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Collection 293 Oral History Interview with Melvin D. Suttie

Identifier: CN 293

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Melvin David Suttie (1912-2006) in which he discusses his childhood, Christian growth, education at Wheaton College and Biblical Seminary in New York and Omaha Presbyterian Seminary, missionary work with China Inland Mission (1940-1950), work among university students, persecution, evangelistic work among the Chinese population and Nationalist troops, his wife Mary's work among women, their children, church and state relations in China, the impact of the Sino-Japanese Conflict and China's civil war on missionary efforts, CIM’s financial policies, the Communist takeover of China, the Sutties' return to the United States, his pastorate at a Presbyterian church, and the significance of his experience in China and CIM’s role there. The time period covered by the interview is 1912-1985

Melvin Suttie was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on January 18 and 21, 1985 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1985

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Melvin David Suttie was born on June 4, 1912 in Austin, Illinois to David and Bertha Suttie; he had five siblings. He grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and attended Glenbard High School. When he was sixteen he was converted. Suttie attended Wheaton College (1931-1935), majoring in history, and after graduating, continued his education, first at the nondenominational Biblical Seminary in New York City (1936-1938) and then at Omaha Presbyterian Seminary (1938-1939). In 1938 he married Mary Elizabeth Cromer, whom he had known at Wheaton and met again at Biblical Seminary. He was ordained in an Indiana presbytery where his father-in-law was pastoring.

The Sutties joined China Inland Mission in 1939. They completed their language training in Tsingtao, Shandong Province in 1940. After several short-lived assignments due to war conditions and the birth of their first child, they worked in Fowyang, Anhui Province from 1941 to 1944, supervised by J. Herbert Kane. In 1944, they were trans-ferred to Ningchang, Shaanxi Province, where they worked until mid-1946, when they had their furlough. Upon returning to China in the fall of 1947, they began their second term in Nanyo in Henan Province, working among students. After the Communist take-over in 1949, they were unable to carry out their work among students, and considered themselves to be a risk to those Chinese the served and with which they associated. They left China in November 1950; (their departure preceded the general China Inland Mission withdrawal by a month). Suttie and his wife formally resigned from the mission in 1952.

Upon resettling in the US, Suttie worked as a pastor in several Presbyterian churches in Illinois (1952-1974) and Arkansas (1974-1977).

The Sutties had four children, Lois Jean (b. 1941), Marilyn Joy (b. 1943), David (b. 1950), and a baby who died in 1946. Mary Elizabeth Suttie died in 1983. Melvin died November 9, 2006.


3.00 Audio Tapes

166 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Melvin Suttie in January 1985.

Accession 85-6, 85-10

July 23, 1992

Paul A. Ericksen

C. Easley

Collection 293 Oral History Interview with Melvin D. Suttie
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