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Collection 272 Papers of Jennie Fitzwilliam

Identifier: CN 272

Scope and Contents

Letters with some translation, photographs, a Lisu translation of the New Testament, combined catechism and hymnbook in the Atsi Kachin language, slides, and four oral history interviews all related to Jennie Fitzwilliam's mission work with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (formerly China Inland Mission) among the Lisu and Kachin peoples in southern China along the Burmese border. Included are recollections of Fitzwilliam's husband, Francis, J.O. Fraser and the early history of missionary work among the Lisu, life of the Lisu church and its indigenous administrative practices, the development of mission work among the Kachin, and her interment by the Japanese.


  • Created: 1985

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Jennie Kingston Fitzwilliam was born in Newberry, Massechusetts, on April 19, 1903. In 1925 she graduated from Moody Bible Institute's missionary course. She applied to become a member of the China Inland Mission (CIM, later renamed the Overseas Missionary Fellowship) and was accepted. Prior to her departure, she became engaged to Francis Julius Fitzwilliam, who had also applied to CIM and whom she had known at Moody. She traveled to China in late 1926 and began language training at the women's language school in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province. Her language study was interrupted by the political unrest in China and she, along with most other CIM workers, was evacuated to Shanghai. In 1927 she and Fitzwilliam, who had been evacuated to Shanghai from the men's language school, were married. The Fitzwilliams were assigned by the mission to work among the Lisu tribe in Yunnan Province, and initially lived in Tengyueh (new name, Tengchong) to complete their Chinese language study. While in Tengchong, the Fitzwilliams had their only son, Francis John. In late 1929, they transferred to the Lisu village of Muchengpo to begin their Lisu language work. Throughout their first term among the Lisu, the Fitzwilliams principally served as Bible teachers and consultants to the church. Returning from furlough in 1935, they began working among the Atsi Kachin, another tribal people located along the Burmese border, and lived in Lungch'iu. Lungch'iu was a town comprised of both Lisu and Kachin, and the Fitzwilliams divided their work among the two groups. Their work with the Kachin included evangelistic work, translation of the Atsi Kachin language and the development of a catechism for use with new converts. In 1940, Mr. Fitzwilliam died from typhus. Mrs. Fitzwilliam took a short leave to visit her son at the mission's Chefoo School in Chefoo (new name, Yantai) in Shantung Province (new name, Shandong Province). Fitzwilliam was prevented from returning to Yunnan by intensified Japanese activity in that area, and was reassigned to work in the preparatory school at Chefoo School. On December 8, 1941, Fitzwilliam and all the other staff and children at the school were placed under house arrest by the Japanese. In 1942, they were transferred to Temple Hill, a former Presbyterian mission station, also in Yantai. In 1943, they were transferred to the Weihsein internment camp, in Weihsien (new name, Wei Xian), Shandong Province. Fitzwilliam and the other Americans, in the process of being repatriated, were at Wei Xian only several weeks, after which they sailed to Goa, on the west coast of India, where they were exchanged. Upon her return to the United States, Fitzwilliam joined with several other CIM staff who had been repatriated to operate the temporary youth hostel set up for CIM children who had been repatriated, but whose parents remained in China. With the return of these parents in the course of the following year, the school was dissolved. Fitzwilliam then moved to Wheaton, IL, where she worked at Wheaton College in the accounting department while her son completed his high school education. In 1949 she was reactivated by the mission and began deputation work, intending to return to China. She was prevented from doing so by the Communists' takeover of China and the subsequent expulsion of CIM from the country and returned to the accounting department of the college. In 1952 Fitzwilliam became the Dean of Women at the Philadelphia Bible Institute, where she remained until 1957. Returning to the accounting department of Wheaton College, she continued to work there until her retirement in 1969. Following her retirement, she worked for Medical Assistance Program (MAP). She died on April 7, 2003 in her home at Windsor Manor retirement home in Carol Stream, Illinois.


0.20 Cubic Feet

1 Box (DC), Audio Tapes, Photographs, Slides

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Materials

Audio Tapes

A first interview was conducted with Jennie Kingston Fitzwillam by Paul Ericksen on May 17, 1984, at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. Technical difficulties rendered the recording inaudible. Subsequent interviews with Jennie Fitzwilliam were conducted by Ericksen on June 13, June 21, July 12, 1984, and October 31, 1985. Due to the complications of the first interview, the material covered in T1 chronologically follows that of T2. The time periods covered in the interviews is 1903 to 1969.


Photographs are arranged topically into the following photo files.

FITZWILLIAM, FRANCIS & JENNI . Group shots including Fitzwilliam. One of the shots is of a group of CIM men, preparing to leave Shanghai on a river steamer. The shot also includes David Campbell, J. Harold Casto, and John B. Kuhn. Shots of Mrs. J.O. Fraser and her children being transported along with Jennie Fitzwilliam in sedan chairs in 1936. 4 black and white image.

KACHIN (TRIBE). Shots of Kachin children and adults. One photograph is of the Chinese appointed headman of a village. Each photo also shows Kachin buildings, including one used for church meetings. 4 black and white images.

LISU (TIBETO-BURMAN TRIBE). Lisu tribe. Shots include a Lisu evangelist, Lisu women in traditional dress, and a building project. 5 black and white images.

OMF (CIM) CHINA: STATIONS . CIM language school in Anking, Anhwei (new names, Anqing, Anhui). 1 black and white image.


SLIDE FILE BOX 13: S1-1. Lisu tribespeople in traditional dress. Color image.

Paper Records (Box List)

The folders are arranged alphabetically by type of document, i.e., catechism, letters, New Testament, etc. This arrangement was provided by the archivist.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in May, June and July of 1984, and November 1985, from Jennie Kingston Fitzwilliam.

Accession 84-71, 84-72, 84-85, 84-86, 84-92, 85-142

November 8, 1985

Paul A. Ericksen

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 272 Papers of Jennie Fitzwilliam
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US