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Letters of John M. Leggate (c.1904-1985)

Identifier: CSWC 12

Scope and Contents

The collection is a transcription of letters written by Leggate from Manchuria between 1946 and 1949. The letters are mainly to his wife in Scotland but some are to his children and possibly to others. The transcriptions do not include the names of the recipients of the letters and are extracts from the letters only, all personal references having been removed. Leggate describes re-establishing the missionary work in Manchuria, in particular his medical work and the medical college at Moukden, and often refers to the activities of other missionaries. He also comments on the actions of the communists in Manchuria and the effect on the church and mission. One of the extracts is a section of a letter from Jean McMinn at Port Said on her way home (1949).


  • Creation: 1946-1949

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details. This collection is open. [Decision date 17 March 2022]

Conditions Governing Use

Contact the repository for details.

Biographical / Historical

John M. Leggate, MB ChB, FRCS, was a Church of Scotland medical missionary in Manchuria and the nephew of another medical missionary in Manchuria, Dr Archibald Leggate. He was appointed by the mission in 1933 and retired in 1950. In 1935 he married Grace Cumming Small Clark who had been a Church of Scotland missionary to Manchuria since 1930. With the Japanese occupation of Manchuria the Leggates left China and spent some time in Scotland. Leggate was invited to return in 1946 with an advance party to re-establish the medical work at Moukden. His intention had been that his wife and two children, Grace and John, should join him later but the continuing fighting between communist and nationalist forces meant that the situation was never stable enough for this to happen. After his return to the United Kingdom Leggate was appointed dean of medicine at Liverpool University.


1 bundle


The transcription is as it was presented to the Centre.

Custodial History

Leggate's original letters home were transcribed by Leggate and his wife in the early 1950s to remove the more personal references.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The item was presented to the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World by Mrs Jean Doyle, Edinburgh, in 1996 with Mrs Leggate's permission.


None expected.

Related Materials

The archives of the Church of Scotland foreign missions are held by the National Library of Scotland and include correspondence with the Leggates. Papers of other missionaries working in Manchuria are held by the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World as are several books on the development of missionary work in Manchuria. Austin Fulton in Through Earthquake Wind and Fire (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1967) describes the missionary work in Manchuria and includes a list of sources.


The originals were in the possession of the Leggates.


The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) the collection itself, (2) Fulton, Austin. Through Earthquake Wind and Fire. Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1967.

Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379