Skip to main content

Collection 418 Papers of Hester H. Withey

Identifier: CN 418

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews and a manuscript, documenting the ministry of Hester Hartzell Withey, missionary with Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ International (WEC) in China and India from 1940-1985.

Series: Audio Tapes

Oral history interviews with Hester Withey in which she describes her parents’ and grandparents’ missionary service in Angola, her childhood in Africa and the U.S., education in South Africa, conversion, medical training, missionary work for WEC International among the Tibetans in China and Nepalis in India, colleagues Betty and David Woodward, missionary training, missions in India, interpersonal conflict among missionaries, medical mission work, the communist takeover of China and the expulsion of the missionaries, Buddhism  in China and Tibet, her singleness, the Dalai Lama, Bakht Singh, G.W. North, evangelist A.K. George, Tibetan refugees, conference ministry, charismatics, intercultural communication, retirement activities, and other  mission-related subjects. The time period covered by the interviews is 1880 to 1989.

Hester H. Withey was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on June 20 and 21, 1989 at the WEC International headquarters in Port Washington, Pennsylvania.

Series: Paper Records (Box List)

This collection also contains a manuscript written by Hester Withey to be submitted for publication in book being written on mission work among Tibetans titled The Kantze Arrival Story (folder 1) . The manuscript describes a trip she took with missionary colleagues during the 1940s to Kantze, China.


  • Created: 1989

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Hester Hartzell Withey

Born: March 21, 1913, at the Quiongua Mission Station of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Angola, Africa

Died: August 31, 2010


Parents: Herbert "Bertie" Cookman Withey and Ruth (Bassett) Withey, missionaries to Angola with the Methodist Episcopal Church; father did translation work

Siblings: Sister (18 months younger), brother (five years younger)

Raised: Angola, California, and Cape Town, South Africa


1929?-1933 University of Cape Town, BA in English and French

1936-1939 Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Graduate nursing program

1940? Women and Children's Hospital, Chicago. State registration in South Africa and Illinois (registration lapsed while in China)

Professional Activities:

1940 Applied to WEC mission board and was accepted

1946 Began WEC headquarters training

1947-1948 Operated a rural medical clinic in Kangding [formerly Kangting] in western China near Tibetan border

1948-1950 Established dispensary in Kantse

1950 Returned to Kangding after communist army arrived in Kantse

1951 WEC team escorted out of China

1951 Waited in Hong Kong for visa to India

1951-1956/7 Assigned to India near Nepal border

1956/7-1977 Worked in Darjeeling area; worked with Tibetans and Nepali church women; began conference ministry with speakers from G.W. North's group in England, and ran "fellowship house"

1976-1978 Reassigned to Lucknow, India; helped in various projects for Bethel, and some work on chorus book for Darjeeling

1978-1982 Assigned to Delhi; continued conference ministry with speakers and ran a "fellowship house"

1982 Left India to retire from field service, ca. 1983

1984-? Retired status, but taught course at WEC headquarters in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania

1985 Traveled to Tibet


First furlough 2-17-57 to 4-20-58

Second furlough 8-10-64 to 9-19-65

Third furlough 5-12-71 to 6-23-72

Fourth mini-furlough 4-25-78 to 9-8-78

Last furlough 5-1-82 to March 1983


0.10 Cubic Feet (1 Folder, 12 Reels of Audio Tape)

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Hester Hartzell Withey in June 1989.

Accessions 89-64, 89-66

April 23, 1997

Kate Baisley

P. Ericksen

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 418 Papers of Hester H. Withey
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US