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Clara Dyer (1875-1966) served as a Methodist missionary in Ch'angli, Hopei (Hopeh) Province, in northern China, during much of the first half of the twentieth century. Dyer appears to have begun missionary work in China in 1908; by 1931 she taught girls at the Alderman School in Ch'angli. As an experienced missionary, Dyer sent letters updating her friends and family approximately every six months. Dyer remained in China even after the all-out war between China and Japan began in 1937. The collection does not contain information on Dyer after 1941.
The Clara Pearl Dyer Letters from Ch'angli, China is a slim assemblage of personal letters and reports sent by Dyer to family and supporters in the U.S. between 1931 and 1941. Letters documenting her missionary work during the preceding two decades are not a part of this collection.
Dyer served as a missionary at the Alderman School and instructed girls. Her letters offer insights into evangelical work among students and their proselytizing in local, Ch'angli communities. Dyer indicates that the Alderman School is associated with the Gamewell School in Tientsin, so researchers should look for additional information on Methodist missionary work in northern China in The Myra Jaquet Papers (A 180) and The Myra Snow Correspondence (A 186).
Because of Dyer's many years of missionary service, her 1930s letters offer some insights into how political events changed her daily routines. She described how banditry expanded after the Japanese took control of northern China-including Ch'angli-in 1931. She discussed the all-out war between Japan and China that began in 1937 and how this conflict affected their friends and converts as well as missionary activities. Dyers letters end shortly before the U.S. entry into World War II.
Available in microfilm as part of: Women's lives. Series 3, American women missionaries and pioneers collection (MICROFILM BV3703 .W66 2006, reel 53); Primary Source Microfilm, 12 Lunar Dr., Woodbridge, Conn. 06525.
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[Identification of item], Clara Pearl Dyer Papers, A 198, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.