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Collection 057 Papers of Susan Bartel

Identifier: CN 057

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews, negatives, and photographs relating to Susan Bartel's service with the China Mennonite Mission Society for over 20 years in the Shantung Province of China. Topics covered by the interviews include: Bartel's youth, conversion to Christianity, education, marriage to Loyal Bartel, and mission work in China; World War II; Japanese occupation of China; arrest and imprisonment of Loyal; life under the Chinese communists after World War II, Loyal’s imprisonment and Susan’s relocation to the USA with their children; life in the USA and husband's death in China. The time period covered by the interviews is roughly 1900 to 1979.

Susan Bartel was interviewed by Wheaton College student Larry Clark at her home in Wheaton on November 5 and 8, December 9, 1978 and February 4, 1979.

This collection also contains several photographs and negatives of the mission, Chinese associates, and scenes from Chinese life.


  • Created: 1932-1979

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Susan Schultz was born in 1900 into a German farming family of Mountain Lake, Minnesota. After high school, she attended the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago where she graduated from the Bible-Music course in 1926. At Moody she met Loyal Bartel, who graduated from the same course in 1924. He finished MBI's Missionary course in 1925, and then attended Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and Susan were married in 1926.

Loyal Bartel had been born in 1901, while his parents were on their voyage via ship to China as first-term missionaries. He was the first of several children to these pioneer missionaries, Henry Cornelius and Nellie Schmidt Bartel, about whom the biography This Mountain Is Mine, by Margaret Epp (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), was written. Being raised in China, Loyal had decided to return upon the completion of his education in Chicago with his new wife, Susan Bartel. Their denominational conference, the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren (Omaha, Nebraska), assigned them to the China Mennonite Mission Society, and they left for China in December 1927.

The Bartels ministered in the Shantung Province of China for over twenty years with only one furlough taken. (It was spent in Wheaton, Illinois). Loyal served as the leader of a Bible School in Tsaohsien and a preacher. Several times during the Sino-Japanese War Loyal, Susan and their five children were interned by the Japanese. In September 1948, after control of the province had passed to the Communist government, and because of Mrs. Bartel's poor health at the time and the children's need for further schooling, Loyal thought it would be best for his wife to return to the States with the children, while he intended to continue working in China. But the family was never reunited with him in the twenty-three years before his death in China in April 1971.

Mrs. Loyal Bartel returned at first to Mountain Lake, Minnesota, where the family stayed until the three oldest daughters, Lenora, Ruthie, and Lois, graduated from high school. Then the family settled in Wheaton, Illinois, where the remaining two children, Esther and David, finished high school. Mrs. Bartel spent several years employed by Scripture Press in Wheaton, and remained in that community for many years after her retirement. She died on January 10, 2008, just shortly before her 108th birthday.


4 Reels of Audio Tape, Negatives, Photographs

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in November and December 1978 and February 1979.

Accession number: None

May 15, 1979

Robert Shuster

Larry Clark

Collection 057 Papers of Susan Bartel
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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