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Arnold Family China Missions Collection

1889-1906 and 1921-1926

Thomas J. and Elizabeth I. Arnold

Gladys Catherine Arnold


Prepared by Lisa Johnson, February 2003



Biographical Sketches

 Thomas J. Arnold was born at Castle End, Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, England on July 18th, 1864. The son of James and Catherine Arnold, he studied architecture before answering a call to enter Dr. W. T. Moore’s Missionary Training Class, at the West London Tabernacle in Notting Hill, 1887-1889. Forgoing the safety and comfort of his family in England, he sailed for China in September, 1889. Arriving in Nanking in November of 1889, Arnold first devoted his time to the study of the Chinese language and helped to draw plans and supervise the first mission buildings, including a hospital, school and living quarters for the missionaries.  

Elizabeth Ince was born December 3, 1863 in Cheshire, England. She met Thomas Arnold at Dr. Moore’s West London Bible Institute, where she spent two years studying  for missionary work before sailing for Shanghai in November of 1891. From Shanghai, she traveled by river steamer up the Yangtze River to her new post at Nanking. Like Arnold, she began her work in China with a brief, but intensive, language study. Then, in 1892, Elizabeth Ince married Thomas Arnold and they traveled to Luho to their first station. 

For the next twelve years, the couple moved to several posts in China, establishing or administering missions and schools in Nanking, Luho, Wuhu, Chuchow, Luchowfu and Kuling. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Arnold family, along with many other missionary families, was sent for their protection to Shanghai. Sharing a small house with another mission family of seven, the Arnolds and their four children lived here for eight months before being allowed to return to their post. 

In 1906, the Arnold family was forced to leave China. Thomas Arnold was suffering from a disease called Sprue and sought medical care in the United States. The Arnolds witnessed the San Francisco earthquake during their stay in California. After six months in California and with Thomas failing to improve in health, Mrs. Arnold packed her dying husband, their six children and belongings in a train for a cross-country journey to New York. The Arnolds then sailed for England. Arriving in Liverpool on August 18th, Thomas Arnold died on August 20, 1906. Elizabeth Arnold took her children, ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old, to live in Rugby with her family for the next eight years. Seeking a means to educate her family, in 1914, Elizabeth Arnold once again set sail for the United States, this time to settle in Hiram, Ohio, where as children of missionary Disciples, they could receive an education at Hiram College. For the next 24 years, Elizabeth Arnold lived in the village of Hiram, where her children attended the public schools and then the college. After a fall in 1938, she moved to Youngstown, where she lived with her only daughter, Gladys, until her death in 1950.

Gladys Catherine Arnold was born November 4, 1896 in Wuhu, China. The only daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Arnold, she was educated first in Rugby, England and then in Hiram, Ohio. Graduating from Hiram College in 1920, she spent a year studying at the College of Missions in Indianapolis  before returning to China in 1921. Her first two years back in China were spent in Nanking studying Chinese at the Nanking Language School and familiarizing herself more fully with the Disciples’ missionary efforts in China. She was then assigned to Chuchow, where along with Bertha Park, she reopened the girls’ school. Welcomed by the people of Chuchow as a returning friend, she worked there until 1926. After returning to the United States, she was a public and school librarian in Ft. Wayne, Indiana from 1927 until 1930. She graduated from the Chautauqua School for Librarians in 1933 and served as the librarian at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School in Youngstown, Ohio from 1930 until her retirement in 1963. The last years of her life were spent working with the Garden Center of Youngstown, teaching Sunday School at the First Christian Church, the American Association of University Women, the Hiram Club and the Girls Scouts of America. She died in 1990 at the age of 93.

Additional notes on the Arnold Family Collection have been provided by Janice Arnold, granddaughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Arnold and niece of Gladys Arnold.

 Box 1:


Papers and materials related to Thomas and Elizabeth Arnold’s Service in China, 1889-1906:

  • Arnold, Thomas James, 1864-1906 – Diary, 1892-1906.  Transcription by Gladys Seymour Arnold.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Paper possibly presented to 1890 General Conference in Shanghai titled “Chinese Characteristics.”
  • Arnold, Thomas J. -- Chinese Nursery Rhymes.  A Paper Read Before the Wuhu Literary and Social Union, April 25th, 1905.” (four copies)
  • Arnold, Elizabeth Ince – Correspondence, n.d. To: Lora E. Seymour. A Brief History of the China Saga, 1889 to 1906.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. -- Miscellaneous contents of leather document case, probably carried by T.J. Arnold on his final voyage.  See Artifact Box 1A for case.
    1. 1 Passenger Claim Check – Oakland to Omaha
    2. 1 tax receipt, China, 1906
    3. 1 business card from a Southern Pacific Railroad agent
    4. 2 receipts from the Kuling-Anglo American School for tuition payments, 1906
    5. Business Card for Dr. Clark, Santa Cruz, Ca, circa 1906.
    6. Prescription form of Dr. Hugh G. Welpton, Des Moines, Iowa. Lists three doctors’ names in Leeds, England.
    7. 1 passenger claim check – Des Moines to Chicago
    8. 1 newspaper clipping showing the compound interest calculated on one dollar for 100 years at different rates of interest.
    9. 1 newspaper clipping- probably from a missionary or church publication, announcing the arrival of T. J. Arnold and family in California. [1906]
    10. 2 postal money order receipts, for $13.60 and $18.50. July 24, 1906.
    11. One slip of paper with the location of a grave in St. Nicholas Church yard. [Thomas J. Arnold’s grave] “ Grave #465, 6th row down, 4th row in the non-conformist, non-resident section of St. Nicholas Church yard. ‘They shall rest from their labours, but their works shall live after them.’ Died August 20, 1906, Liverpool. Buried August  23. Born July 18, 1864.”
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – translation of silk scroll goodbye message to Arnold from his Chinese friends
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – copy of Rev. David Hill’s Hints to Missionary Envangelists  in China. 1892.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Memorials for Arnold family missionary colleagues.
    1. Rev. Edwin Hearnden
    2. Albert Francis Henry Saw (written by Arnold)
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Miscellaneous itemsArnold, Thomas J. – Miscellaneous papers related to the Chinese Missionary Appeal.
    1. Birthday Greetings
    2. Lord’s Prayer in Chinese and on the reverse, a prayer titled, Shanghai, Fourth July, 1891
    3. Booklet in Chinese with advertisements for textbooks: English Grammar and Mathematics Dictionary.
    4. Newspaper clipping, China Treaty Ports – 1900
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Accounts Ledger for the Foreign Christian Mission Society, T. J. Arnold, treasurer.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Miscellaneous contents of Foreign Christian Mission Accounts Ledger.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – General Native Mission Fund, Accounts, 1900-1904
  • Arnold, Thomas J. -- Red and blue portfolio case, about 8” x 6”. Dated 1902 - 1905. Contains the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation account book of T. J. Arnold.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Sermon notes for the years 1896-1899, 1903-1905
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Binder used to collect sermon notes
  • Arnold, Thomas J. – Correspondence – To: Rev. Arnold – Chinese language.
  • Arnold, Elizabeth – Book – They Went to China: biographies of Missionaries of the Disciples of Christ.
  • Arnold, Thomas J. and Elizabeth I. – Obituaries and correspondence related to their deaths.
  • China related articles – George T. B. Davis n.d. [1918-1940]

1.      “A Million Testaments for China”

2.      “Did Marshall Feng Act Rightly?”

3.      “How Prayer Brought Victory” 

Papers Related to Gladys C. Arnold’s Service in China, 1921-1926: 

  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Clippings from the World Call, 1921
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Song Sheet for China Missionary program
  • United Christian Missionary Society Newsletters – 1927
  • United Christian Missionary Society – Miscellaneous reports written by missionaries in the summer of 1927.
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – United Christian Missionary Society – 1927
  • National Christian Council, Bulletin of – June 1927
  • Foreign Missions Conference—34th session – June 11-14, 1927. Addresses on China
  • Shanghai Municipal Council – Statement – July 1927
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – 1921
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – 1922
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – 1923
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – Jan. to May, 1924
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – June to Dec., 1924
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – Jan. to June, 1925
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – July to Dec., 1925
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Correspondence – Letters to Elizabeth Arnold – Dec. 27 to Jan. 1, 1926
  • Arnold, Gladys C. -- Invitation to a Chinese Wedding
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Obituary
  • Arnold, Gladys C. – Hiram High School Graduation Program, 1916


  • Envelope #1 -- T.J. and Elizabeth Arnold’s China Years – 1889-1906 -- 13 photos
  • Envelope #2 -- T.J. and Elizabeth Arnold’s China Years – 13 photos
  • Envelope #3 -- T.J. and Elizabeth Arnold’s China Years – 14 photos
  • Envelope #4 -- T.J. and Elizabeth Arnold’s China Years – Unidentified Missionary Families and the Molland Family. Four photos.
  • Envelope #5 -- T.J. and Elizabeth Arnold’s China Years – 15 photos of various scenes and persons in China.
  • Envelope #6 – Gladys Arnold’s China Years – 16 photos
  • Envelope#7 – Gladys Arnold’s China Years – Group Photo- Gladys Arnold, Western Missionaries and Chinese Missionary staff.
  • Envelope #8 – Gladys Arnold’s China Years – 30 photos
  • Envelope #9 – Gladys Arnold’s China Years – 13 photos
  • Scanned Reproduction of Gladys C. Arnold’s photograph album.  See Phase Box  for original album.
  • Gladys C. Arnold’s photograph album -- original

Box 2: 


  • Macklin of Nanking by Edith Eberle. 1936. Inscription reads “To Ray, from Mother, February 2, 1937.”
  • Macklin of Nanking, Edith Eberle, 1936 (second copy)
  • The Nanking Cook Book, The American Red Cross, 1924
  • Spanning the Decades: a Spiritual Pilgrimmage, Bertha Park Wyker c1981

Inscribed: “To Gladys, the very most Precious friend I ever had, (From 1922 when she and Judy met me in Shanghai) Bertha”

  • Cassell’s Shilling Cookery, A.G. Payne, ed. c1989.
  • Old China Hands, a Roster. 3rd edition, revised and enlarged, 1945.
  • 1 Bible with inscriptions: Thomas J. Arnold – Nanking, China, 1901
  • Gleanings from the Manuscripts of M. Searle Bates. The Protestant Endeavor in Chinese Society 1890-1950. c.1984.
  • The Lone Pine Principal: a sketch of Emma A. Lyon’s work in the Christian girl’s School, Nanking, China. Cincinnati: Powell and White, c. 1922.
  • The Missionaries Anglo-Chinese Diary belonging to Thomas J. Arnold:  1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1899, 1903, 1905.
  • Lettes #35 Colonial Rough Diary belonging to Thomas J. Arnold, 1892
  • The Male Chorus: For Use in Gospel Meetings, Christian Associations and Other Religious Services belonging to Thomas J. Arnold, about 1888.
  • Photo Card Book, screen-folded pages. Outer binding is in a light green floral cloth. Book contains scenes of Chinese life.
  • Annual Meeting Reports – Central China Christian Missionary Convention, 1890 – 1905. Ranges from the Second annual Report to the 17th Annual Report.

Artifact Boxes: 

            Box 1A            

  • Hand painted place card decorations of varied designs dating between 1890’s and 1920’s. Probable provenance was Gladys Arnold’s Girl’s School in Nanking in 1920’s.
  • One Chinese Character stamp block
  • One brown, leather document case or wallet, belonging to T.J. Arnold 5 ½” x 9” in size.  See Folder, Box 1, for contents.
  • One silk box, 3” x 3”, with ivory clasp containing a blue and white dragon design porcelain rouge pot, rouge still in well.
  • 1 small, round box with lid, covered with a woven, brocade-like cloth.
  • 1 ivory carved fan, paper or silk missing.
  • 4 beaded silk tassels pm a safety pin. Tassels are black with gold thread. covered cap and amber colored bead (real amber?) and black macramé gathering the tassel together.  Probably pinned to clothing as a decoration.
  • 1 packet of rolled paper in a hand painted, tattered wrapper.

Box 2A

  • 1 piece of blue, woven, rectangular fabric with a string attached. 
  • 1 black macramé style sash/belt.
  • 1 black tassel, long with gold thread in cap.
  • 2 small Mobiles, possible children’s toys or decorations, cloth and papier maché.
  • 1 black tassel, short, with decorative interwoven cap
  • 1 pair children’s slippers, red. Cat (or mouse?) design with whiskered face and a tale.

Box 3A 

  • 1 invitation to His Britannic Majesty’s Consulate in Wuhu, June 1902 for the celebration of the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
  • 1 small, hand-painted calendar with stamp-sized days attached to the illustration.
  • 1 belt buckle, covered with black silk thread.
  • 1 small pocket calendar, Arabic numerals.
  • 1 small, heart shaped coin purse with long, gold tasseled drawstrings. The fabric appears to be embroidered brocade.
  • 1 human hair queue worn by T.J. Arnold.
  • 1 tan, flat, rectangular purse with a jinrickisha, bearer and passenger embroidered on one side. Opposite side is embroidered with a Chinese person balancing a laden shoulder yoke. (water?)  The purse contains a case with an embroidered lantern design. Inside is a comb-like brush with a wooden handle decorated with Chinese figures.  A smaller second case is embroidered with the same water-bearer design found on purse. The small brush inside is also decorated with matching Chinese figures on the wooden handle.
  • Cloth-backed map issued to incoming missionaries in the 1920’s

Box 4A

  • Pocket Diary of T.J. Arnold – 1906
  • Two Customs Declarations found enclosed in a letter from Gladys Arnold to her Mother, Elizabeth Arnold, dated January 18, 1925.
  • Small, daily diary of T.J. Arnold, 1904. printed by the Foreign Christian Missionary Society. Contains personal details and mission business notes.
  • Gladys Arnold’s passport.
  • Passenger List Booklet issued by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line for the Empress of Asia, voyage #64. July 13, 1926. Gladys C. Arnold listed as a passenger. Sailed from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama to Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.
  • Gladys Arnold’s calling card.
  • Arnold family calling card.  Red paper with black characters signifying the family name.

 Textile Boxes

 Box 1T

 1 heavy, lined blue silk Cheong-sam (woman’s garment), decorated with red floral embroidery.  Early 20th century.

  Box 2T 

  • 3 woven mats with paper edge bindings. Two of the mats are woven in black and gray bird design. One mat is dark blue with gold thread woven into fabric.  A lion motif predominates.
  • 1 drawstring bag or purse with letter “T” or “I” embroidered in deep rose thread. Pale pink flowers embroidered in the background.
  • 1 silk purse with green drawstrings. Bottom of the purse is made of woven grass.
  • 1 tan, flat purse, ovoid in shape, embroidered on one side with lanterns hanging from a plum-blossom branch.
  • 1 13” x 9” “shopping” bag, embroidered with a farmer leading two camels bearing goods.
  • 1 decorative rosette, satin.  Hand sewn.
  • 1 round cushion or stool cover, fringe mostly worn away. Chinese carpet style weaving with powder blue background and a motif of blue, coral and green flowers in a cachepot.
  • 1 dark blue silk purse, woven with a butterfly motif. There is a tassel with a coin attached hanging from the bottom of the purse.
  • 1 black silk purse with a chrysanthemum design and black drawstrings.
  • 1 black silk purse, rectangular, with Chinese characters woven into the fabric. One half of snap closure intact, possibly added much later after construction or an indication of a 1920’s provenance.
  • 1 silk bag with tassels in each side. Lined in orange silk. Outside of bag is black silk with various flower designs such as lotus blossoms and plum blossoms.
  • 1 hand painted piece of sheer fabric featuring a bucolic village scene and morning glory vines in the foreground.
  • 1 Christening gown made for Gladys C. Arnold from her mother’s wedding gown.
  • 1 cocoa brown cape, lined
  • 1 child’s sleeveless tunic or vest, white, red trim with floral embroidery design
  • 1 light green, summer weight robe
  • 1 pair of black silk men’s trousers, Chinese style, worn by T.J. Arnold
  • 1 men’s black silk tunic-style jacket, lined, worn by T.J. Arnold.
  • 1 aquamarine short top with loose ¾ sleeves
  • 1 table runner, dark blue bordering a blue and rust color floral design. Tassels at each corner.
  • 1 bronze color silk shawl, unable to identify it as belong to the 1890-1926 period.
  • 1 coffee cream color silk or shantung dress with embroidery designs on bodice.

 Related  to Gladys Arnold’s China work. 

  • Photo – Gladys C. Arnold – taken in China sometime between 1921 – 1926.
  • Panoramic photo of Nanking Language School
  • Panoramic photo of rice farming in river in China. Unidentified building in background overlooking river.
  • 1 sheet of brown paper advertising Yung Fen Shun, Woolen Merchants, Kuling

Unboxed Items

 ·        Two pieces of fabric scroll thought to be given to T.J. Arnold in 1906 by his Chinese friends and parishioners. The characters have been freely translated as, “He preached the gospel over ten years. He sacrificed himself and loved the people. He was not afraid of difficulties. He has left  this world and gone to receive the happiness of heaven.” 

“He traveled the world and was a faithful man toward God. He obeyed  the commandment of God and was straight forward. He had a happy home and we do not understand why he left his family half way and went to heaven."

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