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Collection 187 Papers of Eleanor R. Elliott

Identifier: CN 187

Scope and Contents

Family correspondence, prayer letters, brochures, newspaper clippings, prayer cards and letters from other missionaries, photographs, slides, negatives, journals and diaries, and eight interviews concerning Elliott's childhood in China, mission work with China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship) in China and the Philippines, her experiences as an evangelist and teacher, her life in China during the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945, and the civil war that followed. Her retirement is also documented in the later years. Topics covered include Elliot's childhood in China, education at Wheaton College and Wheaton College Graduate School, work as missionary in China and the Philippines, her career as an elementary teacher in the US, and her retirement in 1977. The materials in Elliott's papers give first-hand information on the missionary work in China during World War II and under the communist rule before 1951, missions in the Philippines, and the education of missionary children. The arrangement of the collection and folder titles were provided by the processor. Duplicates, some unidentified photographs not related to her missionary work, and extraneous items were not included in the collection and returned to the donor.


  • Created: 1910-1988

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Eleanor Ruth Elliot

Birth Date: May 1, 1908, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Death Date: 1995

Family: Parents: Rev. Walter Scott and Dr. Eleanor Edwards Elliott (missionaries in China)

Siblings: Curtis, Nathan (Walter), Edwards, Margaret and Frances

Marital Status: Single

Children: None


Kuling American School, Jiangsu Province, China Long Beach High School

1925-1927 Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA)

1927-1930 Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

1931?-1932 Language school, Yangchow, Kiangsu Province, China

1947-1948 Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL, Christian Education 1956 Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL


1932-1944 Missionary with China Inland Mission in evangelism and educational work in Tungcheng (1932), Shucheng in Anhwei Province (1934-36), Yingshang (1936), Yingshang, Kikungshan, Hwangchuan (1937-1939), Shucheng, Kiating (1940-1944)

1944-1946 Missionary with China Inland Mission in Kalimpong, Bengal, India; Shanghai, China

1948-1951 Missionary with China Inland Mission in Kuling, China; Hong Kong

1951-1952 As public school teacher in Charleston, South Carolina

1952-1956 Missionary with Overseas Missionary Fellowship teaching at Grace Christian High School in Manila (1952-1953) and a newly established school in Tagaytay City (1953-1956), Philippine Islands

1957-1977 Teacher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; taught elementary education at Columbia Bible College; inaugurated a church school in Charleston, South Carolina; taught at Citadel Square Baptist School and public schools

1977 Retired

Other significant information:

1909-1918 Grew up in Changsha City, Hunan Province, China 1930 Applied to the China Inland Mission just before graduating in 1930 1977-1984 Lived in Lisle, Illinois, where she was involved in church activities and taught Bible classes for Chinese nationals 1984-1995 Relocated to Grace Village, Winona Lake, Indiana Birdwatching was one of her hobbies


1.60 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

Series 1: Audio Tapes

Series: Audio tapes

Arrangement: Tapes T1-T8 are in chronological order as recorded

Date range: Topics discussed cover the time period 1908-1981

Volume: 8 audio tapes ( .03 cubic feet)

Geographic coverage: China, the Philippines, Japan, India and the United States

Type of documents: Oral history interviews

Subjects: Missionary work in China and Philippines, Chinese life and culture in the first half of 20th century, the China Inland Mission, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, teaching in missionary schools, and in American schools

Notes: Interviews particularly cover the history, culture and missionary work in China; the preparation and education for missionary work and education of nationals and children of missionaries; and other mission-related subjects.  Persons featured in correspondence and the interviews include family members and co-workers. Of particular interest are Miss Elliott's experiences during the Sino-Japanese War (T1, T3-T7) and her life under Chinese communism, 1948 to 1951 (T7). Also of notable interest are descriptions of Chinese customs: binding of women's feet (T1), Buddhist worship (T1), silk worm culture (T2), urban and rural life (T3), marriage and engagement customs (T3), family life and attitudes toward women (T4). Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is listed to the left of the topics discussed.

Eleanor Elliott was interviewed by Robert Shuster on October 5, 11, 20, 26 and November 3, 9, 17, 30, 1981


Series 2: Negatives

12 color, undated photographs of Eleanor Ruth Elliott and unidentified people.


Series 3: Photographs

56 photographs arranged into ten topical photograph files. Circa 1930s-1984.


Series 4: Slides

SLIDE BOX 20 S1-S43 - Scenes related to the activities of Overseas Missionary Fellowship in the Philippines, including pictures of missionaries, co-worker Hazel Page, missionary school, primitive missionary huts, rice drying; scenes of the social life of the Filipino and scenery in the Philippines; of particular note are shots of CIM posters taken in 1955, a Christmas tree and a Christmas star.


Series 5: Paper Records (Box List)

Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical by document type, then chronological

Date range: 1910-1988, undated

Volume: 1.6 cubic feet

Boxes: 1-4

Geographic coverage: China, the Philippines, Japan, India and the United States

Type of documents: Correspondence, postcards, missionary information & brochures, journals & diary, school newsletters & bulletin, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, prayer cards & prayer letters

Correspondents: Margaret Elliott Crossett (sister), Vincent Crossett (brother-in-law), Virginia Crossett Morris (niece), Curtis Elliott (brother), Eleanor Edwards Elliott (mother), Walter Scott Elliott (father), Frances Elliott Wright (sister), friends, relatives and prayer partners

Subjects: Missionary work in China and Chinese life and culture in the first half of 20th century, and limited information on missions the Philippines, China Inland Mission, Overseas Missionary Fellowship. The collection is of particular value for its insights into education -- of those planning to go to the mission field as well as of nationals and children of missionaries.

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

Notes: The majority of this collection consists of personal correspondence (folders 1-2 through 1-24, 2-2 through 2-16 ), handwritten or transcribed and duplicated. Not all of the letters are complete. Also included are letters from family members, as indicated above. Of particular note are the files from Ruth's father Walter Scott Elliott (folders 1-2, 1-3, and 1-6), which contain candid observations about the political and economic situation in China between 1911 and 1934, including an evaluation of Chiang Kai-Shek (folder 1-6).

Exceptional items: Topics in Elliott's correspondence include her early experiences in evangelistic work; dealing with Chinese Christians of varying commitment; travel; interaction with Chinese cultural life including weddings, funerals, attitudes toward property, banditry, Christmas celebrations in the compounds, and schools; and contacts with other CIM missionaries (folders 1-4 through 1-18). Mention of the execution of John and Betty Stam by communists (folder 1-31) is included in a letter, dated March 1935, also describing the wedding of Margaret Elliott to Vincent Crossett.

There is no correspondence for the period during which she was teaching in India after having fled the country during the Sino-Japanese War. However, those years are discussed briefly in tape T7, including descriptions of an emergency situation on the flight from China to India. Some correspondence (folders 2-6 through 2-7) is on her life as a teacher in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and on her retirement in Lisle, Illinois, and Grace Village, Indiana.

The rest of the correspondence (folders 2-2 through 2-5, folders 2-8 through 2-16) was written by Elliot's relatives and friends. Contents of prayer letters in folders 1-32 through 1-34 include reports from a number of former CIM workers (renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship or OMF) operating in the Philippine Islands. These letters include reports from Miss Elliott's work. Personal correspondence from these years is contained in folders 1-19 through 1-23.

Prayer cards and prayer letters in folders 4-5 through 4-8 include reports from various local and overseas missionaries, mostly working with OMF.

In folder 3-1 are some school newsletters, Elliott's teacher certificate and teaching plan. Information on Chefoo Schools, a directory of Chefoo Preparatory School staff at Kiating, Kalimpong and Shanghai and the December 1987 issue of Chefoo magazine are kept in folder 3-2. In folder 3-3 are Elliott's genealogical records, including the family tree and a manuscript about Elliott's brother entitled "Life with Walter Nathan," written by her sister Margaret Elliott Crossett.

In her journals and diaries (folder 3-4), Elliott wrote about her daily activities and birds she had seen. Many of the diaries have only a few entries and one special diary is from a trip to Citadel Square Baptist Church in Germany on June 5-20, 1973. Also included in this folder is a log book of the letters she received and sent out; although the range appears to cover the 1980s, the exact years of most of the entries are not identified.

Missionary information and brochures in folders 4-3 through 4-5 include newsletters and reports of OMF and mailing lists of CIM alumni. Of particular note are a report written by fellow-missionary David Adeney on his visit to China and a biographical sketch of Kenneth W. Wilson and Eleanor Blackstone Wilson.

Two copies of a manuscript, "The Emergency Preparatory School," one edited, describe the establishment of a Chefoo School for children of missionaries in Kiating which was more safely located during the dangerous period of the Sino-Japanese War years until 1944, when it too had to be evacuated. Also of particular interest is the manuscript in folder 1-27 which discusses the educational needs and problems of educating children of missionaries away from their own countries. Folder 1-35 contains a brief history of Faith Academy, Philippines, and other data about MK (or missionary kid) education.

Representative of the breadth of Miss Elliott's career activities and interests are a piece of music written by the Elliott sisters in folder 1-25 and lists of birds seen in China, the Philippines, and India in folder 1-36, and in the United States in folder 2-1.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from Eleanor Elliott in October and November 1981, and from her niece, Virginia Morris, in August 1988.

Accession 81-105, 81-112, 81-116, 81-122, 81-124, 81-126, 81-130, 81-142, 88-97, 92-34 April 4, 1984

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

January 17, 1989

J. Nasgowitz

D. Reifsnyder

March 2, 1999

I. Wong

P. Ericksen

Related Materials

The following items have been donated to the Billy Graham Center Museum:

Accession 81-130

Handmade (?) metal bowl, 7" in diameter and 1-5/8" high. Metal is badly discolored. A fragment has been broken off and reattached to the rim. Two metal rings, approximately 3/4" in diameter, are attached opposite each other beneath the rim on the exterior of the bowl. Inside, on the bottom of the bowl, is a design, much worn with age, apparently of two peacocks. This bowl was given to Miss Elliott by a Chinese convert who told her it had been in her family for over 700 years and it was used in the rite of ancestor worship. The piece on the rim was broken off and reattached by Miss Elliott in her travels.

Wooden frame for the bowl described above in which the bowl can be stood on its edge.

Broken wooden frame for the bowl described above in which it can be rested on its base. The frame was broken during Miss Elliott's travels.

Collection 187 Papers of Eleanor R. Elliott
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US