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Collection 182 Papers of J. Herbert and Winnifred Kane

Identifier: CN 182

Scope and Contents

Correspondence and curriculum material from James Herbert Kane and Winnifred Mary (Shepherd) Kane's missiology courses, and three oral history interviews. Materials document the Kanes' missionary work in China and Dr. Kane's teaching in the U.S.  Events described in the interviews cover the time period from 1932 to 1950.


  • Created: 1934-1987

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

James Herbert Kane was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 25, 1910. His parents, Robert and Ada (McCleave) Kane, had recently been won to Christ by a missionary on furlough, and they dedicated Herbert, their second child, in the Montreal Plymouth Brethren Assembly. Herbert himself became a Christian at the age of fourteen through the ministry of a Brethren evangelist and began studying the Bible via correspondence courses published by Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. During his teen years, he was involved in Christian work in Sunday School, teaching, open-air meetings, house-to-house visitation, tract distribution, and personal witnessing.

During his young adulthood in Montreal, Kane felt the call to missionary work in China through reading the periodical China's Millions, and books Borden of Yale '09 and Life and Work of Hudson Taylor, all published by China Inland Mission. On July 30, 1932, he was married to Winnifred Mary Shepherd, and a month later the couple commenced three years' schooling in Moody Bible Institute's missions course, graduating in April, 1935. From MBI, the Kanes went to China Inland Mission's candidate school for three weeks, after which they were accepted for service in China. Before departing for China, they transferred church membership to the Onward Gospel Church in Verdun, Quebec, where Winnifred had been reared; this congregation helped support them throughout their mission years.

In September, 1935, the Kanes traveled from their native Montreal to Vancouver by train and then via ocean liner to Shanghai, where they arrived at the end of that month. After intensive language study at the CIM school in Hwaining [new spelling, Huaning], Anhwei [new spelling, Anhui] province, the Kanes were assigned in April, 1936, to the CIM mission in another Anhui city, Fowyang, [new spelling, Fuyang] "one of the largest and most spiritually prosperous stations in the whole mission." Herbert's principal work was a Bible Conference ministry in the 150 rural churches in the country surrounding Fuyang. In the fall of 1936, the Kanes traveled to Shanghai seeking a hospital where Winnifred could safely have her appendix removed, after which they returned to Fuyang. A tonsillectomy for Herbert necessitated another trip to Shanghai in the fall of 1937, and the opening of hostilities at that time between China and Japan (the Sino-Japanese War) precluded Winnifred's returning to Fuyang with her husband. Herbert continued CIM work in Fuyang under the constant, imminent threat of war, and Winnifred, meanwhile, gave birth to a son, Gordon Stanley, on April 3, 1938, in Shanghai.

Six weeks later, Japan bombed Fuyang, and missionary evacuation from that city reunited the Kanes in Shanghai. Again, in autumn, 1938, Herbert went back to Fuyang, where he stayed the winter. In March, 1939, he traveled to Shanghai, and brought his wife and son "home" to Fuyang. Douglas Nelson, their second son, was born at Fuyang February 12, 1940. (A third son, Norman David, was born in America, October 31, 1954.) The Kanes continued in the city through bombings by Japan in February, July, and August, 1941; they remained there when furlough was past due since World War II had cut off the possibility of ocean travel. The family left Fuyang in the fall of 1944, only to be stranded in India several months until the close of the war opened the way home.

In September, 1946, the Kanes sailed for China, this time via the Atlantic, Mediterra-nean, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean. They enrolled Stanley and Douglas in the CIM school at Shanghai and in December returned to Fuyang to resume the mission work there. Again, civil unrest plagued the area, this time from the Communist-Nationalist China civil war. When Herbert and Winnifred took a vacation in the summer of 1947, they carefully stowed their valuables in hopes of fooling marauders. In November of that year, Fuyang fell to the Communists and CIM evacuated its missionaries. Winnifred departed for Shanghai immediately; Herbert's last view of Fuyang was in April, 1948, following the Communist recapture of the city. The family was reunited in Kuling, Kiangsi [new spelling, Jiangzi] province, where Winnifred and the boys had been since January, when the CIM school abandoned Shanghai for that mountain resort.

Kane was reassigned to Wuhu, Anhui province, and in December, 1948, Winnifred was released from her duties at the Kuling school and joined him there. Wuhu fell to the Communist troops in April, 1949, and the Kanes remained in that city for some months, endeavoring to continue their missionary work. By 1950, they felt that Communist restrictions were wholly negating their missionary effort; the Kanes arrived at this conclusion before the CIM director did and, unable to convince the latter of the hopelessness of the situation, they were forced to resign from CIM before they could prepare to leave China. This they did in July, 1950, and they left China in October, arriving in San Francisco in December.

From January through August, 1951, Herbert Kane was interim pastor of the Onward Gospel Church in Quebec, the church which had supported them in the mission field. In September, the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where Herbert joined the faculty of Providence Bible Institute (later Barrington College) as an instructor in missions and New Testament; he also served as associate dean of men. Winnifred spent part of their twelve years at Barrington as associate dean of women. In September, 1963, the Kanes moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Herbert was Director of Missions at Lancaster Bible College; Winnifred served as registrar, director of Christian service, and coordinator of off-campus employment at the college. The Kanes capped their professional careers at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where Herbert taught in the School of World Mission and Evangelism from 1967 to 1980, while Winnifred was in charge of the library reserve desk at the school. In August, 1980, the Kanes retired to Oxford, Ohio.

Herbert Kane received a B.A. from Barrington College in 1954, an M.A. from Brown University in 1960, and an L.H.D. from Barrington College in 1971. He was presented with Moody Bible Institute's Alumnus of the Year award in 1981. During his tenure at Trinity, he served as president of three mission organizations: the Association of Evangelical Professors of Mission (AEPM), the Midwest Fellowship of the AEPM, and the American Society of Missiology. His articles appeared in Moody Monthly, Christianity Today, Missiology, Eternity, and Evangelical Missions Quarterly. His books included: Twofold Growth (CIM, 1946), Faith Mighty Faith (IFMA, 1956), The Progress of World-wide Missions (Harper, 1960), A Global View of Christian Missions (Baker, 1975), Christian Missions in Biblical Perspective (Baker, 1976), A Concise History of the Christian World Mission (Baker, 1978), Life and Work on the Mission Field (Baker, 1980), and The Christian World Mission: Today and Tomorrow (Baker, 1981).

J. Herbert Kane died in 1988.


1.65 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Materials

Series 1: Audio Tapes

J. Herbert (T1) and Winnifred M. (T2) Kane were interviewed by Galen R. Wilson at the Billy Graham Center Archives on April 20, 1982. J. Herbert Kane (T3) was interviewed by Craig Alexander on November 11, 1987. The time period covered by the interviews is 1932-1950.

Series 2: Paper Records (Box List)

Collection 182 consists of the following kinds of written records: correspondence; articles, address and interview texts; lecture notes; Herbert Kane's master's thesis and some of the research materials he used in writing it; runs of China-related periodicals; newspaper clippings; and news releases.


The correspondence (folders 1-34 through 3-2 and 4-5) is more fully dealt with in a calendar which follows in Appendix 2 of this guide. The Kane letters, written wholly to family members at home in Quebec, document the Kanes' mission work from the time of their departure in 1935 through their arrival in California from China in 1950. There is no correspondence from March, 1945, to July, 1946, during which time the Kanes were home on furlough. It is evident from the correspondence that not all of the letters written are extant in this collection. For instance, some letters written in June, 1947, concerning the Communist occupation of Fuyang, China, are referred to in other missives, but are themselves missing.

Often the letters were written over several days' time. Such letters appear in the calendar under the earliest date noted. Recipients of the letters are not noted in the calendar, unless there are two of the same date. Many one-page notes with minimal informational value, which were enclosed in longer letters to the family in general, have not been separately noted. One interesting aspect of the earlier correspondence is the overlapping which occurs when Herbert and Winnifred Kane each report the same incidents, affording readers two separate views.

Fellow missionaries frequently mentioned in the correspondence, but not often in conjunction with any specific item worthy of calendaring, are Carl and Anne Glittenberg, George and Ruth Steed, Ruth Nowack, Gordon Dunn, Marvin Dunn, and Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Mair. Also continuously mentioned in the 1935 and 1936 correspondence are language teachers Mr. Yien and Mr. Wong.

Circular letters (folders 3-1 and 3-2) were prepared for mass distribution to the Kanes' prayer partners in North America and elsewhere. Their style is different from the personal correspondence, for obvious reasons; they describe in capsule form what the family letters discuss in great detail. It should be noted that Circular Letter #13, dated February 18, 1949, was never sent out, according to the family correspondence of that year.

Correspondence from the 1970s (folder 4-5) includes an overview of non-Caucasian membership of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), and a letter from Senator Mark Hatfield regarding revised CIA regulations for the use of missionaries as information sources. Also contained in the folder are address lists of CIM alumni and OMF personnel in the United States and an OMF position paper regarding spiritual gifts and their use, particularly in regards to speaking in tongues. Note: All the items in this folder were found in books donated by the Kanes to the Evangelism & Missions Collection of the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.

Articles, Addresses, Interviews

The second type of record in this collection is the texts of addresses (folders 1-1 to 1-5), articles (folders 1-6 to 1-33), and interviews (folder 3-8). The addresses and articles will be considered in this guide as a unit; in some cases (eg. folders 1-11 and 1-13) it is questionable whether a text was intended for speech notes or as a draft for publication. They address a wide spectrum of religious issues and secular concerns. Some of the topics are:

The Bible - Box 1, folders 2,6

China - Box 1, folders 8,9,10,12,13,25,33

Christian Education - Box 1, folders 5,23,29

Christian Living - Box 1, folders 4,11,19

Communism - Box 1, folders 9,10,12,13,25,33

India - Box 1, folder 24

Missions - Box 1, folders 3,6,8,10,12,20,21,22,23,24,25,30,31,32

Politics - Box 1, folders 1,3,9,10,11,12,13,18,22,25,33

Theology - Box 1, folders 4,7,14,15,16,17,26,27,28

Special note is given to the following addresses/articles. Folder 1-4 is a series of radio (?) addresses for the New Life Hour, all on the subject of witnessing, using Acts 1:8 as a text. Folder 1-5 appears to be the keynote address for a leadership workshop. Folder 1-6 concerns Bible translation and the American Bible Society. Folder 1-12 contains a chapter from "a new book to be published at Moody [Press]"; it is heavily edited and annotated by the Kanes' son, Douglas, who became an economist in the employ of the Illinois state government. Folder 1-24 is a research paper prepared for a class at Brown University, where Herbert Kane received his M.A.

The two interviews (folder 3-8) both concern missions. One was conducted for radio station WNAC in Boston and the other for the Lancaster School of the Bible in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when Kane was a member of the faculty there.

Lecture Notes, etc.

This series of records (box 3, folders 3 through 7 and 9 through 11) concern Kane's career as a professor of missions. While he taught at Barrington College, Lancaster College of the Bible, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the course of his career, the only school specifically noted in the material as being the scene of the lectures is Trinity.

Folders 3-3 through 3-6 concern a class taught at Trinity, "Missions and the Ecumenical Movement." Topics included in the lecture notes, lecture outlines, and background articles and clippings are:

World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, 1910

International Missionary Council (IMC)

IMC 1st World Assembly, Jerusalem, 1928

IMC Ghana Conference, 1957-58

Whitby (Ontario) Missionary Conference, 1947

Willengen Missionary Conference, 1952

Faith and Order Movement

Life and Work Movement

World Council of Churches (WCC)

National Council of Churches (NCC)

Roman Catholicism/Vatican II

WCC General Assembly, Uppsala, Sweden, 1968

Cooperation among evangelicals

Church of Christ Uniting (COCU)

United Bible Societies

Student Christian Movement

Ecumenism in Protestant missions

Ecumenism in the Roman Catholic Church

International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC)

Church Union Movement

Intermission conferences of the nineteenth century

Church of South India (a union formed from six previously independent denominations)


Southern Presbyterian (PCUS) possible merger with the Reformed Church

Overseas Missionary Fellowship and ecumenism

Visser 'T Hooft

E. Stanley Jones

Church of England

Arthur P. Johnston: addresses to WCC general assemblies, Bangkok, 1973, and Nairobi, 1975

Mission Executives Retreat, Winona Lake, 1967

WCC "Faith and Order Conference," Montreal, 1963

Faith missions

World Methodist Council

Folder 3-7 contains a syllabus for an independent study on the history of missions. While entitled a syllabus, it is in fact a textbook which brings together notes and articles on the history of Christian missions from the first century to the present day, following this order of themes: Rome; Europe; clash with Islam; Roman Catholicism; origin of Protestant missions; expansion of the same in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and contemporary mission endeavor in Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, Oceania, and Europe.

An historical synopsis of Islam is the topic of folder 3-9; it includes copies of Evangelical Mission Information Service's publication Muslim World Pulse. Folder 3-10 concerns a course taught at Trinity on "Missionary Public Relations and Administration," which covered how missionaries should package their programs when reporting for newspaper/ magazine publicity, for speaking engagements, and for government relations. It included the topic of evangelical missions' relations to American foreign policy, colonial governments, sovereign foreign governments, the Roman Catholic Church, and each other. Another Trinity course was "Missions in a Revolutionary Age" (folder 3-11); it covered missions with respect to colonialism, nationalism, communism, and third-world developing nations. Individual case studies were made of China and the Soviet Union. Attention was also given to the question of whether humanization or salvation was the goal of mission work.

Master's Thesis

This consists of J. Herbert Kane's master's thesis and some of the research materials he used in writing it. The thesis, The Protestant Church in Communist China, 1949-1958, was completed in 1960 and presented to Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. The Archives' copy of this book was Kane's personal copy and is available in the Rare Book Room of the Graham Center Library (see Location Record: Books).

China-related Periodicals

Also transferred to the Library were significant runs of China-related periodicals. China Bulletin was published by the Far Eastern Joint Office, Division of Foreign Missions, National Council of Christian Churches, U.S.A. It was edited by Francis P. Jones. This set of issues is nearly complete from late 1951 to the last issue published in June, 1962 (when it was replaced by China Notes), a total of 218 issues extant in this collection. Another periodical transferred to the library is The Canadian Far Eastern Newsletter

(twenty-one scattered issues, 1953 to 1962). This was edited by James G. Endicott and was published at Toronto. Endicott, one-time evangelical missionary to China, became very bitter against missions, which he perceived to be thinly-veiled imperialism.

Other materials which remain with the Archives are in box 4 of the collection. Folder 4-1 contains four Chinese paperbound books, with titles roughly translated as follows:

New Democracy, New Times Study Series, Vol. 1

The People, the Political Association, and Three Important Documents, New Times Study Series, Vol. 3

What is the United Battlefront? New Times Study Series, Vol. 7

The International View of Today's Mainland China. Overseas Publishers

[Taiwan], December, 1956.

Newspaper Clippings

Folder 4-2 contains newspaper clippings concerning the Church in China, 1957, a typescript report by Rev. R. Sommerville about his impressions of the Protestant Church in China gathered during his 1956 visit to China as part of the New Zealand Cultural Group, and two news releases from New China News Agency, London. Folder 4-3 contains pamphlets entitled:

"Christianity in Free China (Formosa)" by Hollington K. Tong

"What is Ahead for China?" by Hollington K. Tong

"New China as we Saw It" by Homer G. and Muriel J. Brown, 1956.

"The Impact of the October Revolution of 1917 on the International Missionary Movement" by James G. Endicott

"Report of the Japanese Christian Delegation to China" by Walter Freytag

"How Red China Tortures Protestant and Catholic Missionaries" by Francis Cardinal Spellman

"Quakers Visit China" by members of the British Quaker Museum

News Releases

Folder 4-4 consists of eleven "news releases" by Thomas I. Lee, former missionary and now private citizen of Minnesota. These mimeographed releases are addressed "To friends interested in the Christian Church in China," and include translations of many articles published in Peking in the Spiritual Food Quarterly (Wang Ming Tao, editor) and The New Church, a periodical published in Hankow. The issues covered are relations between the Communist state and the Protestant Church and how the Church was forced to acquiesce in government policies. The Geneva Conference of 1954 is discussed in its relation to the Church. Thomas I. Lee was a missionary under the Evangelical Lutheran Church to China 1924-27, 1929-38, and 1945-49. He severed connections with the Evangelical Lutherans in 1955 at their request when his insistence on speaking publically concerning China was held to be embarrassing and potentially dangerous to the Church.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from Dr. and Mrs. J. Herbert Kane in April 1980, April and June 1981, March and April 1982, November 1987 and March 1994.

Accession 80-54, 81-41, 81-60, 82-38, 82-39, 82-53, 87-126

November 2, 1981

Galen R. Wilson

March 18, 1982, revised Galen R. Wilson

May 28, 1982, revised Galen R. Wilson

February 11, 1988, revised J. Nasgowitz

June 3, 1992, updated & revised Janyce H. Nasgowitz

M.L. Wohlschlegel

D. Tamte-Horan

Accession #94-21 July 27, 2004, updated Christian F. Sawyer

Related Materials

The following materials have been transferred to the Evangelism and Missions Collection of Buswell Library:

Accession 82-53 Kane, J. Herbert. The Protestant Church in Communist China, 1949-1958. Unpublished thesis, Brown University, 1960.

Accession 82-39The Canadian Far Eastern Newsletter, published at Toronto, Ontario. James G. Endicott, editor.

No. 62 April, 1953

No. 63 May-June, 1953

No. 94 June-July, 1956

No. 95 August, 1956

No. 98 November-December, 1956

No. 99 January, 1957, with supplement

No. 102 June, 1957

No. 104 August, 1957

No. 105 September, 1957

No. 109 February, 1958

No. 126 September, 1959

No. 137 October, 1960

No. 138 November, 1960

No. 139 December, 1960

No. 140 January, 1961

No. 141 February, 1961

No. 142 March, 1961

No. 143 April-May, 1961, with supplement

No. 144 June, 1961

No. 147 November, 1961

No. 154 June, 1962

China Bulletin of the Far Eastern Joint Office, Division of Foreign Missions, NCCC/USA. Published at New York, Francis P. Jones, editor.

[Old Series] #120 (1951)

#121, #123, #124 (1952)

Volume 2 Number 1-12, 15-19 (1952)

Volume 3 Number 1-23 (1953; complete)

Volume 4 Number 1- 3, 5-15, 17-22 (1954)

Volume 5 Number 1-22 (1955; complete)

Volume 6 Number 1-23 (1956; complete)

Volume 7 Number 1-23 (1957; complete)

Volume 8 Number 1-13, 15-22 (1958)

Volume 9 Number 1, 3-23 (1959)

Volume 10 Number 1- 3, 5-22 (1960)

Volume 11 Number 1-16 (1961; complete)

Volume 12 Number 1- 6 (1962; complete)

Note: Volume 12 Number 6 was the last issue of China Bulletin. It was replaced by China Notes.

Collection 182 Papers of J. Herbert and Winnifred Kane
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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