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Collection 534 Papers of Henry and Marguerite Owen

Identifier: CN 534

Scope and Contents

Articles, audio tapes, booklets, correspondence, lecture notes, manuscript, newspaper clippings, outlines of lectures, photo albums, photographs, prayer letters, reports, research notes, scrapbooks, and travel brochures documenting the missionary service of Marguerite (Goodner) Owen and her husband Henry "Harry", missionaries to China with China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship), 1933-1941, 1947-1951. Includes information on the Harry's work as OMF representative and later area director for the US Southwest and Midwest and Marguerite’s ministry as a speaker at retreats.


  • Created: 1929-2002

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Henry "Harry" Owen, Jr.

Birth: March 1, 1907, Birkenhead, England

Death: December 1984


Parents: Henry and Elizabeth Owen

Siblings: Isobel (1904-1931)

Marital Status: Married Marguerite Goodner in Chefoo, China, August 30,1939

Children: Mary Elizabeth, September 25, 1942; Norman Goodner, January 23, 1944; Stephen Henry; March 2, 1949

Conversion: Age 20; fellow worker at an Insurance Company in Montreal, Canada led Harry to Christ.


Moody Bible Institute, 1930-1933


1933-1934 - CIM Language School, Anqing & Huaning, Anhui Province

1934-1939 - CIM missionary


Full name: Marguerite Elizabeth Goodner Owen

Birth: November 19, 1909, Gainsville, Texas

Death: October 17, 2002, Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Parents: Edward Superior and Mary Grow Goodner

Siblings: Three younger sisters: Mary Mac, Dorothy, Jane

Marital Status: Married Canadian Henry Owen Jr. in Chefoo, China, August 30,1939

Children: See information listed under Harry Owen family

Conversion: Born and raised in a Christian home


1926-1930 - University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. degree

1931-1932 - Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois

1932-1933 - Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA)


1933-1934 - CIM Language School, Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province

1934-1939 - CIM missionary


Joint Career of Henry and Marquerite Owen: 1939-1941 - CIM missionaries

1941-1942 - Furlough in United States

1942-1947 - Harry appointed CIM Regional Director for the Southwest District (California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona), with speaking engagements for CIM throughout the United States

1947-1951 - Kunming, Yunnan (1947-1949 Harry worked with political prisoners)

1951-1953 - Worked as administrator with Wycliffe Bible Translators in California

1953-1958 - OMF representative based in Orange County, California. Harry had frequent speaking engagements for the mission around the country.

1958-1964 - OMF area director for the Southwest. Owens were in charge of the OMF guest house in Los Angeles, while Harry continued as a speaker.

1964-1972 - OMF area director for the Midwest, with responsibility for the Chicago guest house on Maplewood Avenue

1972 - Retired from the mission

Other significant information:

The Owens moved to California upon retirement and continued to be active in OMF prayer meetings and similar activities. Harry's health began to deteriorate seriously, being diagnosed with Parkinson' disease in 1972 and in 1984 with cancer. After Harry's death in 1984, Marguerite continued to live in California until 1994, when she moved to the OMF Lammemier retirement home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2001 she moved into an assisted care facility in Lancaster.


1.50 Cubic Feet (3 Boxes (3 DC); Audio Tapes, Oversize Material, Photo Albums, Photographs)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

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

Series: Audio Tapes

Arrangement: Chronological by date of interview

Date Range: 1996-1999

Date Range on events described: 1909-1988

Volume: 9 tapes


Series: Oversize Materials

PRINT OF KITCHEN GOD (OS 11 ). Print of the kitchen god made on very thin paper (12"x18") in color, undated.


Series: Photo Albums and Photographs

Arrangement: Alphabetical by title

Date Range: 1923-1943

Type of Materials: Photo albums and photographs

Notes: There are three of Harry's and six of Marguerite's photo albums. Several loose photographs were placed into various photo folders.


Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical and chronological

Date Range: 1929-1999

Volume: 1.5 cubic feet, Boxes: 1-3

Geographic Area: China, Canada, USA Type of documents: Articles, booklets, correspondence, lecture notes, manuscript, newspaper clippings, outlines of lectures, prayer letters, reports, research notes, scrapbooks, travel brochures Correspondents: Marguerite Goodner Owen, Harry Owen, and friends Subjects: Moody Bible Institute student life and missions, departure for China, China Inland Mission (CIM) Women's Language School in Yangzhou, life and mission work in China, CIM women missionaries in China, wedding of Henry and Marguerite Owen, CIM, missionary orientation, biblical basis for missions, furlough, retirement

Notes: Most of the collection consists of correspondence (most by Marguerite Owen) and scrapbooks. Marguerite wrote almost weekly over two hundred letters to her aunt, Marguerite Barrow Grow, from 1933-1940. The letters were originally kept in envelopes which were pasted onto pages of three scrapbooks. The archivist removed the letters and placed them into folders 1-7 through 1-10 and 2-1.

Each of the three scrapbooks (folders 3-1 through 3-3) has been assigned an alphabetical letter based on the chronological order of the letters. There were many photographs (most are labeled) and other items pasted in the scrapbooks which were not removed. Most of the letters are addressed to "Agweet" a nickname for her aunt. These letters are handwritten and well preserved. They offer an interesting account of the life and mission work of a young, single missionary woman in China.

There are annual typeset missionary letters from Marguerite for the years 1934-1937 and from her and Harry in 1939 clipped to some of these letters. Marguerite's letters begin with descriptions of her journey to China aboard the Danish freighter Anna Maersk in 1933. Marguerite goes on to detail her life in the CIM language school and at her first mission station in Fowyang. The letters also mention life with other missionaries and missions conferences she attended. There are purple font typewritten letters (folders 1-10 and 2-1) addressed to "Dearly Beloved Ones," "Dearly Beloved Family Mine," etc., which are carbon copy duplicates of letters sent to the family members and possibly prayer supporters. The originals of some of these letters are found in folder 2-2.

The collection also contains Harry Owen's lecture notes and outlines on the topics the biblical basis of missions, challenges for missionary work, missionary orientation to the mission field, compassion for the lost, difficulties of being a single missionary, etc. Folder 2-19 contains a memorial service program and transcript of a speech by Marguerite's daughter, Elizabeth Owen Nordquist, given at the memorial service of Marguerite. Also included is Nordquist's letter detailing the service.

Exceptional items: A 1933 CIM Ladies outfit list, a program of special meetings and a letter announcing two groups who were setting sail for China in the fall of 1933 are in folder 2-3. Newspapers clippings about Marguerite's departure for China, her teaching in Honan Province, wedding, and one hundred mile wheelbarrow ride are located in folder 2-12. A letter dated November 7, 1933, in folder 1-7 describes the schedule of the CIM Women's Language School in Yangzhou. Marguerite's letters (folder 1-4) to her family give an overview of how evangelism took place in villages. In a letter written July 5, 1939, (folder 2-1) Marguerite identifies seventeen Ruths and six Helens she was corresponding with. Folder 2-15 contains twenty-six prayer letters of Harry and Marguerite. Folder 2-16 provides notes on the first meeting of the North Anhwei Regional Council on September 25, 1941. Harry's letters (folder 1-5) written from Yunnan Province describe his work and writings at the time when the Communists took over in 1949.

Letters (folder 1-6) are written to Marguerite and Harry from various friends including CIM missionaries James Herbert "Bert" and Winnifred Kane, Otto and Kathryn Dodd Schoerner, Ruth Williamson, Charles Richard "Dick" Hillis, Theodore and Olive Fischbacher, and others. Olive Fischbacher's letter of December 13, 1938, describes her and her husband's evacuation from Japanese controlled areas of China. A letter Winnifred Kane wrote describes the 1938 wedding of the Schoerners.

Scrapbook A (folder 3-1) contains an article from the CIM magazine, China Millions, written about Henry and Marguerite Owen, their background and their call to China. It also includes information on six other missionaries who also sailed for China in 1933. The scrapbook also contains photo scenes of Mt. Fuji in Japan, CIM's language school for women (students and staff in 1933-1934), Marguerite Owen in Fowyang, Anhui, staff and Chinese at Church girl's school in Fowyang in the summer of 1934 as well as scenes of the CIM compound in Fowyang. One photo compares Marguerite wearing western clothes and then Chinese clothes. Scrapbook B (folder 3-2) contains twenty-one photos, which document life in Fowyang with other missionaries. There is one photo showing the Daily Vacation Bible School in July 1937. There are four photos of the wedding of Louis and Nancy Gaussen (1936) and Theodore and Olive Fischbacher (1938). Also among the photos are those including missionaries Ruth Nowack, Mabel and Frances Williamson, and Helen (Mount) Anderson. Scrapbook C (folder 3-3) contains nineteen photos of Henry and Marguerite at their wedding and on their honeymoon. Two letters, pasted in the scrapbook, dated at the end of 1939, tell about their move from Fowyang to Chengyangkwan.

A very thorough coverage of issues of retirement is in Harry's manuscript (including research notes) on "Some Observations on the Retirement of Christian Workers" (folder 2-10). Harry addresses issues of housing, fellowship, personal goals, service in the church or in other organizations, visitation and service to the church abroad. Retirement "shock" and other special problems of retirement are also covered as well as Christian attitudes to retirement.

Folder 2-18 contains an unpublished manuscript, My Precious Agweet, edited by Norman Owen (Marguerite’s son) with excerpts from Marguerite’s letters to Marguerite B. Grow, 1933-1940, and some of her CIM circulars. This manuscript was given to Marguerite on her 90th birthday.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Marguerite Goodner Owen in August 1993, July, September and October 1994, June 1996, June 1997, May 1998, June 1999, May and June 2001 and by Robert Shuster in June 1999.

Accession 93-91, 94-63, 94-77, 94-82, 96-59

March 26, 1997

Laurie Huber

Accession 97-51, 98-29, 99-44, 99-49, 01-24, 01-37

April 8, 2002

Wayne D. Weber

R. Shuster

Collection 534 Papers of Henry and Marguerite Owen
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US