“Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
“The Master says, Go! We urge, Come! Come! For the souls of men. Come! For the sake of Christ. Come! For the Glory of God.” “A Letter from China, ”Acta Victoriana, 11:4 (1888), 10
Missionary zeal was strong at Victoria College, at the University of Toronto, from the 1890s through the 1920s. The Methodist Church of Canada was establishing Mission stations in Szechuan and looked to Victoria graduates to come to West China and evangelize. Victoria College graduates answered the call, teaching, preaching, and practicing medicine for six decades in China starting in the 1890s until their expulsion from the country in the 1950s.
Vic in China is an exhibition of photographs taken by Vic missionaries in Szechuan, and kindly scanned for the exhibit by family descendants. The photographs do not belong to Victoria University Library. In each instance, photographic credits are provided to indicate the originating family collection. The Library regrets that it is unable to provide copies of the photographs as they belong to the individual families. Researchers looking for period photographs are advised to apply to The United Church of Canada Archives, the repository for The United Church of Canada's West China Mission.
As you explore this exhibit, we invite you to imagine what it would be like to make your way through your great grandparent’s photograph album. The photographs are necessarily incomplete; they cannot tell the whole story of what life was like for the missionaries, but they provide a flavour of the times, of the endeavors and of the many important accomplishments. The stories and captions that accompany the photographs have been drawn from relatives’ memoirs, and period publications such as the Victoria College student publication Acta Victoriana, and the writings of the missionaries themselves.
If you travel to Chengdu and visit the Hart Memorial College, at the West China Union University, you will see emblazoned on the building in Chinese script the same motto that is inscribed on the Victoria College building, at the University of Toronto, “The Truth Shall Make You Free”- a tangible and enduring reminder of the legacy of the Victoria College missionaries.
Victoria College Building "The Truth Shall Make You Free", 2015 Credit: A. Girling.
Hart College Credit: United Church Archives.
On their way! [Missionaries on the S.S. Empress of Russia, 1921] Credit: Walmsley Family.
Missionaries boarding a Sanban to cross the Yangtze river to Chungking. Credit: Endicott Family.
"With our teacher" - Omar and Retta Kilborn with their Chinese language teacher, possibly 1895 Credit: Kilborn / Walmsley Family.
Translating early Christian documents, Chengtu, ca. 1938. International Mission Photography Archive, Yale Divinity Library Special Collections Credit: Yale University Divinity School.
Missionary group (including Gordon & Clara Jones, Lottie & Walter Small, Dr. Sheridan, George & Dorothy Sparling, Rev. and Mrs. John Parker), 1920 Credit: Jones Family / Jean Zamin.
Mrs. Gertrude Best and young girl Credit: Best Family.
Training Whang Tien Chi Credit: Service Family.
Dr. William Service performing surgery in an operating room. Credit: Service Family.
Showing the whole Red Cross Corps organized by father during the 1912 Chinese revolution Credit: Kilborn / Walmsley Family.
Flooded rice fields, [undated] Credit: Best Family.
Fields with workers Credit: Best Family.
Field with missionary's house Credit: Best Family.
City Street, [likely Chengtu, undated.] Credit: Walmsley Family.
Pandora on her back, . Credit: Walmsley Family.
A Christian Wedding in Junghsien, Murray and Grace Tang, Spring 1942 Credit: Bridgman Family.
Canadian School group on the steps, 1934 Credit: Walmsley Family.
Canadian School's 'Mish Kids'' 2011 Reunion. Credit: Jones Family / Jean Zamin.