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Harold Burgoyne Rattenbury Papers

Date range: 1927-1947.

Harold Burgoyne Rattenbury (1878-1962), grandson of John Rattenbury and brother of John Ernest Rattenbury, was born at Witney in Oxfordshire. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Headingley and in 1902 was appointed to the China Mission.

He remained in China for 32 years, the last thirteen of which were spent as Chairman of the Wuchang District. His residence in China ended in 1934 when he was appointed to a secretaryship at the Mission House in London, but he returned to China and other parts of the Far East on several tours. He was elected President of the Methodist Conference in 1949. Rattenbury wrote extensively about China and made regular radio broadcasts on Chinese affairs.

The collection consists of several hundred letters written between 1927 and 1947, the majority from Rattenbury to his wife Emily during their extended periods of separation. There is also a typescript journal compiled between April and June 1934.

The collection is a valuable source for China's affairs at a momentous time in its history. Rattenbury witnessed the end of the period of the War Lords and the beginning of the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists. In addition to his commentary on political and social conditions, he provides a valuable insight into the daily life and work of the Methodist Mission at a time of widespread persecution.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library