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Collection 653 Ephemera of Ruth Paxson

Identifier: CN 653

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, prayer letters, photograph and pamphlets related to Ruth Paxson’s work as a missionary in China, Europe and the United States and career as an author of pamphlets and books on the Christian life.

[Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation "folder 2-5" means "Box 2, Folder 5"]

Series: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

PAXSON, RUTH. 1 small b&w. Undated.


Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical by type, chronological in each folder

Date Range: 1908-1954, undated

Volume: .25 cubic feet, 1 Box

Geographic Coverage: China, Europe, United States

Type of Documents: Booklets, correspondence, prayer letters

Correspondents: Elsa Felland Armstrong, Phillip A. Armstrong, LeMardred Brushwood

Subjects: Missions Work–Education, Theology

Notes: This collection was given to the Archives by Mrs. Bobbie Armstrong, the wife of the late Philip Armstrong, founder of Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now called SEND International). Philip’s mother, Elsa Felland Armstrong, was a good friend of and faithful correspondent with Ruth Paxson. The vast majority of the letters of Paxson in this collection were written to Elsa Armstrong, though a few to Philip. The correspondence and pamphlets in this collection reflect a small portion of Paxson’s work and life as a missionary and author. Some of the materials are prayer letters of LeMardred Brushwood, Paxson’s companion at the end of her life. Brushwood undertook editing, compiling and publishing Paxson’s thoughts, speeches and notes, regularly informing donors of her progress.

Exceptional items:

The booklets contained in Folder 1-1 are written by Paxson on prayer and other aspects of the Christian life. These booklets are: “Nine Vitalizing Suggestions for Prayer Petitions for the warfare and work of Christian believers”, “This Man...This Cause...This Hour” and “The Minimum and the Maximum in Christian Experience”.

Folder 2-2 contains booklets sent to Elsa Armstrong by Paxson as well as others about missions in China. Three booklets from the Little Library of Lutheran Biography illustrate the mission work of Marie Anderson, Anna Karine Nelson and Dora Wang. “China: Golden Jubilee, 1890-1940" is a brief description of the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America’s (NLCA) mission work in China. Elsa Armstrong wrote a booklet entitled “Sinyang Girls’ School Before and Now”. She was a part of the Literature Committee of the Women’s Missionary Federation of the NLCA.

Folder 1-6 contains a letter (written by Robert McCracken) to parishioners of The Riverside Church in New York asking for their “prayer and presence” in the new year of ministry which was the church’s 25th year of ministry.

Many of Paxson’s letters to Elsa Armstrong (folder 1-4) recount her work in China, training women in Biblical study as well as raising up leaders in the indigenous Chinese church.

Paxson’s prayer letters (Folder 1-8) include records of her ministry in Europe as a Bible school teacher and conference speaker. Paxson includes requests for various mission works going on all over Europe, mostly of the YMCA and YWCA. She also writes of the aftershocks of World War II and its impact on ministry. Another letter of note is one that Paxson wrote following the death of her companion and fellow missionary of many years, Edith Davis. The prayer letter demonstrates her unwavering faith in God and yet great love for her friend.


  • Created: 1908-1958

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Ruth Paxson

Birth: 1889 in Manchester, Iowa

Death: October 1, 1949 in Hendersonville, NC


Unknown dates: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Unknown dates: Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL


prior to 1911- Traveling Secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, New York City, NY

February 1911-1913 - Missionary with Young Christian Women’s Association (YWCA), Northern China

1913 - Missionary in Peking, China

January 1914 - Traveling Missionary around Shanghai, China area

1919 - Chairman of the Finance Committee for Bible Teacher’s Training School for Women in Nanking, China

1920 - General Secretary of the Chinese Home Missionary Society

1921 - Furlough in Omaha, Nebraska (travel in the U.S. for speaking engagements)

1922 - Traveling missionary, based in Shanghai, China.

1927 - Furlough in the United States for health reasons

1928 - Authored and Published “Life on the Highest Plane"

1929 - Missionary in Shanghai, China

1931 - Mission work and speaking engagements in Switzerland and Europe due to complications with asthma

December 1936 - Speaking and writing from the United States, based in North Carolina

1939 - Resume mission work traveling around Europe

1940-1949 - Speaking, writing, fundraising and awareness for the American Bible Society, based out of Hendersonville, North Carolina


0.25 Cubic Feet (1 Box; 1 Photograph File)

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Bobbie Armstrong in July, 1983.

Accession 83-74

November 12, 2009

Noel Collins Pfeifer

Collection 653 Ephemera of Ruth Paxson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US