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Collection 677 Papers of Beatrice Sutherland

Identifier: CN 677

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection include correspondence, newsletters, memoranda, photographs, and a church directory relating to the ministry of Beatrice Sutherland, a missionary to China with the China Inland Mission beginning in 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The materials also span her later activities as a Christian worker living in California after her retirement from full-time missionary service in 1976.


  • Created: 1938-2006

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Beatrice Sutherland

Birth: 25 February 1911, Louisville, KY

Death: 30 November 1997, Carlsbad by the Sea, CA


Marital Status: Single


date unknown - Wheaton Academy

1932 - B.A. English, Wheaton College

1954 - M.A. Linguistics, University of Michigan


1938 - Departed for China with the China Inland Mission

1943-1945 - Taught English at the National Normal University of Beijing, which had relocated to Lanzhou, Gangsu during the second Sino-Japanese War.

1947-1950 - Returned to teach English at the National Normal University of Beijing once it resumed regular classes. After the Communist takeover in 1949, Beatrice was encouraged to return to the United States by the mission, but she chose to stay.

1951 - China Inland Mission removed all their missionaries from the field in China. Beatrice returned to Wheaton until she saved enough funds to begin graduate studies in linguistics at the University of Michigan in 1952.

1954-1962 - After graduating, Beatrice relocated to Indonesia, where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) with the Ford Foundation.

1963 - Taught ESL courses at the University of Michigan while on furlough from Indonesia. This furlough was necessitated by Communist uprisings in Indonesia.

1970-1976 - Taught ESL courses to international students each summer.

1976 - Officially retired.

1989 - Moved to Carlsbad by the Sea, CA where she lived until her death in 1997.

Other significant information:

Following her graduation from the University of Michigan in 1954, Beatrice divided her time between the University of Michigan, where she taught summer courses; the Ministry of Education in Indonesia, where she taught ESL and developed curricula; and the San Francisco Unified School District Office, where she taught Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) courses to aspiring teachers.


1 Box (DC)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[Note: In the Arrangement section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]

Arrangement: Chronological

Date Range: 1938-1997

Volume: 0.4 cubit ft, 1 Box

Geographic Coverage: China, United States

Type of Documents: Correspondence, newsletters, church directory, photographs, biographical sketches, newspaper clippings, sample Chinese language flash cards, travel receipts.

Notes: The materials in this collection were arranged chronologically by type of document and contain both original handwritten and typewritten letters as well as photocopies of the originals and transcriptions completed by Beatrice Sutherland’s sister-in-law, Jane Sutherland. The Collection also contains a typed index of the correspondence, a newsletter announcing the death of Beatrice Sutherland to friends and former colleagues, and a chronological timeline of Sutherland’s life created by Jane Sutherland (folder 1-1).

The correspondence in this collection cover the date range 1938-1945 and describes Sutherland’s experiences as an English teacher with China Inland Mission (later Overseas Missionary Fellowship) during the second Sino-Japanese War. Written to her family members in the United States, Sutherland’s letters depict the challenges of Chinese language school (folder 1-2), battling local typhus and typhoid epidemics, and the vagaries of traditional pagan Chinese funerals with professional necromancers (folder 1-3).

Sutherland also recounts multiple Japanese air raids and the terror of falling bombs (folder 1-3) as well as her thoughts on a regional CIM conference in April 1940 which devised an administrative overhaul of missionary appointments, reassigning CIM missionaries based on the skills and strengths they had already demonstrated in the field. As a result of this conference, Beatrice Sutherland was redirected to teaching Sunday School (folder 1-4).

Over the course of several years, Sutherland frequently cites concerns over the growing rift between the Chinese churches and the Chia t’ing or “Jesus Family”, a Pentecostal group that separated from the churches in the Kansu region and later created schisms in churches in neighboring regions (folder 1-4). Sutherland recounts conversations with Jesus Family members on the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer and describes the freedom between the sexes that the group encouraged, a stance foreign to the traditional Chinese churches (folder 1-6). I

n the course of her missionary work, Sutherland regularly depicts challenges of evangelizing Chinese women who have been raised in “idolatrous” circumstances and have little ability to grasp to the gospel message since they are illiterate and their minds have not been trained to remember what they hear (folder 1-6). She also recounts her fears for converted Chinese girls that they will be married off into “heathen marriages and their faith extinguished (folder 1-5). Sutherland also describes the administration of baptism and communion in the Chinese CIM churches and the necessity of baptizing Chinese women in secret to prevent abuse from their unbelieving husbands (folder 1-6).

The correspondence breaks off abruptly in 1945 even though Sutherland did not leave China until CIM evacuated its missionaries in 1951 during the Communist takeover. The information about Sutherland’s later career in Indonesia and in the US is taken from the biodata provided by Jane Sutherland (folder 1-1).

The collection also includes messages collected by Jane Sutherland after Beatrice’s death from former Chinese students and colleagues from the National Normal University in Beijing offering remembrances of her (1-1).

The 14 black and white photographs in this collection contain images of Beatrice Sutherland with her family, as well as at the Tsingdao Language School and her first station at Tienshui, Gansu and various fellow Christian workers and students, including Bishop Frank Houghton.

Also included are articles clipped from the May 1943 issue of China Millions and from the December 1944 issue of Good News Broadcaster profiling Beatrice Sutherland. Donated with the collection is a copy of the Carlsbad Community Church Directory, 1997-1998, which is dedicated in memoriam to Beatrice Sutherland.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Jane Sutherland in September 2006.

Accession 06-36

July 9, 2014

Katherine J. Graber

Collection 677 Papers of Beatrice Sutherland
Katherine Graber
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