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Collection 080 Papers of Miriam J. Dunn

Identifier: CN 080

Scope and Contents

Collection contians a manuscript of I Get Your Message, Father, written by Miriam J. Dunn relating her missionary experiences in China and Southeast Asia with China Inland Mission (CIM) (319 pp.) Topics include her childhood in China, nurses training in England, language school in China, marriage, work with Christian Witness Press in Hong Kong, and missionary work in Malaysia. The manuscript is typed on 319 pages, 8" x 11" size bond paper and contains approximately 84,000 words.

The manuscript describes: Dunn’s parents' missionary work in China; her own training as a nurse and return to China as a worker for the China Inland Mission; marriage to fellow missionary Marvin Dunn; life in China during the Sino-Japanese War and under the Nationalist and Communist governments; her exit from China in 1951 and her husband's subsequent missionary work with OMF in Southeast Asia; CIM's Borden Memorial Hospital, OMF's Chefoo Schools in India and Malaysia, and the Salvation Army's missionary work; various mission-related subjects; Chinese church-state relations, economic and social conditions, medical care, politics and government, and history; sites where the Dunns worked (Chungking, Fowyang, Shanghai, Tientsin) and provinces (Honan, Hupeh and Szechwan). Persons featured include co-workers (Ray and Helen Frame, Frank Houghton, J. Herbert Kane, Ruth Nowack, as well as John and Betty Stam, Eric Liddell, Hudson Taylor and Mao Tse-tung.  Manuscript arranged thematically around personal spiritual lessons based on Bible passages.


  • Created: 1978

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


1 Box

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Materials

The manuscript is divided into nine parts and each part is given a title as follows: Checkmate, Roots and Childhood, Preparation, Missionary Beginnings, Marriage, Keeping Ahead of the Japanese, Language Schools in West and East China, Under Communism in Chungking: 1949-1951, South East Asia. Each chapter begins with a verse of Scripture or hymn that God used at the time in relation to a special circumstance.

"Checkmate" (folder 1-1) recounts the authors' experiences in November 1942, when China and Japan had been at war for five years. The author and the Dunn brothers (Gordon and Marvin) were returning south to Anhwei province in East China. The Dunn brothers came north to attend a conference which was later cancelled. The travel meant going through enemy (Japanese) territory situated 350 miles west of Shanghai. Facing an uncertain future, Miriam Troop (the author was unmarried at the time) tells of the comfort given her by Proverbs 1:33.

"Roots and Childhood" (folder 1-2) were recollections of her parents' families as well as their friendship. It also tells of the first members of the family to go into China in 1912 as missionaries - her mother Rosetta Holmes and father Joseph Toop. The author recounted her parents' experiences; her birth on January 11, 1913, and those of her brothers and sister. She also tells of the family work in Chichow, Shanghai and Tietsin. After her early education, she returned to England for nurse's training. Traveling with an English couple, she went through Siberia, Russia before reaching England.

"Preparation" (folder 1-3) starts out with John 15:16 - "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." In this section, Miriam tells of her nursing training at a children's hospital. She also recalls a missionary meeting she attended, which re-directed her life to China and of her decision to answer God's call to service and of her candidacy and training with the China Inland Mission (CIM), and the delays of her trip back to China.

"Missionary Beginnings" (folder 1-4) recounts the author's early days as a missionary learning the Chinese language, and of the decision for lady workers to go inland for language study, instead of the usual practice of staying in coastal areas. From Tsingtao, the author travelled partly by train and then by carts into Hiangcheng, which took six weeks. It also meant going through Japanese controlled territories to unoccupied China. She arrived in the town of Fowyang in North Anhwei, which was to be her home for some time along with other missionaries. The manuscript contains descriptions of the economic difficulties brought on by the war.

"Marriage" (folder 1-5) relates the circumstances leading to her engagement and later marriage to Marvin Dunn in Tunki - the economic and political center of South Anhwei. The couple settled in Tsingteh, a small walled town set on a hill and surrounded by fertile valleys. The author noted this was the same site of the martyrdom of John and Betty Stam in 1934 at the hands of communist guerillas. In this place, the author and her husband continued the work of many other missionaries before them. Later they were transferred to Hokow in the neighboring province of Kiangsi, some 200 miles southwest of Tsingteh, because of worsening military situations.

"Keeping Ahead of the Japanese" (folder 1-6) tells about the author's short stay in Shangjao, a town on the Kwangsin River, prior to evacuation. Together with some 300 missionaries, the author recounts the traumatic experience of evacuation carrying an unborn child, and of arriving in India as refugees. The author and her husband remained in India up to the end of the war. Here in India their first child was born. Here they waited for God to give direction.

"Language Schools in West and East China" (folder 1-7) became their next assignments. They were to take up responsibility of being house parents in a small emergency language school set up in Loshan, West Szechwan. Later, they moved to a language school located in Anking, and then to another language school in West China.

"Under Communism in Chungking" (folder 1-8) is an account by the author of life under the Chinese Communist regime. Letters from home were infrequent, but they were allowed to carry on as usual the language school for a short while. Suspicion of missionaries as foreign agents is described as is the growth of Communist control and the harassment of the local Church. In August 1951, the author and her family departed Chungking, crossing from China to Hong Kong.

"Southeast Asia" (folder 1-9) recounts twenty months in Hong Kong managing the Christian Witness Press of the CIM, the author's second furlough in 1953, language school assignment in Singapore, and of her husband's (Marvin) appointment as superintendent in 1963 with station in Malaysia and responsibility for 73 missionaries located in twenty-three centers. In June 1974, the author and her husband left Asia to begin a life of retirement in Canada.

Accruals and Additions

The manuscript was given to the Billy Graham Center Archives from Miriam Dunn in April 1979.

Accession: 79-31

May 15, 1979

Robert Shuster

Abraham Labiano

Retyped, April 6, 1993

M. L. Wohlschlegel

K. Baisley

Revised, June 22, 1993

M.L. Larson

Collection 080 Papers of Miriam J. Dunn
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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