertainment" by Ladies Aid 1911

Box 13, Folder 8

Growth charts for sons, Jack and Bob 1913

Box 13, Folder 9

Shanghai American School 1920-1923


Letters and reports concerning Jack.
Box 13, Folder 10

YMCA, Council on Health Education 1927


Report concerning Grace's health.
Box 13, Folder 11

Memorabilia 1930s-1940s

Box 13, Folder 12

Clipping concerning flood control in China, 1937


Includes excerpt from O. J. Todd, China International Famine Relief Commission.
Box 13, Folder 13

Autobiography of Mao Che San, on his 60th birthday Undated


Typescript copy.