Arthur and Ella Coole papers , 1908-1974

Overview of the Collection

Coole, Arthur Braddan, 1900-; Coole, Ella
Arthur and Ella Coole papers
1908-1974 (inclusive)
4.25 linear feet, (9 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 793
Arthur and Ella Coole were Methodist missionaries serving in North China between the years 1924 and 1947. The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, biographical information, missionary publications, scrapbooks, and other materials relating to the Coole's missionary work.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Arthur and Ella Coole were Methodist missionaries serving in North China between the years 1924 and 1947. Reverend Coole worked both as a teacher and administrator, and Mrs. Coole taught English, raised their adopted daughter Mona Jean, and was active in church affairs.

Arthur Bradden Coole was born January 6, 1900, in Birmingham, Kansas. His parents, Dr. Thomas H. and Cora Coole, moved with him in 1906 to Kutien, Fukien, China, where Dr. Coole served as a medical missionary until 1913. In 1917, Arthur Coole entered Northwestern University, where he remained for a year before joining the Army. Following World War I, he completed his A.B. at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, his M.A. at University of Denver in 1922, and married Ella Frances Endres later that year

After teaching for one year in Oklahoma, Rev. and Mrs. Coole made their first trip to China in 1924. After intensive study at Peking Union Language School, Rev. Coole in 1925 was assigned to teach at the Tientsin Hui Wen Academy, where he and his wife remained until 1937, with the exception of one year's furlough. During that year they returned to the U.S., and Rev. Coole began to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science at Northwestern University. However, he didn't complete his studies, since in 1938 he was asked in emergency to return to China and resume administrative work with the Methodist Church in Peking. In 1940, Mrs. Coole and Mona Jean returned to the U.S., where Rev. Coole joined them the next year.

From 1941-1944, Rev. Coole was the Soldier's Pastor at Fort Riley, Kansas. He again returned to China in 1944 to work as Field Treasurer of the Methodist Church and later as National Treasurer of the National Council of Churches. After coming back to the U.S. in 1946, Rev. Coole taught Political Science at Baker University for one year. He and his family then went to China for a final stay in 1947, when both Rev. and Mrs. Coole again taught at the Hui Wen Academy and Rev. Coole acted as financial adviser to the school treasurer. After settling in the U.S. later that year, Rev. Coole began a twelve-year period as a Methodist minister to a number of communities throughout Kansas. Having completed forty-three years of faithful church service, Rev. and Mrs. Coole retired to Denver, Colorado, in 1964, and Rev. Coole devoted his time to numismatology, researching and writing several articles and a book on Chinese coinage. He has since been regarded as a leading authority in that field.

The correspondence and papers of Dr. Thomas H. and Cora Coole are also included in this collection. Born in 1868 in Douglas, Isle of Man, Thomas Henry Coole lived in England until he was twenty, then moved to Kansas City, Missouri. He entered Baker University in 1889, where he later met Cora Louisa Shepard Boynton during her first year in 1893; both graduated in 1897. After they were married in the summer of 1897, Thomas Coole served as a Methodist minister until he entered Northwestern University Medical School in 1902. After receiving his M.D. in 1906, Dr. Coole and his family went to Kutien, Fukien, China, where he was a medical missionary for nearly thirty years. Mrs. Coole taught at a local school and worked in church affairs during their missionary service.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection comprises correspondence, school and church administrative records, newsletters, newspaper clippings and biographical materials. Rev. Coole's self-published autobiography, A Trouble Shooter for God in China, is also part of this collection, along with the correspondence and papers of his parents, Dr. Thomas and Cora Coole.

The Arthur and Ella Coole collection is divided into eighteen series, with one (0.25m) box that assimilates all oversize items in the collection.

Series I: Outgoing Correspondence occupies Box 1 and one-half of Box 2 and is arranged chronologically to cover the period 1909 to 1974. These letters include the entire range of Rev. and Mrs. Coole's personal and business affairs.

Series II: Incoming Correspondence, the largest series of the collection, fills the other half of Box 2 through Box 5 and is arranged alphabetically by addressor's last name. Of particular importance here are the letters from Frank Cartwright, Director of the U.S. Board of Foreign Missions, and those from Rev. Coole's brother and sister-in-law, Rev. Douglas and Polly Coole.

Series III: Scrapbook contains Rev. and Mrs. Coole's personal scrapbook, including items from their vacation trip around the world.

Series IV: Short Article Manuscripts is a small series with some of Rev. Coole's writing about missionary life in China and a few of his acquaintances.

Series V: Book Review Manuscripts, another small series, contains Rev. Coole's reviews of his colleagues' books on Chinese coinage.

Series VI: Reviews of Arthur Coole's Chinese Coin Books consists of published reviews by other numismatologists.

Series VII: Arthur Coole's Autobiography contains Rev. Coole's self-published life story A Trouble Shooter for God in China.

Series VIII: Biographical Information, Arthur Coole, offers additional information about Rev. Coole's personal history.

Series IX: Miscellaneous Essays includes short essays and addresses from colleagues and acquaintances paying tribute to Rev. Coole.

Series X: Travel Accounts and Receipts provides complete information about all of the financial circumstances surrounding Rev. and Mrs. Coole's voyages between China and the U.S.

Series XI: Publicity offers catalogs and informational pamphlets from the Hui Wen Academy, including sales papers for the many items students manufactured in order to earn funds from overseas.

Series XII: Instructional Materials consists of manuals, worksheets, applications and guidelines for those applying to work as Methodist missionaries.

Series XIII: Minutes from Missionary Meetings includes the details from administrative meetings of the Board of the Division of Foreign Missions.

Series XIV: Field Newsletters contains quarterly reports about missionary activity that were published and circulated among Methodist churches in the U.S.

Series XV: Miscellaneous Papers contains random reports and immigration paperwork related to Rev. Coole's work with the Board of Foreign Missions.

Series XVI: T.H. and Cora Coole Papers concerns information about the personal lives and work of Rev. Coole's parents, who also served as missionaries for the Methodist church in China.

Series XVII: Incomplete Letters consists of fragments of letters that were inassimilable with a larger series.

Series XVIII: Oversize Items includes various legal-sized items from throughout the collection. Of particular significance here are the papers related to the North China Conference, which include budgetary information and Field Committee Reports.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Coins, Chinese
  • Missionaries--China
  • Numismatists--United States

Personal Names

  • Cartwright, Frank Thomas, 1884-1964
  • Coole, Arthur Braddan, 1900-
  • Coole, Ella

Family Names

  • Cool family

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence