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Collection 044 Papers of Helen M. Tenney

Identifier: CN 044

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, scrapbook, drafts, articles, and research notes which reflect Tenney's active participation in a number of evangelical ministries, but particularly her work with the Woman's Union Missionary Society (WUMS), especially the labor she put into writing a history of that organization. The bulk of the collection consists of manuscripts of that history.


  • Created: 1882-1980

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection

Biographical Information

Helen Margaret was born to Rev. John E. and Mary Olsen Jaderquist July 22, 1904 in Buffalo, New York. Her father, a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor, served as a pastor, teacher, denominational executive, director of publications for the CMA, and on the board as representative for several foreign mission boards. Helen had one sister, Mary Elizabeth (born 1906) who married W. Wallace Padden. She graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois in 1925 with a B.A. in history, from Northwestern University in 1928 with a M.A. in history and from Gordon College in Massachusetts in 1928 with a B.D. Helen taught at Northfield Seminary in Massachusetts from 1928 until her marriage in 1930 to Merrill C. Tenney.

After their marriage the Tenneys moved to Wenham, where he was a professor at Gordon College. In 1943, when he became a professor at Wheaton College, the family moved to Wheaton, Illinois.

Helen Tenney served on the board of Women's Union Missionary Society (WUMS) and was active in its work as was her sister who served as president of the society for over ten years. She authored a history of the WUMS which is included in this collection. She also wrote Mark's Sketchbook of Christ (1956), several magazine articles and Sunday school materials and served as an officer of the Woman's Fellowship of the National Association of Evangelicals. After a long illness, Mrs. Tenney died January 22, 1978.


1.60 Cubic Feet (6 boxes (4 DC, 2 card files), Photographs)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Materials

The contents of this collection to a small degree illustrate Mrs. Tenney's active participation as an officer in a number of evangelical ministries but mostly the files document her work in the W.U.M.S. and especially the labor she put into her history of that organization, No Higher Honor.

Well over two thirds of the collection consists of various drafts of different parts of the book. Folders 2-3 thru 2-15 contain successive versions of the preface, most chapters, and the appendix (which lists the names of missionaries sent out by W.U.M.S. and some details of their service). Folders 1-13, 1-14, 2-1, and 2-2 contain almost complete drafts of the book at various stages of its development. The manuscript in folder 1-13 is probably the book in its final form except for some missing pages. Other parts of the collection contain the raw material from which Mrs. Tenney constructed the book. boxes 3 and 4 contain hundreds of her research notes. These notes are arranged in their original order and condition, except that where paper clips and rubber bands had been used to separate them into groups, blank card guides have been substituted. Folder 2-16 contains documents or copies of documents she consulted such as wills; papers by Sarah D. Doremus, one of the founders of the W.U.M.S., in which she gives details of the early days of the organization and describes a world tour she took of its mission in the years 1901-1902; a brief history written in 1911 of the Society's work in Japan; a very interesting account by missionary Pollock of life in a Japanese internment camp during World War II; an article about Elizabeth Pollock; an account of the beginning of the Multan Hospital in India; and a very early document outlining the goals of the W.U.M.S. and several endorsements the work had received. Other folders also hold apparent sources such as annual reports, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets put out by the Society describing its work.

There are six files that deal with non-W.U.M.S. matters. File 1-1 contains correspondence with friends of Mrs. Tenney, although here too some of the information in the letters was intended for her book or for an article on W.U.M.S., such as a 1969 letter by a woman missionary describing life in a Japanese internment camp. Folders 1-2 and 1-4 contain copies of reports handed out at a mission executives meeting in 1965 and 1968 describing various aspects of world wide mission activities. Mrs. Tenney's work in the Women's Fellowship of the National Association of Evangelicals is amply documented by numerous copies of minutes of committee meetings, balance sheets, and annual reports. The reports and minutes also describe many of the projects the Fellowship was involved in, such as prayer days, Bible classes, support for missionaries and humanitarian relief, and work for anti-pornography legislation (folders 1-6 to 1-11). Folder 1-5 contains an interesting 1945 booklet entitled Through Shining Archway published by the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society and the Women's American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society. It describes the careers and martyrdoms of eleven missionaries stationed in the Philippines in 1942. Pictures of the martyrs are included in the booklet.

The collection also includes pamphlets, manuscripts, papers and a scrapbook. Included in Folder 5-1 is a 20th anniversary booklet, 1921-1941, for the Shanghai Union School of Nursing of Margaret Williamson Hospital, as well as a Founder's Day publication for the same hospital. There is one copy of The Sunday School Times, September 17, 1960. A centenary booklet commemorates Mary A. Merriman School, 1880-1980. Miscellaneous re-writes of chapter of No Higher Honor are contained Folder 5-2. A complete manuscript of the supplement to Mrs. Tenney's history, covering the subsequent years 1960-1980, is in Folder 5-3. Newspaper clippings of World Day of Prayer in Wheaton, Illinois, between 1932 and 1949 are in a scrapbook in Folder 6-1. Folder 6-2 contains miscellaneous papers, including a history of the Yokohama Church , 1932, and a movingly-written description of the accidental death of Marion Childress in India in 1963.

ADDENDUM: Final table of contents for No Higher Honor

I. A Seed Long Buried

II. A Bold Venture

III. Scaling Zenana Walls

IV. Gateway to India

V. Education -- A Means to an End

VI. Kahpur -- Merriman School and Orphanage

VII. Jhansi -- Ackerman-Hoyt Hospital

VIII. Fatehpur -- Place of Victory

IX. Fatehpur -- Lily Lytle Broadwell Hospital

X. China -- Creating a New Class of Women

XI. Margaret Williamson Hospital

XII. Japan

XIII. The Multan Story -- W. Pakistan

Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in April and June of 1978, and April of 1979, 1980, and 1981 from Dr. Merrill Tenney. Additional materials were given to the Archives in 1981 by W. Wallace Paddon.

Accession: 78-10, 78-12, 78-21, 78-24, 79-3, 79-37, 79-111

79-123, 80-59, 81-8a, 81-39

June 22, 1978

Robert Shuster

M. Schimmels

January 9, 1979, revised

April 18, 1979, revised

Revised, July 9, 1981

Francis L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Retyped, revised

March 11, 1993

M. L. Wohlschlegel

J. Archer

Related Materials

The following items have been given to the EVANGELISM & MISSIONS COLLECTION:

Accession: 78-10, 78-21, 79-111, 79-123

Keep, Rosalind. Fourscore and Ten Years. Mills College, California. 1946.

Proceedings of the General Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of Japan Held at Osaka, Japan April 1883.

A Strange Detour. The Story of Marion Elizabeth Childress, Missionary-Nurse: 1914-1963, by Murden Woods, 1964.

Twenty-First Annual Report for 1881 of the Woman's Union Missionary Society, January, 1882.

Woman's Union Missionary Society of America Cenntennial Year, 1960-1961.

W.U.M.S. Centennial Year (1960-1961) Booklet (700 copies).

W.U.M.S. 1961 Prayer Manual.

The following items have been given to the EVANGELISM & MISSIONS COLLECTION:

The Church Herald Vol. 14 # 7 February 15, 1977.

Missionary Link

Publication of the W.U.M.S.

Vol. 66 # 1 January 1935

Vol. 66 # 2 February 1935

Vol. 68 # 6 June 1937

Vol. 73 # 2 February 1942

Vol. 88 # 10 December 1957 (2 copies)

Vol. 89 # 1 January 1958

Vol. 90 # 1 January 1959 (2 copies)

Vol. 90 # 2 February 1959

Vol. 90 # 3 March 1959

Vol. 90 # 4 April 1959

Vol. 90 # 5 May 1959

Vol. 90 # 6 June 1959

Vol. 90 # 7 September 1959

Vol. 90 # 8 October 1959

Vol. 90 # 9 November 1959 (2 Copies)

Vol. 90 # 10 December 1959

Vol. 91 # 1 January 1960

Vol. 91 # 2 February 1960

Vol. 91 # 4 April 1960

Vol. 91 # 5 May 1960

Vol. 91 # 7 September-October 1960

Vol. 91 # 8 November-December 1960

Vol. 92 # 4 April-May 1961

Vol. 92 # 5 June 1961

Vol. 92 # 6 September 1961 (3 copies)

Vol. 92 # 7 October 1961 (6 copies)

Vol. 92 # 8 November 1961 (4 copies)

Vol. 93 # 1 January-February 1962 (2 copies)

Vol. 93 # 2 March-April, 1962

Vol. 93 # 3 May-June, 1962

Vol. 93 # 4 July-August 1962 (9 copies)

Vol. 94 # 2 March-April 1963

Vol. 95 # 1 January-February 1964

Vol. 96 # 5 November-December, 1965

Vol. 97 # 2 March-April 1966

Vol. 97 # 3 May-June 1966

Vol. 97 # 4 July-August 1966

Missionary Link

Publication of the W.U.M.S.

Vol. 98 # 2 March-April 1967

Vol. 99 # 6 November-December 1968

Vol. 101 #2 April-May-June 1970

Collection 044 Papers of Helen M. Tenney
Bob Shuster
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