Scenes from Rural China–Papermaking

From the papers of Marjorie Rankin Steurt held in Special Collections are numerous photographs taken by Mrs. Steurt while she served as a missionary and educator in China during the 1920s-1930s. Her diaries, too, are full of keen descriptions of the everyday lives of the Chinese people to whom she was deeply devoted. This photo of a man working with newly handmade paper is just one example.
Marjorie Rankin was born in Pennsylvania in 1888 to evangelical Protestant parents. She received a BA from Mt. Holyoke College in 1911 and later received an MA and PhD from Columbia University. Her first teaching position was in 1911 in a rural school for African Americans in Alabama. In 1912, she traveled to China as a missionary and teacher at the Christian college in Weihsien. From 1926-1927 she moved on to Cheeloo University in Tsinanfu, the capital of Shentung. In 1929 she became the director of an experimental school in Nankai, in Tientsin; when the university was destroyed by the Japanese in 1932 , she moved back to the United States and taught psychology at a college in New York for many years.
Mrs. Steurt was interviewed in 1970 about her life and career in China, and the transcript of her oral history is available to read in Special Collections: Call number XC 14 OR24 ST46. She gave to us her papers shortly thereafter. The finding aid to her papers, and those of other American missionaries in China that are in our Special Collections, can be found on the web at the Online Archive of California.