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Collection 562 Papers of Roger and Mary Howes

Identifier: CN 562

Scope and Contents

Address books, articles, autograph books, birthday book, correspondence, diaries, documents, journals, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, notebooks, photographs, prayer letters, scrapbooks, sermon notes, songbooks, and testimony which document the Howes' work as China Inland Mission (CIM) missionaries in China from 1925 through 1945, and their work at CIM (later Overseas Missionary Fellowship) office in Chicago and Headquarters in Philadelphia before they retired in 1965. Their correspondence and diaries also describe the movement, activities, and marriages of CIM missionaries in China and the conditions in the Chapei Civil Assembly Center, an Japanese internment camp in Shanghai, where the Howes were held.


  • Created: 1899-1993

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Biography of Mary Howes

Full Name: Mary Ann Fickett Howes

Birth Date: November 24, 1897, in Galveston, Texas

Death Date: July 2, 1978, in Tucson, Arizona


Parents: Nellie Tibbetts Lord and Fred W. Fickett

Siblings: Fred Wildon, Harold Lord, and Webster L.

Marital Status: Married to CIM missionary Roger Williams Howes on October 29, 1929, in Chungking (new spelling Chongqing), China

Children: Mary Ruth and Flora Nell Howes Duke


1916-1920 B.A. in Education, University of Arizona

1920-1923 Denver Bible Institute (new name, Rockmont College), Colorado

1925-1926 Language school, Yangchow, Kiangsu Province (Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province), China


1923-1925 Taught at Young Married Women's Class of First Baptist Church, Tucson

1925 Joined China Inland Mission (CIM), went to China as a missionary

1926 Taught in Suifu, Szechwan Province (new spelling Ipin, Sichuan)

Stayed in Shanghai because of the unrest in Szechwan Province (new spelling Sichuan), and returned to Tucson, Arizona, to help her mother to take care of her father

1928-1930 Returned to China, housekeeping at the mission home in Chungking, Szechwan Province (new spelling Chongqing, Sichuan)

1930-1978 Career after marriage, see joint career section after Roger Williams Howes biography below

Biography of Roger Howes

Full Name: Roger Williams Howes

Birth Date: July 7, 1898, in Holyoke, Massachusetts

Death Date: January 22, 1993, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Parents: Micajah Jonathan and Flora Cornelia Hawley Howes

Siblings: Thomas, Beth Howes Mc Naughton, and Mildred Howes Marr

Marital Status: Married to CIM missionary, Mary Ann Fickett on October 29, 1929, in Chungking (new spelling Chongqing), China

Children: Mary Ruth and Flora Nell Howes Duke


1920-1922? Olds Agricultural College, Alberta, Canada

1922-1924 Moody Bible Institute

1925 CIM Training Home in Anking (new spelling Anqing), China


1925 Joined China Inland Mission (CIM), worked at farm in Alberta, Canada

1926 Stationed in Yongning, China where he also worked in the adjacent village of Puh-in Uan with people of the Miso and Lisu ethnic groups.

1927 Involved in evangelistic work in Shanghai

1928-1930 Became the Business Manager at Chungking Business Department

1930-1993 Career after marriage, see joint career below

1935 Ordained on March 5, 1935, by the First Baptist Church of Tucson, Arizona (taken from the flyleaf of Howes' Bible)

Joint Career:

1930 Both Mary and Roger stayed in Luchow (new spelling Luzhou), Roger reached out to Chihshui, Kweichow Province (new spelling Guizhou) to secure property

1931 Roger was involved in evangelistic activities and Bible class teaching in Chihshui, Kweichow Province (new spelling Guizhou); Mary stayed in Luchow (new Luzhou). They were in charge of the Business Department and mission home in Chungking (new spelling Chongqing) from June through August temporarily, taught in Bible classes and led fellowship meetings in Chungking

1932-1933 Roger took charge of the Business Department and mission home in Chungking

1933-1935 On furlough in the United States and Canada

1935-1937 Mary and their daughters, Mary Ruth and Flora Nell, stayed in Kuling, Kiangsi Province (new spelling Jiangxi); Roger worked temporarily in the Transport Department, and the Financial Department in CIM Shanghai headquarters

1938-1939 Roger was involved in Bible teaching, evangelistic activities in various stations in Kientah, Lishui, Yunkang (new spelling Yunghe), and Kinhwa, Chekiang Province (new spelling Jinhua, Zhejiang Province). Mary and her two daughters stayed in Chefoo, Shangtung Province. Mary taught Bible classes and girls in preparation for baptism at Chefoo School, and was the housekeeper of the Chefoo Boys School for five months in 1938

1939-1943 Roger was the Assistant Secretary of CIM headquarters in Shanghai, as well as the secretary for the Shanghai Hebrew Mission. Both Roger and Mary taught Bible classes and Sunday school classes. Mary was also a supervisor for the “Paul School,” which offered bible classes to Jewish refugees as part of the Shanghai Hebrew Mission.

1943-1945 The Japanese interned the Howes family in Chapei Civil Assembly Center, an internment camp in Shanghai, for two-and-a-half years. Roger served as pastor of the Union Church formed by the internees while Mary was a Sunday school teacher in the internment camp

1945 The Howes family left Shanghai for the U.S. in September

1946-1947 Roger worked in the CIM center in Chicago as the district secretary

1947-1965 Roger served as Secretary for North America at CIM headquarters in Philadelphia; Roger and Mary took care of missionary children in Philadelphia from 1956 through 1958. Mary was the Mission Home Hostess, and conducted Bible classes in two homes in suburban areas

1965-1991 Retired to Tucson, Arizona. Roger served as a Bible study leader and supply pastor. Both Mary and Roger organized and led prayer groups and prayer conferences, taught at Bible classes, and traveled for OMF. Roger became a deacon in the First Baptist Church, Tucson in 1977.

1991-1993 Roger retired from the pastoral staff of the First Baptist Church of Tucson, Arizona, moved to OMF's Lammermuir Retirement Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Other Significant Information: The Howes spent most of their missionary life working in the headquarters and mission homes of China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, they documented the movement, evangelistic activities, and marriages of many CIM and OMF missionaries.


7.35 Cubic Feet (16 Boxes (DC), Oversize Material, Photo Albums, Photographs)

Language of Materials


Arrangement and Description of Material

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content description, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

The materials in Howes' papers give ample information on the CIM Business Department and mission home in Chungking, CIM headquarters and mission home in Shanghai from late 1920s through early 1940s, as well as CIM and OMF headquarters (CIM changed its name to OMF in 1952) in Philadelphia from 1947 through 1965. Missionary activities and movement of CIM workers in China, and the effect of political and civil unrest on missionary work are also documented. Of particular interest is the description of the internees' daily life in Chapei Civil Assembly Center, a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai from March 1943 through August 1945. The arrangement of the collection and folder titles were provided by the processor. Oversize materials including a photo of the Moody Bible Institute students and staff were pulled from their original folders and cases and put in the OS File. Duplicates, some unidentified photographs not related to the Howes' missionary work, Bibles, a Chinese dictionary, and extraneous items were not included in the collection and returned to the donor.

Series: Oversize Materials

Two oversize folders arranged by topic:

MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE (OS 29). An unidentified group photo of the students, faculty and council of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. 1923. 1 b&w.

CERTIFICATES (OS 29). Six certificates presented by China Inland Mission to Roger W. and Mary Fickett Howes. Two of them certify their passing the CIM examination, the other four certificates recognize them as junior and senior CIM missionaries. 1929-1940


Series: Photo Albums

Arrangement: Chronological

Date Range: 1920-1991, undated

Volume: 8 photo albums (1.1 cubic feet)

Geographic Coverage: China, Canada, Japan, Scotland, and the United States

Type of Materials: Primarily photographs, but also some articles, church information, correspondence, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, postcards, prayer cards

Subjects: Missions in China, Chapei Civil Assembly Center, missionary children, First Baptist Church (Tucson, Arizona), Denver Bible Institute, China Inland Mission

Notes: The majority of the photo album collection consists of photos of the Howes and their relatives in the United States. HOWES, ROGER W. & MARY FICKETT-I exclusively documents Mary Fickett Howes' life in Denver Bible Institute from 1920 through 1923. Some photos were taken on special occasions, such as Roger Howes' retirement party (HOWES, ROGER W. & MARY FICKETT-VIII), forty-fifth wedding anniversary of the Howes, and homecoming to Tucson, Arizona in 1945 (HOWES, ROGER W. & MARY FICKETT-VII). Other images include that of their friends and missionaries. Of special interest is that all photos in HOWES, ROGER W. & MARY FICKETT-IV depict shots of the Yangtze Gorges in the 1930s. There is also some correspondence in the photo albums, most of the letters belong to Mary Fickett Howes. Of particular note is a letter Mary wrote on August, 3 1944 (HOWES, ROGER W. & MARY FICKETT-V), in which she mentioned their life in the Chapei Civil Assembly Center, a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai.


Series: Photographs

Arrangement: See Location Records

Date Range: 1920-1978, undated

Volume: 0.1 cubic foot

Geographic Coverage: China, Canada, England, and the United States

Type of Materials: Photographic prints

Subjects: Missionaries, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Howes family and their friends and relatives, missionary children


Series: Paper Records (Box List)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by document type (i.e. Correspondence, Diaries, etc.) and chronologically within each type of document classification

Date Range: 1899-1991

Volume: 6.85 cubic feet; Boxes: 1-15

Geographic Coverage: Canada, China, Japan, and the United States

Type of Materials: Address books, articles, autograph books, birthday book, correspondence, diaries, documents, journals, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, notebooks, prayer letters, scrapbooks, sermon notes, testimony

Correspondents: The major portion of the correspondence consists of family letters written by the Howes family. Most of the correspondence before 1978 consists of letters written by Mary Fickett Howes to her mother, Mrs. Nellie Fickett, as well as correspondence between Mary Fickett and Roger Howes before their marriage in 1929 and when they were separated due to Roger’s assignments elsewhere. A small but significant portion of Roger Howe’s correspondence before 1945 consists of activity reports and other business correspondence with CIM mission leaders, such as Dixon Edward Hoste, George W. Gibb, and W.H. Warren. Correspondence dated after 1978, the year when Mary Fickett Howes died, are mostly family letters written by Roger, and his two daughters, Mary Ruth and Floral Nell Howes Duke. There are some other letters written by the Howes’ relatives and friends too.

Subjects: Missionary work in China, China Inland Mission, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, church work, evangelistic work, Bible teaching, sermons, CIM mission homes, Chefoo School, Chapei Civil Assembly Center, missionary children

Notes: Correspondence makes up the major portion of this collection. Mary Fickett Howes' correspondence to her mother and family (folder 3-4) begins with letters describing her life in Denver Bible Institute, her trip to China via Japan as a CIM missionary in 1925, and her study in Yangchow Language School. Her letters also document her delay in going to her first station in Suifu, Szechwan Province (new spelling Ipin, Sichuan), and her leaving Suifu for Shanghai as refugee missionary in January 1927 due to the political troubles in Szechwan. Her February 1, 1927, letter (folder 5-3) documents the hasty evacuation from Suifu station on the command of the US Consul in Chungking (new spelling Chongqing).

Roger Howes’ correspondence (folder 16-5, 16-6, 16-7, and 16-8) begins in 1926 describing his time at the CIM training home in Anking, his move to and beginning missions among aboriginal tribes in and around Yungking in Southwest China and his various interactions and conversations on mission work with Dr. Herbert L. Parry, Dixon Edward Hoste, George W. Gibb, and W.H. Warren including his transition away from tribal work to the Chungking Business Department. Folder 16-9 contains 1926-1942 correspondence from these and other CIM leaders to Roger Howes. The bulk of the correspondence is from George Gibb, the deputy director of CIM, although there are also letters from other CIM directors and personnel, such as W. H. Warren, D. E. Hoste, and F.O. Fraser. Folders 16-2 and 16-4 document the correspondence courtship and engagement of Mary Fickett and Roger Howes while Mary was residing in Arizona and Roger in China after her resignation from the China Inland Mission upon the death of her father. After the engagement, Mary’s letters also document her preparation to return to China.

The Howes got married in October 1929. In an October 30, 1929, letter (folder 5-3) to Mrs. Nellie Fickett, Miss Olive G. Searle gave a detailed account of the Howes' wedding in Chungking (new spelling Chongquing). In the letters that Mary wrote in the 1920s, she often referred to the Chinese life and customs in Szechwan Province, the scenes on Yangtze River, and the political and civil unrest in both Szechwan and Shanghai. In some April 1930, letters (folder 5-4), Mary described the Chinese' reaction and curiosity of seeing her, a foreign woman in Chihshui, Kweichow Province (new spelling Guizhou), and how the CIM missionaries secured a property for missionary work there. Mary's plan to go to China as a missionary, her study in Yangchow Language School, difficulties of missionary work in Suifu due to political disturbance in Chungking, and the Howes' work in Chungking mission home are also documented in her correspondence to Judson B. Palmer, the General Secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association in Galveston, Texas (folder 6-9).

Throughout Roger and Mary’s time in Szechwan and Chunking, Folder 16-7 documents Roger’s continued correspondence with George Gibb, W.H. Warren, and F.O. Fraser concerning reports of mission business and activity, including purchases of property and questions on CIM codebooks, as well as discussions of Mary’s troubled health following the birth of their first child, Mary Ruth, in 1931. Included in one Sept. 28, 1931 letter to Gibb is a numerical analysis Roger compiled of the number of guests per month at Chunking House over the last two years.

In 1938 and 1939, Roger was involved in evangelistic activities and Bible teaching in various stations in Chekiang Province, while Mary and their two daughters, Mary Ruth and Flora Nell, stayed in Chefoo, Shangtung Province (new spelling Yantai, Shangdong). Folder 16-8 contains letters Roger wrote to Mary during this separation, as well as his continued reports on mission work to various CIM officials. In Chefoo, Mary taught at the Chefoo School and was the housekeeper at the Boys School. In the correspondence (folder 5-7), Mary described their daily life and her co-workers in Chefoo. In letters dated February 2, March 7 and March 20, 1939, she described how the Chefoo Boys School was managed. Paper might have been scarce in those days because Mary wrote many of her letters on the empty back pages of letters sent to her. A September 17, 1938, letter was written on the back of the American Consul's letter to the American community in Chefoo asking them to observe the curfew established by the Japanese military authorities.

China was troubled with civil war, brigandage, communist warfare, and famine in the 1930s, and Mary and Roger often referred to these events in their letters. An April 30, 1933, letter (folder 5-5) documents the communists' sending out propaganda materials by stating CIM as the sender in Shanghai; another July 16, 1933, letter described the war between the communists and the Chinese Central Government troops, and the closure of mission stations in Kweichow as a result.

In some letters they wrote in 1940 (folder 5-8), the Howes referred to Shanghai as a city for both Chinese and German Jewish refugees, and they also mentioned the difficulties faced by many missionaries due to the interruption in transportation into interior China. Letters in folders 5-8 and 5-9 also document Mary and Roger’s outreach to these refugees through the Shanghai Hebrew Mission and its “Paul School.”

In 1930s and 1940s, Roger and Mary worked in the Chungking Business Department and mission home, and then in CIM headquarters and mission home in Shanghai. In their letters (folders 5-5 through 5-8), they often described their work, the missionaries who came to the mission homes, and their co-workers at the headquarters. These missionaries included Dr. Herbert L. Parry, (Superintendent of Western Szechwan), Miss Bailey, Miss Palmer, Miss Barney, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Horace and Mrs. Liversidge, Mr. Sinton, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Olsen, Mr. and Mrs. Lambert, Mr. and Mrs. Bird.

In March 1943, the Japanese interned the Howes family in the Chapei Civil Assembly Center, where they remained until August 1945. In a testimony (folder 12-5) and diaries (folder 7-11, and 16-11), Mary gave detailed description of the daily life of the internees, their health problems, food rationing and supply. Conditions in the camp are also documented in Roger's diaries (folder 9-3), and in a December 20, 1943, letter (folder 3-2). When the war ended, the Howes were freed to leave China for the United States in 1945. In an October 5, 1945, letter (folder 3-2) and diaries (folder 7-11), Mary wrote about the Howes' condition on board the United States Navy Hospital Ships, "Refugee" and "U.S.S. Sanctuary".

After the Howes returned to the United States in 1945, the Howes' correspondence is mainly about their work at churches, the latest news of their family and friends, their work in organizing OMF conferences and missionary committee meetings.

The majority of the rest of the correspondence is family letters written to Roger and Mary by their daughters, describing their life at Wheaton College and at work. Flora Nell often referred to her husband, Philip J. Duke, and her two daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline in her letters (folders 1-5 through 2-11) after marriage. The correspondence is mainly about their daily life in England and Geneva, Switzerland, Philip's work at the laboratories, and their work at the churches. Of interest are letters Flora Nell wrote in 1965 (folder 1-8) about her comments on Christianity in Russia, and description of church services at the Baptist Church in Moscow. Letters from Mrs. Helen G. Duke, Flora Nell's mother-in-law, Philip, Elizabeth, and Caroline are also included in these folders. Mary Ruth, on the other hand, mainly wrote about her work as an editor, and as a Sunday school teacher in her letters (folder 3-5 through 5-2 ).

Folder 7-1 contains letters Mary received from her friends and Denver Bible Institute students prior to her departure for China. Folder 7-2 contains cards and congratulation letters for her upcoming marriage and bon voyage wishes. Folder 13-1 contains Mary's alphabetized correspondence from her family and friends, correspondence with CIM in regard to the dates of her services in China, as well as letters to Mrs. Cleveland concerning the arrangement of money given for the support of missionary. Also included are the May, August, and October 1926 issues of China's Millions, Mary's 1920 report card from Denver Bible Institute, and two Chinese letters written to Mary. Scrapbooks in folders 14-1 through 14-2 contain congratulation cards and letters for Mary and Roger's forty-fifth wedding anniversary, their wedding photos, and photos of the Howes at the wedding anniversary party.

Roger and Mary both wrote diary entries almost every day. Diaries in folders 7-10 through 10-3 and 16-10 and 16-11 record the Howes' everyday life, their family and their work from 1912 through 1992. Of special interest in Folder 16-11 are a few brief leaves from Mary Fickett’s 1941 diary detailing the aftermath of the December 7th Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the beginning of the United States’ entry into WWII and its effect on U.S. missionaries’ life in China. The diaries in folder 16-10 are accounts of Mary’s early life, including a school girl diary from 1912-1913, as well as loose-leaf pages from a later diary detailing a 1917 trip to Maine and Niagara Falls. While begun in 1912 and 1917 respectively, Mary also added multiple entries to both diaries over the next forty years, including reflective accounts of her commitment to Christian service after recovering from the Spanish flu in 1918 and her recollections of meeting her future husband Roger Howes in China in 1925. Included in some of Mary's diaries are also photos of her family.

Roger was involved in evangelistic activities in various stations in China, and he was a supply pastor in Tucson after he retired in 1965. Folder 12-3 consists of his sermon notes, information of CIM in Yunnan, Kweichow, and Szechwan as of January 1, 1934. Folder 12-4 contains his alphabetized sermon notes, a manuscript entitled "Faith and facts," in which Roger wrote about the origin and principles of CIM, the work of James Hudson Taylor, and the organization and financial situation of CIM in China, as well as programs of services in the Chapei Civil Assembly Center from September 1943 through June 1944, and another manuscript entitled "Characteristics of Roger Williams Howes." The history of CIM and OMF from 1865 through 1965 is also available in the June 1965 issue of East Asia Millions (folder 11-1).

There are some manuscripts in this collection. In folder 10-8 is an autobiography edited by Mary-Pearl R. Kahle. It is a detailed account of August H. Reinhard's work as a missionary to Northern China and Shanghai from 1904 through 1943, and missionary work of different mission boards in China. The manuscript in folder 10-6 is a genealogy of the Howes family.

Folders 16-2 and 16-3 contain short biographical and autobiographical accounts of the life and missionary service of both Roger Howes and Mary Fickett, as well as their time in the Chapei Civil Assembly Center.

Newspaper clippings in folder 11-2 are on Fred W., Harold L., and Arthur M. Fickett. Those in folder 11-3 are primarily news of Mary and Roger in China, included are clippings of Roger being shot in a skirmish near Luchow in 1927, Mary's missionary work, and internees of Japanese concentration camps.

Documents in folder 1-4 include Mary Fickett Howes’ school report cards from 1905-1911, undated.; certificate of promotion to senior high school in Tucson, Arizona, 1946; a deed on a real property in Tucson, Arizona; the Howes' certificate of marriage; Roger's certificate of birth, certificate of death, certificate of ordination issued by the First Baptist Church, Tucson, Arizona, Mary Fickett’s 1925 U.S. passport with Chinese stamps, certificate of naturalization, last will and testament, business cards; and permits to draw rations for milk, cereals, and food in 1942. Folder 13-2 contains two notices issued by the Japanese Gendarmerie regarding the removal of things from premises in 1943. Folder 12-6 contains the contents of Roger's wallet, included are Roger's Shanghai bicycle licence, inoculation card, and three bank notes issued by the Chinese Central Government in 1940 and 1948.

Folders 11-11 through 12-1 contain mostly prayer letters and newsletters of OMF missionaries. Notes in folders 11-4 through 11-8 include prayer notes, prayer list, prayer requests, notes for Bible classes and Sunday school classes, and photos of the Howes family. Folder 13-4 contains alphabetized articles, manuscripts, clippings, and bulletin of Wheaton College that Mary kept.

Folder 13-5 contains a binder of 1986-1992 prayer letters from various missions and missionaries from Overseas Missionary Fellowship, World Evangelical Fellowship, InterVarsity, International Student Ministry, and Friends of Israel, among many others, collected and arranged by Roger Howes, along with his handwritten prayer schedules.

Two of Mary's Bibles were included in the collection (folders 15-1 and 2). Both include extensive underlining and annotations, as well as family photographs in front and back. A Chinese Bible (probably belonging to Roger) was not kept, but some of the loose notes and Chinese tracts found in it were (folder 15-3).

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received at the Center from Mary Ruth Howes in May 1998. Additional materials were received from Mary Ruth Howes and Flora Nell Duke in May 2002, Mary Ruth Howes in May 2003 and September 2005, Flora Nell Duke in April 2008, and Mary Ruth Howes in May 2008.

Accession 98-25

June 18, 1999

Irene Wong

P. Ericksen

Accessions 02-35, 03-30, 05-56, 08-15, 08-23

February 9, 2020

Emily Banas

Related Materials

The following items have been transferred to the EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS COLLECTION, Buswell Library at Wheaton College:

Frost, Henry W., lyricist, and Frederic F. Helmer, composer, . Songs of the Christian Life. (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, ca. 1929).

Collection 562 Papers of Roger and Mary Howes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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