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Collection 200 Papers of Robert and Winifred Hockman

Identifier: CN 200

Scope and Contents

Collection documenting the medical missionary service of Robert and Winnifred Hockman with the United Presbyterian Church in Ethiopia, including correspondence written by Hockmans to Robert Hockman’s parents, photographs, a scrapbook about the life and death of Robert Hockman, and oral history interviews with Winifred Hockman. The collection contains extensive material on the Italo-Ethiopian War and the work of the International Red Cross.


  • Created: 1933-1982

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Robert William Hockman was born at Chentu, Szechwan, China on October 29, 1906, the son of William Halleck (1873-1945) and Katie Elizabeth Rogers Moses (1872-1944) Hockman, missionaries under China Inland Mission. Dr. and Mrs. Hockman, he a bachelor and she a widow, met in China and married there in 1904. They were the parents of Margaret Emily (1905-08), Robert William, Charles Frederick (1908-53), Kathleen Elizabeth (1910- , later Mrs. Paul D. Friederichsen), and Ronald Edward (1914- ). Robert Hockman entered the CIM school at Chefoo in 1916, and took a year of undergraduate work at Pitman's College, England in 1924-25. In the autumn of 1925, he entered Muskingum College in New Concord, OH, where his parents had temporarily settled following their return from China. The next year, William Hockman accepted the Missions Department chair at Moody Bible Institute and moved to Wheaton, IL, but Robert remained in New Concord, graduating from Muskingum in 1928. He received an M.D. from Northwestern Medical School, Chicago, in 1932 and interned at West Suburban Hospital, Oak Park, IL, 1932-33.

Winifred Thompson was born September 24, 1906, in Cambridge, OH, the daughter of druggist Charles Milton Thompson (1879-1964) and Jessie Winifred Barnes (1881-1909). Her mother died when she was three, and she lived with her grandparents Barnes in rural Guernsey County, Ohio until her father's remarriage to Armintha Hammond in 1911. She graduated from Cambridge High School, and received her B.A. in speech from Muskingum College in 1929. She taught school in Sebring, Ohio, prior to her marriage. Robert Hockman and Winifred Thompson were married in New Concord on June 8, 1932, shortly after his graduation from medical school. During his internship, they made their home with his parents in Wheaton, IL, and Winifred took classes at Moody Bible Institute in preparation for mission work.

The Hockmans applied to and were accepted by the Foreign Mission Board of the United Presbyterian Church in the summer of 1933. At Muskingum College, Robert had become friends with fellow student Malaku Bayen, a ward of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, and through this friendship he developed an interest in Ethiopian missions. They sailed October 14, 1933 from New York on the maiden voyage of the Italian S. S. Rex, and arrived October 25 in Alexandria, Egypt. Following a two-week orientation at mission hospitals in Assuit and Tanta, Egypt, they traveled by water and train to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, arriving there November 16. Robert was assigned as a surgeon on the staff of George Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa where Dr. A. W. Pollock was director. Pollock's retirement and sudden death in early 1935 placed Hockman in the directorship.

With the outbreak of the Italo-Ethiopian War in mid-1935, Hockman offered his services to Haile Selassie to head up a Red Cross unit. On loan from the mission to the International Red Cross for this purpose, he set up a medical station for Ethiopian forces along the battle front in the autumn. On December 13, 1935, he was killed while attempting to defuse an Italian bomb which had been dropped near his station.

Winifred Hockman was evacuated from Addis Ababa to Egypt in July, 1935, where she gave birth to a daughter, Ruth Winifred (later Mrs. Gordon Bell) on October 30. Robert never saw his only child. Winifred and Ruth left Egypt for America in March, 1936, and settled with the William Hockmans in Wheaton. She delivered her first address about her mission experiences in Moody Church, Chicago, in May of that year. She taught at Westmont College in California, 1938-39, and returned to Wheaton due to ill health. In 1940 she began working primarily as Director of Student Housing. She retired in 1971, and in 1982 resided at her home in Wheaton. She died January 13, 2000.


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Arrangement of Material

Series: Audio Tapes

Oral history interviews with Winnifred Hockman. Topics covered include the Hockman's work as Presbyterian missionaries in Ethiopia, medical missions, Robert's involvement in the foundin of the Christian Medical Society, recollections of Haile Selassie and Henry Ironside, Winifred's employment at Wheaton College, Robert's work with the International Red Cross during the Italo-Ethiopian War and his death. Events described in the interview cover the time period from 1906 to 1982.

Winifred Hockman was interviewed by Galen Wilson at the Graham Center on January 21 and 28, 1982. The "familiarity" which is apparent on some sections of the tapes is explained by the fact that both Hockman and Wilson lived in New Concord, OH, for a time, were both United Presbyterians, graduated from Muskingum College (she in 1929 and he in 1978), and had certain mutual friends.

Series: Negatives and Photographs

Thirty-one photographs and corresponding negatives depicting the Hockman’s life in Ethiopia in the mid 1930s. Many images are undated. The images are identified below:

1. Marjorie Faught's birthday dinner, Addis Ababa, July, 1935. The last night Robert and Winnie Hockman were together. Robert and Winnie: 5th and 6th from left.

2. Trumpet quartette.

3. Robert Hockman on his motorcycle; Winnie in sidecar; trumpet quartette members in background. Note on back of original photo; "this motorcycle, with Mr. Russell's motorcycle, were the first Indian motorcycles to travel into the southern part of Ethiopia."

4. Fred Russell with his motorcycle.

5. Winifred Hockman (right) and Mary Wilson Kenneweg, ready for horseback riding.

6. Grave of Robert Hockman, Addis Ababa. The bronze plate was later removed by Italian troops during Ethiopian-Italian hostilities.

7. Lip tumor patient: before operation.

8. Lip tumor patient: after operation.

9. Goiter patient: before operation.

10. A patient.

11. Winifred Hockman with her Sunday School class.

12. United Presbyterian chapel, organ pulpit, Addis Ababa.

13. Children's day at the U.P. chapel.

14. George Memorial Hospital, Addis Ababa.

15. Men's surgical ward, George Memorial Hospital. May, 1936.

16. Ato Gubrey in clinic, George Memorial Hospital.

17. Robert Hockman (marked with "X") operating at George Memorial Hospital.

18. Dr. A.W. Pollock, director of George Memorial Hospital, who died in 1935.

19. Dr. John Cremer, who succeeded Robert Hockman as director of George Memorial Hospital

20. Dr. Malaku Bayen, ward of Haile Selassie, and college friend of Robert and Winnie Hockman

21. Robert Hockman's tent at the "front," Dugahabour, Ethiopia, autumn, 1935.

22. [Same as #21]

23. Robert Hockman in Red Cross uniform, autumn, 1935.

24. Robert Hockman and Malaku Bayen in camp at Dugahabour, Ethiopia, autumn, 1935.

25. Part of camp at Dugahabour, autumn, 1935.

26. "The Big House," where the Hockmans first lived on coming to Ethiopia in 1933.

27. The Hockmans' second home, Addis Ababa.

28. Living room, Hockman home.

29. Bedroom, Hockman home. Robert Hockman made the twin beds.

30. Note on back of original photo: "The fireplace in our cottage. The crack was caused by an earthquake about ten years previous."

31. Winifred's Hockman's sewing table, made by Robert Hockman.

Series: Paper Records (Box List)

Miscellaneous correspondence (folder 1-7) includes a 1935 letter from Robert Hockman to W.B. Anderson, director of the United Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board in Philadelphia, protesting the decision of the Women's Board to order evacuation of its missionaries in the wake of the Italo-Ethiopian War. Anderson's reply is also present. The folder further contains a sympathy letter form Anderson to Winifred Hockman, 1936, and two essays: "New Methods for the New Day" by Winifred, and "Three Weeks in Southern Ethiopia" by Robert.

The scrapbook (folder 1-8) contains material dated 1933 to 1936, although it was put together into its present format by Ruth Hockman Bell many years later. This material is a photocopy of the original, and each page of the original appears her on two sheets, right side and left side, which must be matched up to reconstruct the whole. The pages are numbered (by Archives staff) in the order in which they appeared in the original. The scrapbook contains correspondence, a memorial written by Winifred Hockman, a bulletin of the memorial service for Robert held at Wheaton Bible Church, a copy of the official black-bordered announcement of his death issued by the American Mission in Ethiopia, written in English and in the native tongue, sympathy telegrams received by Winifred in Egypt and by the William Hockmans in Wheaton, letters of sympathy including one from the Christian Medical Society, and a letter from John Cremer to the William Hockmans describing Robert's funeral in Addis Ababa. Newspaper clippings in the scrapbook document the Hockmans' going to the mission field, their work there, Haile Selassie and his family, the Italo-Ethiopian War, Red Cross work, Robert's death, tributes, Winifred's return home and adjustment to a new life. Of special interest is a tribute from the Communist Party published in the Daily Worker accompanied by a sympathy letter from the Party.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from Winifred Hockman in January, February, and August 1982. The materials in folders 1-1 through 1-8 are photocopies of the originals, which were returned to Mrs. Hockman.

Accession 82-8, 82-10, 82-11, 82-30, 82-125

August 30, 1982

Galen R. Wilson

Separated Materials

Four books authored by Kathleen Hockman Friederichsen have been transferred to the Missions and Evangelism Collection, Buswell Library, including two works about the life of Robert Hockman, one about the life of William and Katie Hockman and their work in China under the China Inland Mission, and one about the Paul Friederichsens' experiences on the Philippine mission field and internment in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. Titles listed below:

Accession 82-8, 82-30, 82-125

Friederichsen, Kathleen Hockman. Doctor Bob Hockman: Surgeon of the Cross. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1937.

Friederichsen, Kathleen Hockman. Doctor Bob Hockman: Surgeon of the Cross. (Sequel, 1981) Privately printed [1981].

Friederichsen, Paul D. and Kay Hockman. Like Them That Dream. Privately published, 1945; reprinted 1972.

Friederichsen, Kathleen Hockman. Treasures of Darkness. "The true story of a missionary mother, Katie E. Hockman, written by her missionary daughter Kathleen Hockman Friederichsen in 1946; updated in 1981." Privately printed, 1981. Xerox copy, 1982.

Collection 200 Papers of Robert and Winifred Hockman
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
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