Walter Anderson Hearn papers, 1918-1935

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/f7zgr

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hearn, Walter Anderson.
Title: Walter Anderson Hearn papers, 1918-1935
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 050
Extent: 0.9 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Abstract:Contains correspondence, clippings, reports, and notes highlighting Hearn's career at Soochow University and his case before the special commitee of the Board of Missions in 1927.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

Three oversized black-and-white photographs from the Union Theological Seminary in New York (OP-50/1-3).


[after identification of item(s)], Walter Anderson Hearn Papers, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Gerry Reiff, Doris B. Yeiser, and Cynthia Crouch, July 1986.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

The son of Thomas A. Hearn, a Southern Methodist missionary, Walter Anderson Hearn was born in China about 1895 and spoke the Chinese language fluently. He was licensed to preach in 1913. After receiving his B.A. degree from Hendrix College in Arkansas, in 1916, Reverend Hearn spent three years teaching in Shanghai. In 1922, he graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a master's degree in Religious Education, and in 1923, he graduated from Union Theological Seminary with a bachelor's degree of divinity. In 1923, he and his wife, Olive Winthrow Hearn, went to Soochow University, where he became a Professor of Religion and Religious Education. Between 1924 and 1925, he also served as Acting Superintendent of the Hong Kong Institutional Church in Soochow.

In 1927, the China Annual Conference refused to admit into full connection Reverend Hearn because of his public statement of disbelief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bishop William Newman Ainsworth, presiding bishop of the China Annual Conference, recommended to the Board of Missions that Reverend Hearn be withdrawn from the missionary field. In August 1927, after his hearing before a special committee of the Board of Missions, Reverend Hearn was dismissed from missionary service.

At the Little Rock Conference held at Camden, November 16-20, 1927, Reverend Hearn was appointed junior preacher at the First Methodist Church, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. In 1928, Reverend Hearn accepted a position on the faculty of the Bible College of Missouri in Columbia.

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Walter Anderson Hearn chiefly concern his career at the Soochow University in the China Mission and his case before the special committee of the Board of Missions in 1927. The bulk of the papers consist of about 400 letters, dated from 1918 to 1935. One folder contains letters to and from his wife, his father, and other family members. These letters, mainly, offer advice and support to his work in China and his stance before the Board of Missions.

The remaining general correspondence is to and from members of the China Annual Conference, the China Mission, and the Board of Missions. Among the correspondents are Bishop William Newman Ainsworth, Sidney R. Anderson, W.B. Nance, W.O. Cram, Charles W. Rankin, Mary Culler White, Frank Rawlinson, and O.E, Goddard. Other materials relating to Reverend Hearn's case and his work include newspaper clippings, minutes and reports of the China Mission, his notes and statements to the Board, and a copy of the proceedings before the the special committee on August 5, 1927.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Family correspondence, 1927-1928
1 2 General correspondence, 1918-1923
1 3 General correspondence, 1924
1 4 General correspondence, 1926 January-February
1 5 General correspondence, 1926 December
1 6 General correspondence, 1927 January 2-10
1 7 General correspondence, 1927 January 11-27
1 8 General correspondence, 1927 February-April
1 9 General correspondence, 1927 May 2-8
1 10 General correspondence, 1927 May 9-17
1 11 General correspondence, 1927 May 18-30
1 12 General correspondence, 1927 June
1 13 General correspondence, 1927 July 1-10
1 14 General correspondence, 1927 July 11-15
1 15 General correspondence, 1927 July 16-26
1 16 General correspondence, 1927 July 27-31
1 17 General correspondence, 1927 August 1-11
1 18 General correspondence, 1927 August 12-31
1 19 General correspondence, 1927 September
1 20 General correspondence, 1927 October 1-10
1 21 General correspondence, 1927 October 11-31
1 22 General correspondence, 1927 November-December
1 23 General correspondence, 1928 January-March
1 24 General correspondence, 1928 April
1 25 General correspondence, 1928 May-December
1 26 General correspondence, 1929-1935
1 27 China Mission (minutes and reports), 1926
1 28 China Mission (minutes and reports), 1927 April
1 29 China Mission (minutes and reports), 1927 May-September
1 30 China Mission (minutes and reports), 1928, undated
1 31 General correspondence, Missionary Yearbook, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1928.
2 1-3 Proceedings before a Special Committee of the Board of Missions concerning Walter Anderson Hearn's case, August 5, 1927
2 4 Hearn statements to the Board of Missions, 1927 July
2 5-6 Hearn statements to the Board of Missions, 1927 August
2 7 Hearn statements to the Board of Missions, 1928
2 9 Hearn's notes on case, 1921-1927 July
2 10 Hearn's notes on case, 1927 August-1928, undated
2 11 Miscellaneous